Though it may be embarrassing or uncomfortable, crying is a natural human response to stress, sadness, disappointment, and more. Sometimes, you can even cry out of pure joy! In spite of this, we can sometimes feel bad about crying or feel that we should better learn how to “suck it up” and move on with life. Yet, there are a few serious benefits to crying. These 3 health benefits may make you more likely to air it all out, the next time you feel tears welling up in your eyes.
Crying releases physical tension from stress or sadness.
Do you ever notice that you feel better – lighter, even – after a good, long cry? Though scientists don’t quite understand why we feel this way, they believe these emotions could be attributed to the physical release of tension. We feel better after crying because crying usually occurs somewhere between the hyper-stimulated “fight or flight” stage and the calmer “rest and digest” stage, according to Lauren Bylsma, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
Crying can boost your mood, in some circumstances.
Sometimes, you not only feel less stressed out after a cry, but you seem to feel happier. Why is that? According to experts, this isn’t tied directly to the act of crying, but rather the support you feel from those around you after you cry. This explains why you feel better after airing your grievances to an understanding friend or family member. However, should you cry at work or in another circumstance that doesn’t welcome emotional displays, you could feel worse after letting it all out.
Crying can tighten your bond with a partner or loved one.
No doubt about it: crying requires vulnerability. When you cry in front of someone, you’re about as vulnerable as you can be – and, though that might make you feel uncomfortable at the moment, crying can strengthen your bond, if the person you’re interacting with is supportive. This could explain why humans tend to only cry in front of those we’re closest to, according to Ad Vingerhoets, Ph.D., author of Why Only Humans Weep and professor of social and behavioral sciences at Tilburg University.
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