Do you feel embarrassed to cry even when you really want to, only because it is considered a sign of weakness? While crying in solitude is common, people don’t feel comfortable breaking down in front of others — they hesitate to show that they are feeling sad. Nobody wants drama, right? However, holding back tears could actually do more harm than good.
There’s no shame in crying; being able to express yourself shows that you are trying to get past the difficulties in your life by letting yourself move on from that particular situation. Moreover, crying is good for you health-wise too.
Cry Yourself to Good Health
Dr Bharat Shah, noted psychiatrist at Lilavati Hospital Mumbai, helps us understand the science behind crying.
“In medical terms, crying is a normal physiological response commonly seen in adults when they feel sad. However, crying can also happen for other reasons, e.g. when there is pain or hunger. And then there are tears of joy! There are some people who tend to become more tearful when they are emotional, which is also a normal variation.”
Sure enough, crying is completely natural. But when you cry emotional tears, that is, tears that are not autonomously produced due to an irritable eye, you are giving way to the release of feel-good hormones called endorphins, as your body fights back the sadness. This defence mechanism makes you feel happy. “Most people feel relieved, lightened and better after crying,” says Dr Shah.
Also, tears help to keep the eyes and the nasal passage clean. Certain mood-regulating hormones also get released when you cry. So the next time you are facing mood swings, go on and shed a few tears.
Shruti Katyayan (26), operations manager at HDFC, says, “There are times when I am unable to keep emotions inside of me. My heart gets heavy and I need to pour it out. Two things that help me is: either a good talk with my bestie, or a good cry alone. I feel less stressful after crying. It definitely helps.”
What’s more: crying also helps pull out stress from the body. Stress hormones are released the most when you cry emotional tears. Interestingly, this does not happen when your eyes get teary for reasons other than feeling sad! So you see, it’s important for you to let your emotions out through tears.
Crying & the Cultural Taboo
If you happen to cry in front of people, you could be perceived as a fragile person, a loser, someone who needs to ‘grow up!’ This is especially true in competitive scenarios like the workplace.
Here’s what Dr Shah has to say about this: “In our culture, crying is usually associated with the female gender, and often mistaken to be a sign of weakness. So it is said that you should not cry. However, physiologically speaking, this is not true. “
“Crying and expressing one’s emotions is a perfectly natural response — it does not mean you are weak or unprepared to face the situation. Plus, suppressing one’s emotions is not healthy. One should not be ashamed of crying,” he adds.
Fortunately, things are changing for the better in our generation. We bet you’ve seen Madhuri Dixit’s Boys Don’t Cry (domestic violence) campaign, which gave out a strong message that crying isn’t gender-specific. Boys should also cry, as it helps to release the frustration they have inside them and stops it from getting converted to violence.
Another important thing you should keep in mind when you have an urge to cry is: do not get into self-criticism. If you do, you are never going to move on from the problems that caused you to cry in the first place. Instead, try to have a positive self-talk and address your emotions fully.
Do you cry often, or do you tend to fight the tears? Share your views in the comments below.
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