…and not just today, but two days ago and the day before that and I think sometime last week as well. I am talking real tears here…raw and uncontrolled – the ones that come with deep, heart wrenching sobs and those ugly sounds, which much resemble the cries of a wounded animal.
Before you start feeling sorry for me, thanks but there’s no need. In fact, I am not writing this post to gain sympathy or anything like that, but rather to share with you the benefits of a good cry. Yep, that’s right…much like I am a huge advocate of having a good laugh, I also highly recommend having a good cry every now and then to “cleanse your soul” (apologies if this sounds a little new age).
I am a perfectionist by nature and put a lot – and I mean A LOT – of (probably unnecessary) pressure on myself to be perfect in every single aspect of my life. I am completely aware of the fact that I set excessive high performance standards and am overly critical of myself. I rarely settle for anything less than perfect when it comes to my performance at work or my looks or even when interacting with colleagues and friends on a personal level. I want everything to be “picture perfect”. While I can’t deny that this attitude is exactly what drives me in life, making me the ambitious and successful person that I am – I have to admit that it is equally exhausting and emotionally draining and more often than not has me on the verge of an emotional breakdown.
So, what do I do when I get all stressed out because of something not going as planned or not turning out the way I wanted it to? That’s right, I cry. Did you know that tears contain the stress hormone cortisol? Through tears our body releases any excess cortisol caused by built up emotions such as stress, sadness, and anxiety. Have you ever noticed how much better you feel after crying, even though the problem still persists? That’s because by crying you reduced your cortisol levels, leaving you feeling a bit exhausted but way calmer than before.
Crying out my emotions helps me put things back into perspective and looking at problems in a more rational – less emotional – way. Personally I LOVE to cry (there, I said it and am not ashamed to admit it)! I need it to cope with my day to day struggles and it has become one of my many personal stress management tools. I highly recommend it.
In a society so obsessed with appearances it might be a challenge to actually allow ourselves to “let go” every once in a while. Unfortunately crying is often considered a sign of weakness and nobody wants to appear vulnerable and weak. So what do we do? We bottle up our emotions – I know I have often enough in the past – until one day we inevitably “explode” one way or the other.
I speak from personal experience when I say that crying is immensely therapeutic and has such a calming effect on the soul. When you feel like crying, just go ahead and do it. In fact, make it a habit whenever you feel stressed or anxious: Let it out and don’t worry about how you may or may not appear. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is how you’ll feel thereafter and I guarantee, you’ll feel better – not perfect, but definitely better.