Shelley J Whitehead

Is crying good for you?

4 August, 2023

When my relationship ended I suddenly understood the meaning of the term ‘heart ache’. I had physical pain in the hollows of my chest cavity, where there was less of a beat – more just an empty echo of what once was and I cried and cried and cried. Some people around me were quite perturbed with the relentless flow of my tears.

Has anyone ever told you to stop crying? It’s something children hear a lot when they are growing up. Why is culture so afraid of tears? They serve an important physiological function, to help with self-soothing. Crying is, physiologically, good for you.

Here’s the scientific explanation:

A Yale University study revealed how crying can help us to restore emotional balance. When we’re crying we breathe more quickly, taking in much-needed air which regulates and calms the brain and body. Most importantly, crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system and releases two feel-good chemicals to help ease your distress: Oxytocin (which boosts feelings of connection and can give you a sense of ‘calm after the storm’) and Endorphins (which are released after exercise and can make you feel zoned out or numb, easing the pain)

So tears have an important job to do. Consider crying a helpful way to self-soothe. Don’t be afraid of your tears!

I love sharing my tools, tips and connection-enhancing explanations with you.

Shelley J Whitehead
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