crying out

Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2013

How do you cry?  Is the Kleenex box empty and the trashcan full?  Do you put your whole body into your sobs?  Is your face painted with streaks of black?  Whether gut-wrenching sobs or trickles of tiny tears, when you cry you transform; literally your body changes.  “When you’re upset and stressed, you have an imbalance and build up of chemicals in the body and crying helps to reduce that,” says Dr. Abigael San, a chartered clinical psychologist.  How often do you try to bottle up our stress?  Can you feel your body yearning to release some of this imbalance?

According to a study referenced in article “The health benefits of crying” a good cry “can help to wash chemicals linked to stress out of our body.”  You physically feel better and lighter after tears fall from your eyes, but you also shift emotionally.  “Physically, they are thought to wash toxic chemicals out of our bodies, while psychologically giving your feelings a good airing is thought to be a healthy tonic.”  But there is another kind of crying and that’s crying out to others – a plea for help.  Calling out to the universe, “Help!”
I’d been struggling with a work project and thought it would just pass.  However, as I turned the pages of my daily calendar, my challenge continued to follow me.  I tried to convince myself of different ways of working through my project, but deep down I knew I yearned for help.  I finally pushed aside my pride and ‘cried’ out to a colleague.  Rather than judgment (which I feared) she offered a perspective that was open, honest, loving and kind, creative, encouraging, welcoming and realistic.


 When we cry out, we create an opportunity for someone to help.  We allow someone to give; something we all know can feel heroic.  When we receive, we are replenished, made a little more whole.  When we allow others to give to us, we allow them to be filled with the joy of giving.  When we withhold our pleas to the universe, we are pausing the natural flow around us.  Someone, something out there is waiting for our call.


While I’d thought I had sorted through all the possible ways of tackling my project, I was surprised and grateful to hear new, fresh and unexpected ways to look at my situation.  And the most encouraging feedback was that I was told I wasn’t stuck.  I was heartened and reminded that I could keep working on my particular project or I could stop it and start again when I felt ready.  So often we feel that we must go on, that all around us will crumble, but if we dare to take a closer look at ourselves, we come to an appreciation that we have created this struggle in our minds.  We really can pause, walk away or stay close to anything we choose.


There’s another way to cry out – with our bodies.  In my restorative yoga class – a class consisting of towels, pillows, bolsters and other supportive props to meant to encourage full mental, physical and emotional relaxation through passive yoga poses – my teacher instructed us to lie on our bellies with our heads gently supported with a towel.  We placed our arms overhead as directed and rested them on the floor.  In each breath, we allowed the weight of our bodies to sink into the earth, letting go a little more each time of the tension we were holding.  My teacher called for us each to let go of all that are holding onto and allow our Mother Earth to hold us.  We were essentially crying out to the grand Mother of our world.


 Each time we let go a little more, we were actually calling out, ‘hold me.’  Each time we sunk into the ground, we accepted her embrace, we allowed this powerful receiving of all that inhibited us.


While an email or a call to a friend, or falling into the earth may or may not always involve tears, they are cries for help, cries to save parts of us that are squelched – and if tears come out in any type of cry, it’s nice to remember, it does a body so, so good.



feature image provided by Sergio Cruz



  1. YES. Crying is so often seen as something to avoid at all costs, especially when it’s another person doing it — the “There, there, don’t cry,” in all its forms. Thank you for reminding me that crying exists for a good reason.

    • Hi Aralena,

      You are right in that “There, there, don’t cry” is often an automatic response. We often tell this to ourselves and to our children, when it might be best we take the time to stop and think about why we are telling ourselves or others not to cry. Thanks for reading along and exploring all the forms of crying out. Cheers to crying! :)

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