“I never cry in front of people!”
Does that sound like you? Or can you cry in front of people?
There is often a huge amount of shame attached to crying. I remember a teacher at school saying “Big girls don’t cry.” And that’s part of how I learned to hide my emotions. What about you? Did you have any similar experiences?
It turns out crying is very good for you. Firstly, when we cry, we are releasing toxins and stress hormones from the body. Letting these out over a few minutes of crying is the natural way to reduce stress.
Then, amazingly, if we allow ourselves to cry for long enough, we actually start to produce oxytocin and endorphins. Oxytocin is the hormone we get when cuddling a child or a partner and is nicknamed “the love hormone.” Endorphins are what we get when we exercise. Their purpose is to ease physical and emotional pain. So in a very real sense, crying is a way of loving ourselves.
Finally, we must look at how babies use crying. Since they have no words, it is their way of letting us know they are hungry, tired, uncomfortable or need to be changed. Crying is a means of communicating that all is not well with us. So rather than hiding our crying, I encourage you to cry in front of people you trust. The result will be a stronger connection between you.
When is it a good time to cry in front of people?
We need to choose our moments to cry. Obviously it wouldn’t be a good idea to turn up to work and cry all day long! Crying while driving also would not be advisable, although that is sometimes when it comes up for us. It would be a good idea to pull over if that happens to you.
As mentioned above, crying in front of someone you trust will strengthen your connection with them. If you fear rejection you might want to talk about this with them first.
Crying alone may sound miserable but it is so beneficial. That way you can cry as long as you want without interruption.
A friend of mine has a practice of setting her alarm to get up early when she needs a good cry. But how do you cry on demand? Listening to some sad music is a good way to help you start crying. And if that fails, try dancing. The movement encourages your body to release and express your emotions.