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How Does Crying Relieve Stress?

Does crying relieve stress
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

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Every person cries for various reasons at various times. And indeed, it is a typical and frequent reaction to stress.

Crying is one healthy way to release stress, and it’s necessary. Some people feel that crying helps them reduce tension and anxiety. Our bodies may release certain hormones and chemicals, allowing those feelings to settle down.

People are not usually crying to relieve stress as the initial goal. It is just a natural reaction to intense events, and it also has positive effects. In this post, you can learn more about it.

Overwhelmed by stress? To improve your mental health, get assistance.

Is Crying Good for You?

Crying often happens when there is a lot of stress or tension, and psychologists claim that it is a significant coping strategy [1*] . It enables us to communicate tough feelings. By triggering the parasympathetic nerve system, which regulates the body’s capacity for relaxation, it may also aid in reducing stress. Perhaps most importantly, it enables us to connect and seek emotional support.

Surprisingly, the psychological benefits of crying can be very positive, providing a sense of spiritual and emotional relief. Not merely for stress management, it can be advantageous on many levels. You might be shocked to hear that the effects of crying include emotional equilibrium restoration, temporary pain relief, and body detoxification. These and other benefits are explained in detail below.

What Are the Benefits of Crying While Stressed?

Nobody consistently leads a flawless, stress-free existence. What we can control is how we handle and respond to stress. As one of the coping options, a good weep can help you decompress and reduce tension and comes with a few other positive effects.

Takes Stress Out

It’s previously been proven that crying reduces physiological effects of stress. More research is still required, but it can be said that crying being a healthy outlet might cause your body to release hormones that help lower your stress level. For example, in contrast to tears brought on by environmental circumstances, emotional tears have higher concentrations of protein [2*] , manganese, and other stress hormones [3*] and compounds. So, basically, by crying, you’re enabling your body to release these molecules to relieve stress.

Improves Mood

Crying, especially weeping, can help you manage discomfort and boost your mood. When sobbing, you inhale a lot of fast, chilly breaths. It boosts blood flow to the brain and can assist in regulating [4*] and even bringing down your brain’s temperature. Your brain may become overheated from anxiety just like the rest of your body, and studies [5*] have shown that even slight increases in brain temperature can have a detrimental effect on your mood. So your body and mind will benefit from a cooled brain more. As a result, following a round of crying, your mood can improve.

Helps to Relieve Pain

Emotional crying promotes self-soothing [6*] due to oxytocin and endorphins release. These chemicals may not only make you happier but also lessen your bodily and mental pain. Hence, crying can help reduce discomfort and improve well-being.

When you’re in a lot of pain, you could feel annoyed or even angry. After crying, you might be able to control some of those emotions and get rid of them, which can actually make you feel less hurt.

Persistent stress can be difficult to manage. Get professional assistance instead.

Helps to Heal Grief

If you have ever gone through the many phases of sorrow, you know it takes time. You might cry through each stage of bereavement. However, crying can be a cathartic release of emotions that may make it easier for you to accept the death of a loved one. While not everyone finds comfort in crying throughout this process, some people discover that it aids in their grieving and allows them to let go of their emotions.

Benefits of crying

Restores Emotional Balance

Not all crying is in response to anything depressing. You might occasionally cry when you’re thrilled, terrified, or feeling anxious. According to Yale University researchers, this type of crying may aid in regaining emotional equilibrium. It’s possible that crying when you’re really happy or worried about something is your body’s attempt to recuperate from such a strong feeling.

Improves Vision

When we cry for emotional reasons, such as sadness, joy, or frustration, our body produces basal tears and emotional tears. Basal tears keep the eyes moist and prevent the mucous membranes from drying out. They are expelled with each blink. Moreover, the National Eye Institute [7*] claims that the lubricating qualities of basal tears help to enhance eyesight. Without them, the membranes may get dry and result in blurry vision.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Before we cry, our heart rate and blood pressure tend to increase. However, once we start crying, the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system and hormonal release induces relaxation and leads to a decrease in heart rate and blood pressure. This is why we frequently feel better after crying. Following therapy sessions where patients sobbed and vented, crying has been observed to reduce blood pressure and pulse rate. Controlling blood pressure reduces the risk of blood vessels and heart damage, stroke, heart failure, and even dementia. Those who “let it all out” frequently experience feelings of lightness, tranquility, the ability to breathe more deeply, and even improved sleep.

Seek professional support if you are feeling down and self-help tips do not help.

In Conclusion

The greatest way to deal with tough emotions, such as loss and grief, is to accept them, despite how difficult they may be. It’s crucial to give yourself permission to cry if you need to.

Crying relieves stress in many different ways. However, crying alone won’t help someone with persistent stress. If you find yourself feeling tense and stressed for a long time, you cry more than usual, and it disrupts your normal well-being, consider talking to a mental health expert about the symptoms.

Sources

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+7 sources
  1. Using crying to cope: Physiological responses to stress following tears of sadness. (2020)
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  2. Threads for tear film collection and support in quantitative amino acid analysis. (2016)
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  3. The neurobiology of human crying. (2019)
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  4. Thermal Regulation of the Brain—An Anatomical and Physiological Review for Clinical Neuroscientists. (2016)
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  5. The temperature of emotions. (2021)
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  6. Is crying a self-soothing behavior? (2014)
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  7. How Tears Work. (2019)
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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology
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This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.