Go Ahead, Cry: Here’s Why

How do you feel about crying in front of other people? And how do you feel when others cry in front of you? Are you embarrassed? Mortified? Or empowered?

It’s time to look at tears in an entirely new light: for your own good and the good of those you lead.

The Benefits of Tears

I regularly make my clients cry. Sounds brutal, right? Not really.

Their crying is a sign that I’ve accomplished something I’ve been striving for with them: realisation, stress-release, sadness, relief, happiness, and more.

For longer than any of us can remember, crying has been seen as a sign of weakness; when in truth, real strength comes from having the courage to cry. Because really, we should all be doing it.

Why? The health effects of bottling up emotions can be significant. Plus, when emotions aren’t expressed, poor situations don’t change and communications aren’t effective.

Not convinced? Here are just a few proven benefits of crying:

  • Tears that flow as a result of released emotion contain stress hormones[1] like cortisol—stress hormones that are now out of your body and not causing negative physical and mental repercussions. They also help to get rid of chemicals that raise cortisol. Just imagine how much you can accomplish (and good you’ll feel doing it) with less stress.
  • When you cry, your body triggers endorphin production. Endorphins are not only known as feel-good chemicals, they have been shown, in studies, to relieve pain. The effects of endorphins on pain have been compared to those of morphine[2].
  • Antidepressants have nothing on tears. Crying not only calms us, it improves mood. In a study at The University of South Florida[3], it was found that 90% of people who cried experienced elevation in mood.
  • When feelings are suppressed or “held in,” the physical effects can be devastating: Stomach ulcers, headaches and high blood pressure, to name a few. When emotions are expressed and harmful chemicals are released, the body and mind are refreshed and more prepared for whatever lies ahead.
  • There’s no better way to show how strongly you feel about something than to cry. It spurs empathy in others and demonstrates your passion. It improves communications and brings people together. There is no shame in crying; it is a phenomenon that unites and opens doors to solving problems—no matter if the tears are tears of joy, frustration or sorrow.

Too often, my clients apologise for crying. I want them, and you, to know that not only is there no need to apologise, you should take pride in your courage to cry. It shows that you are an emotionally aware human who is doing the best for your mind, body and spirit.

Look away and move on from those who tell you that crying shows weakness. Start to view it as demonstration of courage, strength and vulnerability…all traits displayed by the best leaders. Give others the space to cry and practice becoming comfortable with it. Never encourage the stuffing of any emotion; allow them to cry as freely as you would allow them to laugh, because there is no bad emotion.


[1] Dr. William Frey, biochemist at Ramsey Medical Center, Minneapolis

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3104618/

[3] http://news.usf.edu/article/templates/?a=1038

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