12 Health Benefits of Shedding Tears
Friday, February 10, 2017 6:39 PM
- Tears have a way of breaking down emotional walls and mental barriers we put up within ourselves and towards others. Crying tends to be some kind of human equalizer, because no matter the circumstance, situation, or stress we may face, our tears have a way of shifting and altering things in a beautiful, vulnerable and humbling way.
- Releasing your tears helps you flush out toxins. Tears that are provoked by stress help your body rid itself of nasty chemicals that raise cortisol (the stress hormone).
- Crying makes us feel better, even when a problem persists. In addition to physical detoxification, emotional tears heal the heart. You don’t want to hold tears back. The new enlightened paradigm of what constitutes a powerful man and woman is someone who has the strength and self awareness to cry. These are the people who impress me, not those who put up some macho front of faux-bravado.
- Medical research now suggests that tears could actually be a way of flushing negative chemicals out of the body and doing us a world of good physically. In addition to removing toxic substances from our body, crying can also have the psychological benefit of lifting our mood and helping us to deal with painful situations.
- Get stronger. “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” – Washington Irving
- Emotional tears have special health benefits. Biochemist and “tear expert” Dr. William Frey at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis discovered that reflex tears are 98% water, whereas emotional tears also contain stress hormones which get excreted from the body through crying. After studying the composition of tears, Dr. Frey found that emotional tears shed these hormones and other toxins which accumulate during stress. Additional studies also suggest that crying stimulates the production of endorphins, our body’s natural pain killer and “feel-good” hormones.” Interestingly, humans are the only creatures known to shed emotional tears, though it’s possible that that elephants and gorillas do too. Other mammals and also salt-water crocodiles produce reflex tears which are protective and lubricating.
- Expressing your emotions helps you be creative. Are you an artist or writer? If so, maybe you’ve noticed that your greatest life struggles have a way of ending up in your art. My most well-received blogs and articles are without fail the most personal ones. I think this is because opening up humanizes a writer in the eyes of their readers. But it’s quite difficult to find the courage to express yourself without filter if you can’t even bring yourself to face your feelings.
- Crying is thought to help reduce stress, which can have a damaging effect on our health and has been linked to a number of health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, Type-2 diabetes and obesity. According to a study by Dr. William H. Frey II, a biochemist at the St Paul-Ramsey Medical Center in Minnesota, crying can help to wash chemicals linked to stress out of our body, one of the reasons we feel much better after a good cry.
- Feel better. A study performed at the University of Florida found that crying is more effective than any antidepressant on the market. A good cry improved the mood of 88.8% of weepers with only 8.4% reporting that crying made them feel worse.
- Confronting your feelings helps you move forward in life. It’s awfully tempting to play it safe in life, but if you don’t take the occasional risk, you can’t expect much excitement or personal growth. It isn’t easy to put yourself into a new situation with feelings and emotions attached (for example: starting a new relationship after being emotionally damaged in your last one), but just because it isn’t easy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. If you have harsh feelings left over from love lost, confront them without fear. Don’t try to run and hide from how you feel. Be still and soak in it. The sooner you confront your past, the sooner you can move forward into a better future.
- Crying is also essential to resolve grief, when waves of tears periodically come over us after we experience a loss. Tears help us process the loss so we can keep living with open hearts. Otherwise, we are a set up for depression if we suppress these potent feelings.
- Letting go of your baggage helps you end suffering. Would you rather face your feelings without fear or pretend everything is okay when it isn’t? Sure, the first option might come with temporary comfort, but pretending problems don’t exist only delays the inevitable. You cannot run and hide from how you feel forever, no matter how hard you try. Carrying all that baggage around is detrimental for your emotional health, so it’s in your best interest to cry if you need to. While this won’t necessarily solve your problems, it could help you come-to-terms with them.