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health + well-being

Why Crying is Good For You

June 1, 2016
Did you know that crying is good for you? When was the last time you cried?

I have a friend that absolutely refuses to cry. The thought of her shedding even a single tear in front of anyone terrifies her. When I asked her why, she told me that crying creates an image of a weak-hearted, spineless person, and this is the last image she wishes to put forth.

I, being a passionate crier, called bullshit on this theory and have tried in all of my power to convince her why crying is healthy, why you should do it, and why it is actually a strength-proving feat.

Crying is still stigmatized in society; anyone who cries is immediately viewed as over-emotional, weak, and dramatic.

 

Personally, I’ve been a subject of ridicule for crying. I’ve heard all the cliche insults directed towards females e.g.”Are you on your period?” Women shouldn’t cry because it perpetuates the stereotype that they’re ‘crazy’ or emotionally-driven, whereas men shouldn’t because it is a sign of weakness e.g. Men who cry are effeminate *eye roll*. This is an extremely antiquated perspective of a natural bodily function.

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Photos by Ema Walters and Krizia Victoria

Crying is one of the most relieving things one can do both physically and emotionally. There are two explanations behind why crying feels so damn good: the scientific reason and the spiritual reason. The tears cried during emotionally and physically compromising situations are called ~psychic tears~ and they contain a natural painkiller, leucine enkephalin, that basically serves as a sedative that calms the body down.

The spiritual reasoning is wholly individualized, and dependent on the person’s character. The way I see it, crying releases a flood of tears that are built up from days, weeks, and months of sadness, grief, anger, and disappointment. Personally, I tend to keep any grievances to myself, so a good cry kind of restarts my emotional state. It puts me back on empty, and enables me to continue building up a myriad of emotions until I have to burst the dams again.

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One time, this friend cried buckets in front of me. She spent about two straight hours bawling, and it was extremely intense. The following day, she confided in me that she hadn’t cried for at least six months prior to that, and that she felt absolutely horrible about herself for doing so. I understand holding oneself to personal standards, but crying is never something that should be considered a weak act; it takes strength to allow yourself to be emotionally vulnerable like that.

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What I’m trying to say is, allow yourself to cry. Cry about puppies you see in the street, cry over your break-up, cry because your friend made plans without you. Cry because your favorite character died in the show you were just getting into, cry because you love how happy you are, cry because someone paid it forward in line at Starbucks. For the love of all that is emotionally healthy, cry.

Sarah Ng is an artist from Savannah, GA. She likes bright colors, laughing at stupid jokes, and watching films instead of being productive. Follow her Instagram for more work!