CRY: Feeling Better, Now!!

Crying is a wake-up call that something isn’t working for us and requires change

WELL UP

DR AKHTAR HUSSAIN

We have known for a long while that laughter is good for our heart; helps manage stress level, immunity and even useful for healing wounds. And now studies have revealed that those of us who have a little weep when we feel stressed or upset tend to be healthier than those who bottle it up and keep a stiff upper lip. A recent study from the University of Minnesota, US, found that crying improves the mood of 88.8 per cent of people, and it can also help with healing, boosting immunity and reducing levels of anger and stress. According to Professor William Frey, “crying 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, has negative physical effects on the body, including increasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases and other stress-related disorders
“We feel better after crying because we are literally crying it out,” continues, Professor Frey, who worked on the study. “Chemicals that built up during emotional stress may be removed in our tears when we cry. Unalleviated stress can increase risk of heart attack and damage certain areas of our brain. The human ability to cry has a survival value”
It has also been shown that emotional tears-when we are unhappy rather than in pain—contain higher levels of manganese and potassium. Manganese is a nutrient that helps with lowering bad cholesterol levels, and potassium helps control high blood pressure. Emotional tears also contain a hormone called prolactin, which helps reduce stressful feelings and boosts the immune system. Women have more prolactin, than men and their level rise during pregnancy, which may be one reason why women cry more than men—especially when they are expecting baby. When we cry, our breathing also deepens, which helps lower stress level. When our bodies feel under attack from a stressful situation, we tend to take a short, shallow breath, which makes the body pump out the stress hormone cortisol and heightens feeling of anxiety. Deep breathing, on the other hand, reduces cortisol production and lowers stress level. “I think crying is a very good idea for a variety of reasons,” says Professor Cary Cooper, a stress expert from Lancaster University. “Crying is a physiological response—it is an inbuilt reaction to hurt, emotional or physical. It is a release and helps us feel physically better towards pain. So on a basic level it makes us feel good, which is why we should never suppress a cry. Crying can also be good for us psychologically—it helps us take a step back and process what is wrong in our life.” Crying is a wake-up call that our relationship, or job, or whatever, is causing us to feel upset, isn’t working for us and requires change.  Another reason why crying is good, according to Cooper, is that it acts as a signal to others to help us. “If you show emotions with tears, other people will probably comfort us, which helps us to feel better, he explains. And he continues, the worst thing you can do is to stifle a cry because if you bury sad or hurtful emotions, they won’t vanish—they will just fester and reappear as anger or bitterness, which over time makes you feel a lot worse. I have seen medical journals that have shown how repressed emotions can weaken your immune system over time and lead to heightened stress level,’’ he adds.

Big Boys Don’t Cry.

Why are people so ashamed to cry? Cooper thinks it is because it has been drummed into us that crying is a sign of weakness or even seen as unprofessional.” Men in particular are told from a young age that ‘big boys don’t cry’. It is seen as being weak and feminine. For women, crying is a little more accepted but it can be seen as unprofessional in the workplace or even manipulative. A woman may worry about crying at work because she may be seen to not be up to the job, not coping or simply unprofessional,” he says. The best way to deal with a workplace well-up is to go to the toilet—or perhaps step outside for some fresh air—with a trusted colleague.
Studies have also shown that tears can improve eye sight by preventing dehydration. So the next time you feel your bottom lip quivering, just give in to it and make sure you have a little weep. You will be much healthier and less stressed as a result.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 8 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST




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