I met up for dinner with a very good friend of mine on Monday and she is doing her Masters in Systemic Family Therapy. She told me something which I never knew and I was not only fascinated, I wanted to share. When we cry, our tears act as a painkiller!! Did you know that?? Well, I never did. I have had a hunt around (not that I didn’t believe my good friend!) and found the following article on ‘The Science of Tears’.
For those of you who haven’t got time to read this article, tears basically contain high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. They also contain proteins and manganese. Therefore, the act of these chemicals leaving our bodies makes us feel relieved, calm and relaxed – albeit a pretty effective pain killer. This is why we often feel so much better once we have had a good cry!
Now, working in the field of domestic abuse, I obviously sadly see a lot of women cry. They always apologise to me for doing so. Of course, I always tell them they have absolutely no need to apologise but in future, I will be also be explaining to them that actually it is good for them to cry and they should do it as often as they feel the need!
In the UK, I feel it is part of our culture to be brought up to have the ‘stiff upper lip’. To not show emotion. This, I believe, is especially true with men. This is why we always feel the need to apologise when we break down and cry. We feel embarrassed or even ashamed. We are taught all too often to bottle things up and not share our sadness or confusion with anyone. Clearly, this is the wrong message. We can actually help heal ourselves by being open and honest with our emotions.
So, I for one, am now going to cry whenever I feel like it! I will encourage all my clients to ‘let go’ and cry – release those stress hormones, feel better for doing it and be proud of showing your emotions.