As I sit in my office and look out into the largest storm of the year, I can’t help but be reminded of how the rain can be a great metaphor of washing things clean – much like tears do to our physical and emotional well-being. Of course, your tears help flush irritants, and lubricate your eyeballs to help see, but here are some interesting facts about how tears are healthy for us emotionally.
1. Emotional Tears help release toxins. A study by Dr. William H. Frey II, a biochemist at the St Paul-Ramsey Medical Centre in Minnesota, found that stress raises our cortisol (the primary stress hormone) levels, and emotional tears are full of fantastic chemicals which help to flush out toxins that raise these levels.
2. Crying helps us heal – Much like the rain washing the slate clean, when we release our feelings through tears, we are helping ourselves resolve a very important stage of grief. By supressing the tears, we can set ourselves up for depression.
3. A good cry can improve our thinking – It has been proven that when our heart rate, or blood pressure is raised, our reasoning process plummets. Having a good cry helps us to self-sooth, and allows us to focus more cognitively on the situation at hand.
4. Tears open the door for intimacy – When we face an event that brings us to tears, it opens the door for loved ones to come along side and support us. With this increase in vulnerability, we can allow ourselves to fully explore how the event affected us, and what others can do to help.