Tears caused by emotional stimuli contain a different chemical composition to those from irritation. Emotionally based tears contain high levels of cortisal, which is the primary hormone released during stressful situations. We literally release toxins from our system when we cry.
When my fiance was diagnosed with bowel cancer one week before our wedding, he would want to cry at times, as he processed that information and the implications of it. And whilst I knew and appreciated he had plenty to cry about, it made me incredibly uncomfortable and made me feel quite helpless.
I certainly didn't encourage his tears, and part of me wished that he would stop crying, though I don't think I expressed that verbally at the time. I just inwardly squirmed.
I had grown up in an environment where it was perceived weak to cry - even for a girl, but for a man to cry was unheard of. I'd seen my father cry only twice in my life and both times I was very uncomfortable by it.
If I only knew then what I know now.
These days - when somebody (anybody) feels the impulse to cry, I encourage it, and even welcome it. And I even allow myself to cry more often than my previous self control would allow.
There is a multitude of contributing factors to the completely different paradigm of thinking I enjoy today - but as with most things I can accept now as the "norm" I started off with an enormous amount of skepticism - particularly anything that required a leap of faith - and I generally needed some sort of proof or scientific basis to explore things further.
I had learnt through a number of different sources (almost essential for a cynic to accept that it might have any credence) that the tears produced when crying tears resulting from an emotional response differ in chemical composition to tears that are produced due to environmental factors for example peeling an onion or getting an eyelash or speck of dust in your eye.
I knew that OTHER people often said that a good cry can make them feel better and I had read the results of one survey by William Frey that, 85% of women and 73% of men reported feeling less sad or angry after crying.
William Frey found that the tears caused by emotional stimuli contained more total protein than those that resulted from irritation and that that the emotionally based tears contained high levels of cortisal, which is the primary hormone released during stressful situations.
It would seem that we may be literally releasing toxins from our system when we cry, and that crying itself may support our overall wellbeing.
If the chemicals associated with stress did not discharge at all, they would build up to toxic levels that could weaken the body's immune system and other biological processes.
Our bodies are truly amazing. It would seem obvious to me NOW it is physically very healthy to cry, regardless of whether or not it feels awkward or makes other people feel uncomfortable. What is most important is that we find a way to honor the truth of our feelings. Tears are a way to mend some of the pain and suffering of life. They are neither something to be ashamed of nor something we must force or flaunt. http://www.healing-sands.com