I am an emotional person. I feel it all. I do not mind crying, even in front of other people. I have no problem letting tears shed at an emotional event or during a sad movie. Sometimes I do keep my feelings to myself, but I always let myself feel them, even if that means going into a room by myself. I do not mind being emotional, it feels good to let my feelings out, and I believe it is part of my personality. However, I know people who do not like crying. Maybe they do not want to let others know what they are feeling, or they think that crying makes them look weak, or they just do not have that much emotional capacity for tears. As someone who believes that crying can be extremely relieving and that it is an important part of the human emotional experience, I have dug up six reasons why it is not only absolutely okay to cry, but good to:
1. There are health benefits
Believe it or not, crying actually has physical benefits in addition to mental ones. Studies have shown that crying cleans toxins from your body. Crying helps your body get rid of chemicals that contain cortisol—the hormone that contains stress! So next time you are trying to resist the urge to cry out of feeling stressed, let it out—crying may reduce it!
2. It helps you feel more in line with your emotions
Ever had one of those moments where you feel like you are sad about something, but you do not know exactly what? Or there is something you do not want to be sad about but are anyway? Well, sometimes we are confused about our feelings, and we want to cry but feel that if we do, everything will not be “okay” (and then we cannot prove to ourselves that we are perfectly happy), right? Wrong. If you do not know how you feel about something, keeping your natural emotions from coming out will not make anything better. Letting out a good cry will help wash away those conflicting emotions; it will help you prove to yourself that something is wrong and that you are not happy about something. As strange as it sounds, we sometimes need to let our natural juices (or tears) do their work to convince us how we are feeling. If you can truly prove to yourself that you are upset, you will feel more ready to talk about the situation and find ways to improve it.
3. It helps you connect with people
This sounds incredibly strange, but I always seem to feel closer to people once I have experienced them cry in front of me or vice versa. Crying in front of others shows people that you are a human being—you can be vulnerable or sensitive at times, and you have real, genuine emotions. Beyond that, crying with someone shows that you trust them—you are giving them a piece of your fragile emotions, letting them into your life, and making it clear that you are not afraid to ask for help. It also lets them know that if they ever need a shoulder to cry on, you will be there for them—that is the type of person we all need in life.
4. It also signals to people that you need help
While crying is not the only side of sadness, it is sometimes hard for others to tell how sad you are about something unless you show obvious signs—one of them, of course, are tears. And crying because you need help is not a sign of attention seeking! Remember in “Inside Out,” when Joy realized the true purpose of Sadness? Sadness was there to help Riley signal to her peers that she was feeling down, and her family and friends came to help her! If you are not actually sad, do not cry just to get attention. But if you really feel like letting the waterworks flow, I guarantee they will appear genuine, and others will be more likely to listen and to try to help you.
5. It makes you feel—and appear—strong
Many think that crying would make them appear to be weak, but it is actually just the opposite. Letting people see your emotions is a very valuable and strong trait—it is a sign of confidence. Also, if you are crying, it must be for a very good reason, meaning that there is something hard you are going through. Crying about it means you have held onto it for as long as you can and that you are dealing with it. And that is absolutely okay.
6. It is cleansing—literally and figuratively
It is simply a fact that crying is cleansing—not only does it clear out those stress-producing chemicals, but it also literally cleanses your mind. It cleans the build-up of emotions you have wanted to let out for so long but did not have the courage to. It cleans all the negative thoughts you have stuck in your mind. It helps you come to terms with your feelings when words cannot describe them. When crying, you are letting go of emotional baggage that is taking over. Whether you want to cry to your best friend’s face or into your pillow, please do not be afraid to cry.