Crying is actually good for you

Sometimes all you need is a good cry.

Crying is a natural way to relieve stress, it lowers blood pressure and tears remove toxins.

I cry at movies, when reading a book, when a friend cries it makes me cry. Mollie’s posts often make me cry. I almost cried after the General election and when Arsenal lost again. Charity adverts always make me cry: The adopt a donkey Ad, Child or animal cruelty always gets to me too.

“Crying activates the body in a healthy way,” says Stephen Sideroff, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at UCLA and director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics. “Letting down one’s guard and one’s defenses and [crying] is a very positive, healthy thing. The same thing happens when you watch a movie and it touches you and you cry… That process of opening into yourself… it’s like a lock and key.”

The Japanese are such strong believers in the health benefits of crying that they’ve taken that wisdom to the next level. Some cities in Japan now have “crying clubs” called rui-katsu (meaning, literally, “tear-seeking”), where people come together to indulge in good old-fashioned sobfests. (To help the tears flow, participants watch tearjerkers.) The premise? Crying releases stress, and is therefore is a great practice when it comes to staying mentally healthy.

I always cry at animal movies: Dumbo, obviously the scene where his mother is rocking him on her trunk while she sits locked up with a sign on the door marked ” mad elephant”and it’s a cartoon!  “The Incredible Journey” makes me cry every time. I know that Shadow is going to appear over the hill long after Chance and Sassy are re-united with their owners but I still cry as I feel so sorry for the little boy who says he was too old to make it and then here he comes limping away. King Kong is another one, so sad, poor bugger always gets shot.

The movie that makes me cry the most is “What dreams may come” with Robin Williams – its about life after death. All the main characters are killed, the kids, then the husband and the wife is left behind. Floods of tears for most of the film but my favourite movie ever.

The book “The God of small things” by Arundhati Joy. Please read if you haven’t already. Cried at the beginning and the end. Read it 6 times and I can finish it and go back to page 1 and read it again. Its a beautiful book.

At funerals I am a mess. I had a friend die of AIDs about 28 years ago. Watching someone slowly die is not nice. Worst is them knowing that they are dying and throughout my visits with him I never cried until the funeral and then in came in floods. Saddest of all was that his friends were sat on one side of the church at the service and his family who sat on the other side who never accepted that he was gay. “Don’t let the sun go down” was playing as the curtains on the coffin closed and I now tear up ever time I hear that song.

Other movies for a good cry include The Blind Side, Coach Carter, The Notebook, Marley and me, Me before You and of course Philadelphia. The list goes on. Sometimes its just good to let your emotions run free and shred a few tears.

Having a good cry can sometimes be just what the doctor ordered. In fact, some psychologists even suggest that we may be doing ourselves a disservice by not tearing up regularly.

Christmas is an emotional time, so if you feel yourself welling up, just let it happen, crying is good for you.

Namaste

Veronica Winter

Health & Wellness Consultant

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