From time to time, we all get the feeling of being overwhelmed – even when life is good. While I relish my independence, and pride myself on my strength and dignity, the stresses and strains of everyday ups and downs can take its toll and every once in a while I just need to let it all out and allow myself to have a good cry.
After experiencing a tough and frustrating week, I found myself feeling restless and overwhelmed. I knew I was upset, but I couldn’t seem to express it. I was sitting on my couch watching an Oprah flashback moment as she did a tribute to little Mattie Stepanek who is no longer with us. There it came, out of nowhere, the floodgates opened and I sobbed uncontrollable. I was ready for it and I just let it take its course. I felt so much better after my sob fest – the release was worth the red nose and puffy eyes that hung on for the rest of the day.
Does life seem so bad that you feel like bursting into tears? Go ahead and give yourself permission to have a sob fest! It will make you feel better.
Even though we’ve been doing it since we were born, the older we get, the more complicated crying becomes. Sometimes, the most cleansing, healing thing to do is let the tears loose.
Studies have shown that people feel less sad and angry after crying. Humans are the only animals to evolve the ability to shed tears in response to emotional stress. We may feel better after crying because our tears flush out chemicals that build up during stress. Weeping is not only a human response to sorrow and frustration, it’s a healthy one. Crying is a natural way to reduce emotional stress that, left unchecked, can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and other stress-related disorders.
While crying may be healthy, to cry or not to cry seems to be a cultural decision. In North America crying is often viewed as a weakness, especially if it’s done in public. This makes people uncomfortable and is considered undignified. In Japan, crying is an acceptable thing to do and “crying clubs” have become a popular craze in that country. These clubs are places where people gather together, watch sad films and….cry.
Crying is a natural stress reliever, helps to clear the mind, and may even help you think things through a little more clearly than you would if you hold those stressful emotions inside. So if you’re feeling stressed out or upset, consider allowing yourself to have a good cry. Not only is it good for the soul, it’s also evidently good for the body!
Once you’ve cleared whatever hurdle was making you so anxious, a session on the sofa with a box of tissues may be exactly what you need to put it behind you.
It’s normal – it’s healthy…and sometimes we just need to have a good cry.
Facing the Future by Mattie Stepanek
Every journey begins
With but a small step.
And every day is a chance
For a new, small step
In the right direction.
Just follow your Heartsong.