“To shed tears to express pain, grief or other emotion”
The key words are shed and express – in other words, let go of something. Crying may have all sorts of connotations but it is a simply a physical tool to express an emotional experience. Not only is it completely natural but it is unique to us as humans (other mammals shed reflex tears but humans are the only species known to cry emotional tears)
There are two main physical benefits to crying:
- Toxin Release
Tear expert (who knew?), Dr William Frey discovered that tears contain stress hormones, which are excreted by the body during crying.
- Endorphin Production
We release both natural pain killer and feel good hormones when we cry.
How lucky are we to have this bodily function at our disposal? We actually have a way of getting rid of nasty stress hormones and replacing them with happy hormones – it’s like an all in one decluttering exercise on our own body!
Little girls and boys cry with the same frequency until they are about 7 years old, after which time boys tend to receive the message that it is no longer socially acceptable. As adults, men cry an average of 6 times a year, whereas for women, the number is 45. Could society and dreadful phrases like ‘man up’ be harming men by preventing them from effectively decluttering their emotions?
Only, it’s not that simple. Societal views mean that women’s crying is also seen negatively by others. There can be a lot of guilt and shame on the part of the cryer and judgement from others. What’s more, women may be more likely to be judged negatively than men for crying, simply because they do so with greater frequency. These negative judgments include:
- being seen as trying to manipulate or emotionally blackmail,
- being perceived as unstable or unable to cope with a situation.
Enough with the negativity around crying! Vulnerability IS strength. Crying helps us connect with ourselves and with others worthy of connecting with. It means we’re showing up. That we’re right in the thick of it. We’re present, accepting and we’re completely and utterly, DEALING with it.
Let it alllll out 🙂
Thank you for reading
A Tidy Mind x