Whether you tear up watching cute videos of puppies or like to act tough and pretend you don’t well up every once in awhile, we all cry; it’s one of the things that makes us human. We are the only creatures that shed emotional tears (gorillas and elephants may also do this, but the jury is still out on those cases), so the next time you want to criticize yourself or someone else for crying just remember that it’s only human. Not only is it distinctly human, but it is also healthy for you.
Sometimes we think of crying as something that makes us weak or somehow less than perfect. People are always apologizing for crying when, really, they shouldn’t have to. Society tells us we are weak for crying or, sometimes, we are constantly told that “crying is for babies” and “real men don’t cry.” It’s all wrong, and if people become “uncomfortable” when they see you cry, that’s their problem, not yours.
Crying is one of the easiest ways to release all of your pent-up emotions and it can even make you feel better. A study done by the University of Florida found that almost 89% of people feel better after crying. Studies have also suggested that crying stimulates the production of endorphins, which are hormones your body produces that make you feel good. Sometimes you just have to let it out if you want to move forward.
Most importantly, crying helps relieve stress. According to William Frey, the director of the Psychiatry Research Laboratories at the St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Centre, crying removes chemicals that build up during stress. And removing those chemicals helps prevent the damage that stress can cause to your heart and brain. So with finals week coming up if you feel the need to cry, go for it. You will feel much better in the long run and will be doing your body a favor.
Holding in your tears is actually terrible for you. You may feel big and tough for not crying, but it is detrimental to your wellbeing. Biologist Dr. Jerry Bergman says that suppressing tears can increases stress levels and contribute to diseases aggravated by stress such as high blood pressure, heart problems and peptic ulcers. Nobody wants any of that, so it’s much better for you to just let it out. Not to mention, when you hold your emotions in for too long, you are likely to eventually and unexpectedly explode, which is not good for your relationships.
So what should you do when you see someone crying? First, remember that they aren’t weak and it’s a natural human response to what they are going through. Second, the polite thing to do is to ask the person if they need anything – maybe asking what is wrong could be too personal or they don’t want to talk. However, don’t assume they need a hug, and don’t just walk out on the person because that can make them feel worse like they are bothering you or something. Just be there if the person needs you and be as understanding as possible. And remember, what goes around comes around, so if you are there when someone needs you then maybe they will be there when your roles are reversed.