Lido Wellness Center Blog
Benefits of Crying for Mental HealthFebruary 9, 2023
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What Is Crying?
Crying is a natural response to emotions such as sadness, joy, frustration, love, loneliness, and fear. Of course this is just the beginning. In the range of human emotions, any of them could have the potential to elicit tears.
Crying is a complex process that is related to emotional expression combined with a release of stress, all connected to a physiological response to the stimulation of certain nerves in the eyes. When a person experiences strong emotions, their brain sends a signal to the glands in the upper outer part of the eye to produce tears.
These tears then drain into the tear ducts and flow down the cheeks. This is the physical aspect of crying. The emotional one is even more complicated.
When we cry, several psychological and emotional processes are taking place. Crying can be seen as a form of emotional expression, a release of feelings, and a way to communicate our needs and feelings to others.
Here are some of the psychological processes that occur when we cry:
- Emotional release: Crying can help to release pent-up emotions, such as sadness, anger, frustration, or joy. When we cry, we allow ourselves to fully experience and express our emotions, which can help to reduce stress and tension and improve our overall mood.
- Communication: Crying can also serve as a form of nonverbal communication, signaling to others that we need support or help. This is especially true when we cry in the presence of others, as the act of crying can elicit sympathy and support from others.
- Empathy: Crying can also facilitate empathy, as it allows us to connect with others on an emotional level. When we see someone else crying, we often feel a strong urge to comfort them and help them through their emotional experience.
- Reflection: Crying can also be a time for introspection and reflection, as it forces us to slow down and reflect on our emotions and experiences. This can lead to greater self-awareness and a deeper understanding of our own emotional needs and responses.
Despite this, there is often a stigma surrounding crying and expressing emotions, particularly for men. Many cultures teach that crying is a sign of weakness and that expressing feelings is inappropriate in certain situations. This stigma can make people feel ashamed or embarrassed about crying, even when it is a healthy and normal response to their feelings.
Physical Benefits of Crying
Crying has several physical benefits, including reducing stress and releasing tension in the body. When a person cries, they release a chemical called prolactin, which is associated with a reduction in stress levels. Additionally, crying can help regulate levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, leading to a calming of the mind.
Crying also helps to reduce eye pressure, improve vision, and relieve sinus pressure.
Emotional Benefits of Crying
Crying can also provide emotional benefits, such as reducing sadness, anger, or frustration. By releasing these emotions through crying, a person can feel a sense of relief and a reduced burden of stress and negativity. Crying can also help to facilitate healing and closure after a traumatic event or loss. Additionally, crying can help build a deeper connection with others, providing a sense of shared empathy and understanding.
Social Benefits of Crying
Crying can even provide social benefits, such as building stronger relationships and improving communication. By sharing emotions with others, individuals can feel a sense of empathy and understanding from their friends, family, or partners. Shedding tears helps to build trust and intimacy in relationships, as it demonstrates vulnerability and allows others to support and comfort one another. It’s important to share your true feelings with others, especially those closest to you.
When Is Crying Too Much?
While there are many benefits of crying for mental health, and it is a natural part of the human experience, it can also be a sign of a more serious problem, such as clinical depression or anxiety, if it occurs frequently or excessively.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your emotions and feel that you can’t stop crying, it’s important to reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or healthcare provider for support and guidance.
At Lido Wellness, our team can help. We specialize in trauma care and anxiety and depression disorders. If you are looking for an outpatient mental health option do understand why you might be crying excessively, call our team today.