One of my all time favorite movies is “Something’s Gotta Give” with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson.
I especially love the part when Diane’s character is getting over being dumped by Jack.She sobs uncontrollably at the drop of a hat, letting go with every emotional gun she ever possessed.
I submit we would all be better off to go ahead and let loose when we are feeling sad, rather than keeping a stiff upper lip and walking around with all the pent-up toxicity raging inside us.
The notion that big boys and girls don’t cry is a persistent idea fed by popular sayings, says Dennis Thomopson, Jr., in a piece for Everyday Health. But psychologists and researchers say that it’s just not so. Shedding tears can be a huge and very healthy emotional release, particularly if you are experiencing deep pain, sadness, anger, or stress.
One study analyzed 140 years of popular articles about crying and found that more than 9 in 10 found tears to be a good way to release pent-up feelings. An international sample of men and women from 30 countries found that most reported feeling relief after a good cry. And about 70 percent of therapists say they believe crying is good for their patients.
Crying as Catharsis
The main benefit of crying is catharsis, or a purging or purification of your feelings through emotional release. When you cry, you can let go of the tension and sadness and other emotions that have been causing you pain. In many ways, crying serves as a safety valve that allows you to blow off emotions that have built up too much pressure inside you.
It’s been difficult for researchers to figure out how this works. When tears are induced in a laboratory setting — for example, having subjects watch a sad movie — more often than not the participants report that they feel worse rather than better.
Despite this, people consistently report that a good cry makes them feel better. One recent study reviewing more than 3,000 detailed reports of recent crying episodes found that most people reported an improvement in their mood afterward. Another study of 196 Dutch women found that nearly 9 in 10 said they felt better after crying.