Crying is a unique emotional response that varies from person to person. There are some of us who are emotional basket cases, crying at some point basically every day. Others are the stoic type, dealing with hurt and sadness in every way possible except shedding a tear. In the same way that crying is a perfectly acceptable response when experiencing grief, the absence of it by no means signifies that someone is not truly hurt.
If you are currently experiencing grief, or when you inevitably do go through the experience down the road, it is important to understand the crying is a very beneficial part of the healing process. The purpose of this article is to explain why this is the case. Here are a few good reasons to let yourself shed a tear when and if you need to do so.
Tears Are Emotional Tension Manifested
Any strong emotion, such as grief, almost allows causes a significant buildup of tension and frustration in the mind. While you may tell yourself any number of reasons why suppressing these emotions is the right thing to do, in reality, this does far more harm than good. During the grieving process, allowing yourself to have some sort of release from this tension goes a long way in moving one step closer to healing.
The actual manner in which you release these emotions can happen in a number of ways. Maybe punching your mattress, venting to a loved one for hours on end or crying is what works for you. As long as your outlet does harm you or someone else, the way you ease your tension is not important, what IS important is that you do.
For many people, tears serve as a physical manifestation of all the hurt and pain they are feeling inside leaving their internal environment. As each teardrop falls, the pressure they have been experiencing slowly begins to subside.
Crying In Front Of Those Close To You Validates Your Inner Vulnerability
During the grieving process, we tend to feel extremely vulnerable. This can be a scary experience for a lot of people, as vulnerability is far from an easy emotion to express. However, letting yourself cry in front of those closest to you can be extremely beneficial. By doing so, you are allowing yourself to feel safe and like you are not alone.
When we are experiencing this type of sadness and pain, what we really want is to feel like our emotions are validated, especially by someone else. This is why allowing yourself to cry in front of someone who loves and cares about you can be so beneficial. By doing this, you are creating an atmosphere of safety and understanding in the presence of someone who can and will validate how you are feeling in a nonjudgmental way.
Believe It Or Not, Science Supports Crying Due To Grief
While it may seem odd, there is actually research that reports that our tears have a different composition during times of grief that helps with the healing process. In his book, Crying: The Mystery Of Tears, Dr. William Frey explains how that normal reflex tears, such as when you laugh a lot or get something caught in your eye, are almost entirely made up of water. Emotional tears, however, actually contain the stress hormones and toxins that buildup up during emotions such as grief.
Furthermore, this response also triggers the body to release endorphins, often referred to as “feel good” hormones.
Literally, when you allow yourself to cry during the grieving process, you are not only releasing all of the unwanted hormones that have accumulated, you are also ramping up the biological agents responsible for improving your mood!
Frey, W. H., & Langseth, M. (1985). Crying: the mystery of tears. Minneapolis, MN: Winston Press.