By Jenny Everett, SELF magazine
If there's a proponent of crying in this world, it's Judith Orloff, MD, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and author of Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life.
"It's a beautiful thing. It's a sign of strength and authenticity, not a sign of weakness," says Orloff, who has not only studied the emotional impact of a good sob session, but also the physical health benefits. "It's a natural healing function."
Bonus: Beat the heat with one of these no-cook meals tonight.
Healthy SELF caught up with Orloff for a crash course in crying:
What are some of the health benefits of tears? Tears are the body's natural way of processing stress. It's a natural relief valve. Physically, they're like the ocean -- they're salt water, which helps lubricate the eyes and flush out stress hormones and other toxins. We've seen in studies that crying also causes us to produce endorphins, the feel-good hormone.
What are some situations where a good cry is especially healthy? Grief and loss. If you lose a loved one or break up with a boyfriend, crying is the only way to process that grief. It's proven that if people don't cry in these situations it can lead to depression.
How do you know if you're in need of a good cry? You need to identify the top five causes of stress and frustration in your life. Write them down. You have to pinpoint your emotions to an event so you can see the trigger as opposed to going numb. Once you have this realization, you're more likely to be able to process the emotions.
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You can't MAKE yourself cry? What's a non-crier to do? I hear this a lot: "But I can't cry, I just never cry, etc." People with an emotional block for crying need to train themselves. Start with happy tears. Go to a funny movie or think about something that makes you laugh. Once you get in the habit of crying happy tears, it will be easier for you to cry traumatic tears.
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Photo Credit: Condé Nast Digital Studio