Updated: Dec 30, 2020
Yeah... you read that right. I said ENCOURAGING crying. Isn't crying bad? A sign of weakness or defeat? The ultimate indicator of sadness? If you look at it like that... then yeah, sure it can be. However, there's a reason our bodies are programmed to produce tears as a reaction of overwhelming emotion. Holding them in is only healthy for so long. It's kind of like holding your pee - after too long, it can cause your body harm. It's a natural function necessary to life (not my best comparison ever, but it's what came to mind).
Crying releases endorphins: the same chemical released by your brain when you work out. "Runner's High" and other phenomenons are associated with endorphins. They're also referred to as "natural painkillers". When anticipation, worry, fear, and/or sadness build up, but you refrain from letting go of that emotion, the natural balance of chemicals in your brain can be offset. Some people find working out to be a sufficient way to regain composure, but sometimes feelings are paralyzing. The thought of getting up, let alone working out, can seem an insurmountable challenge. The good news: you can cry anywhere with little to no effort when your emotions have already built up.
Your tears don't have to be triggered by a specific event. Sometimes it's the end of a long, average day and the underlying stress is stirring, and you just need to let it out. There's plenty of jokes about people having a playlist that makes them cry and how ridiculous it is, but it's not! I have one! (Breathe by miabrookep on Spotify - go check it out). All seriousness, sometimes I know that I could use a good cry, and I need a trigger. Some of the songs remind me of places or people I miss and others are just generally sad with relatable lyrics. Music may not be what works for you and that's okay - maybe it's old photos, or sad videos.
Human beings are the most evolved species because of our capacity for emotion. If we neglect to process thoughts and feelings healthily, then we're wasting this unique opportunity the universe has provided. There's this notion in our society that people who cry are just "sensitive". It's said with a derogatory undertone. I say, power to you. Sensitive is strong. You are strong enough to endure the full fledged power of your emotion. You are strong enough to be beat down, cry, but then get back up. You are strong enough to acknowledge and release your feelings even when it is hard.
When you need it, go have a good cry. I know for me it can actually be a form of self-care to turn out the lights, crank up my sad music, and just be alone with my thoughts, fears, and tears for a little while. I will reiterate: it's not sad or pathetic and it's not weak. I am strong and smart because I choose to handle my emotions in this healthy and natural way rather than channeling them through anger, insults, and/or violence directed at others.
Another benefit: if your crying face looks anything like mine, a good cry quickly turns to a good laugh. It's become a quirky habit of mine to take crying selfies because I am able to look back and them and laugh. I laugh because it is a new and better day. I laugh because in that rough moment I felt as though my world was ending, but I can see how much I've grown and overcome since. And finally, I laugh because my face is just actually hysterical.
Here's some of my favorites:
For more, check out the forum category 'Say Hi When you Cry'. Now share yours. Let's create a community in which we can acknowledge that it is okay to cry. The stress of the world is a lot, and any way to help release it is a valid way. Say hi when you cry! Join this forum today, and find support. Let's accept each other for crying and see if there's a way we can help each other better handle stress.