Welcome back, everyone! In times of stress, it’s easy to want to push all of your emotions to the side. We have all tried to bottle up our feelings throughout our lives, and even though we all know that this is not healthy or effective, we do it anyway. When everything is piling up around us and we don’t let our emotions out, we only become more miserable. Everyone needs to find catharsis in their day-to-day lives.
Catharsis is a purging of emotions. The goal in catharsis is to reach a relief from stress, anxiety, or other emotions we tend to push to the side. This idea is extremely old; back in Ancient Greece, they built many of their plays around this idea. The word itself means “cleansing” in Greek. Essentially, this is why so many plays, books, television shows, movies, and other various forms of art make us cry at the end. We seek out art to find catharsis.
So, when you strip away the aspect of art forms giving us a much-needed catharsis, what is it that is making us feel better? Crying. Crying has the amazing ability to improve our emotions! While we probably associate crying with being sad or weak — and therefore avoid it at all costs — there are actually many benefits to crying.
Crying has the ability to soothe you. Some studies have found that crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps your body to rest and digest. These effects are not immediate, however. It usually takes several minutes of crying before you begin to feel the soothing benefits, but it will feel worth it!
Additionally, crying can actually directly improve your mood. When you cry particularly hard, you quickly breathe in cool air. The colder air can help regulate and even lower the temperature of your brain, which your brain appreciates! So, after a harder cry, your mood could dramatically improve.
Crying can also help to restore your emotional equilibrium. We tend to cry at extreme emotions whether that be sadness, happiness, stress, fear, or any wide range of feelings. Many believe that when you cry in these states it is your body’s way of recovering from extreme emotion. Crying is one way to set your emotional equilibrium back on track!
The important thing to remember is that crying is not only natural, but it can also be very helpful! When we bottle up our emotions, we need a release through catharsis. One of the easiest ways to reach that relief is through crying. So, if you can make the time to watch a sad movie, listen to a sad song, or just try to get in touch with your emotions, give yourself that purging your body needs! Let your body release the feelings you try to push away because it just might turn your whole mood around. See everyone next week!