5 Ways Crying is Healing
1. Self Soothing: The soothing impact of crying on the nervous system is well researched. Crying activates the Parasympathetic nervous system bringing the body into rested state. When we are struggling or traumatised we are in the fight/flight/freeze/fawn positions, crying can help the body become unstuck from those positions.
2. Accessing Interpersonal Support - Pain and trauma can make us feel isolated and alone, this in itself can be a very painful experience. When we cry we signal to others that we are struggling, which elicits a care taker response in another (in another human which is regulated, balanced and connected to their own sense of self). When we cry, we give others an opportunity to support and care for us in our moment of need.
3. Connecting with our Humanness : Crying is the the most natural human response to a range of emotions including sadness, anger & happiness. When we cry we are connected to our humanness and our vulnerability.
We are not robots or machines, we are creations of God, whom impact and are impacted by the world around them, therefore we will have our ups and downs, high's and low's and be somewhere in the middle sometimes... To try to be anything else is unnatural and unbalanced with how we have been created.
4. Pain and Stress Relief : Crying releases oxytocin and endorphins to sooth emotional and physical pain, our body is primed to regulate and re-set itself by discharging stress hormones and harmful toxins from the body. What we see as a weakness actually is a free medicine - a natural stress and pain reliever! Letting ourselves cry is making space for our body to do what it needs to give us healing and support.
5. Processing Emotions: We're often processing grief (in some form) in therapy, crying helps in the processing of those feelings and thoughts by creating a calming environment through endorphins and activation of the parasympathetic. This supportive state allows us to welcome, sit with and make sense of the experience.