It’s safe to say that 2020 gave us more than enough to cry about. Yet even prior to last year, it seems that we were crying often. Researchers note that, on average, American women cry 3.5 times each month, while American men cry about 1.9 times each month. These figures may take some of us by surprise. As a phenomenon that is unique to humans, crying is a natural response to a range of emotions, from deep sadness and grief to extreme happiness and joy. But is crying good for your health? The answer appears to be yes.
The health benefits of crying:
- Crying increases attachment behavior which encourages closeness, empathy, and support from friends and family.
- Crying releases oxytocin and endogenous opioids (endorphins). These feel-good chemicals help ease both physical and emotional pain.
- Studies have linked repressive coping (dismissing or ignoring emotions) with a less resilient immune system, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension, as well as with mental health conditions including stress, anxiety, and depression.
It is important to allow yourself to cry if you feel like it. Take the time to find a safe space to cry if you need to. However, if crying becomes overwhelming or uncontrollable, see a doctor or mental health professional for evaluation and treatment.