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Tears streamed down my face before 9:30 a.m one challenging morning. Now, I consider myself a strong, self-reliant, and resilient person. Why did a proper sob make me feel weak and powerless?
After a messy yet beautiful 5-minute howl, I sat back in my chair feeling at ease. My analytical brain fired up and my mind wandered. Why do humans cry? What type of tears are there? What hormones are involved? Does crying have any health benefits?
Note: If you ever invite me to your circle I’ll bring the many curious questions. No jokes!
As Ruby Dee said it best,
“The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.“
But the most pressing question that jolted me: Why do we suppress our tears?
That’s when I turned to a trusted ol’ friend: My journal.
Let me tell you. A proper sob and brain dump are much like a computer after clearing the cache — the performance and processing speed remarkably improves. I poured my soul onto the pages of my journal, decluttered my thoughts, and used the extra space for a much-needed journey of inner exploration.
Before I tell you what I discovered, read my favourite benefits of journaling:
I believe mindfulness is much more than a buzzword. It brings you to a state of total awareness; your frustrations and anxieties lose their grip in the present moment. It leads you to actively engage with your emotions and thoughts.
Builds emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EQ) involves a set of social and emotional skills that collectively determine how well you perceive and express yourself. To achieve inner familiarity, you need a safe outlet for processing your emotions. Journaling holds that purpose and increases self-awareness. Being able to understand yourself and others fully ignites a deeper connection.
Prioritizing time for free-flow writing develops the habit of discipline. Much like anything, the more you practice, the more favourable the outcome. You will notice a change in your mindset as you express yourself freely without judgement.
As author, Amber Rae, wholeheartedly expressed,
“Your journal isn’t a place to be perfect. It’s a safe space to be exactly who you are.“
Your struggle might involve having the tools to be creative but not knowing how to let it flow. Can you relate? I have found that journaling sparks creativity within. It unveils thoughts and ideas you never knew you had and stretches your expressive muscles. I suggest one page of unrestrained writing in the morning. Let your creative juices flow.
Heals the soul
For me, the most powerful benefit of fluid writing is its ability to heal you— emotionally, physically, and psychologically.
Studies have shown that expressive writing “helps people overcome emotional inhibition.” According to Dr James W Pennebaker’s theory, those who had suppressed a traumatic memory might heal once they expressed their feelings.
Note: Journaling may open a can of worms in the beginning. You might uncover the worst about yourself. Keep going. You might also tap into the best about yourself. I invite you to embrace every part of your healing journey. If needed, couple your journaling practice with therapy or guidance.
I suggest joining Amber Rae’s 30-day journaling journey to help you navigate your emotions and stay aligned. You will receive a daily email with a reflection prompt or journaling exercise. All you need is a pen and paper.
This practice continues to bring me inner calm during turbulent times.
I hope it can help you too.
Now, to return to the much-needed journey of inner exploration.
Here’s what I discovered about human tears:
Being resilient means you adapt well in the face of adversity. Being self-reliant means you have the power to find solutions to a seemingly impossible situation. And being strong means you have the courage to face any challenge with confidence.
These are characteristics we all need to be rad humans, right?
But as it stands, being strong also means holding the weight of our emotions while releasing the heavy tears. Yes, it turns out crying is part of our human emotional package. According to psychologist Nikki Martinez, Psy.D:
“When you turn off the waterworks it heightens the emotion and makes it worse.“
All the more reason to embrace our natural human responses. Hold loving space for our emotions. Write it all down. And set forth on our sobfests to clear our vision.
Not only that, I found the below science-backed benefits of crying and it relieved me of my feelings of inadequacy.
They might do the same for you too.
A 2014 study shows that crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which helps you calm down.
Relieves pain and stress
Science confirms that in addition to the self-soothing effect, releasing emotional tears secretes oxytocin and endorphins. As a result, you’re overwhelmed with a sense of well-being.
Enhances your mood
Oxytocin and endorphins are known as the “feel-good” chemicals, which is why when you release the tears your mind feels clear and your spirit high.
As poet, John Vance Cheney wrote:
“The soul would have no rainbow
Had the eyes no tears.“