It’s the cathartic effect of crying that will make you feel better, emotionally lighter and improve your state of mind
The last two years have been a roller coaster ride for everybody. From the pandemic to the daily struggles and fears of how unpredictable life can be for all. Certainly, the past few years have been more emotional than usual. It is normal if in this time you have found yourself weeping in front of the screen of your electronic device watching a sad or emotional film.
It is normal to feel sad and seek out films and shows that one can relate to – subjects that evoke your emotional side. Perhaps watching any kind of emotional scene on screen makes tears roll down your cheeks, there is no denying that the aftermath of crying makes one feel better. Especially when times get tough and life becomes unpredictable. After all, we are emotional beings who sometimes need to blow some steam off when things get out of control.
What is catharsis?
Catharsis is an emotional release of an unconscious conflict. Conflicts such as stressed relationships, past traumas, frustration and tension. Over time these emotions – stress, anxiety, fear, aggression and trauma can become intense. So much that one is not able to process more emotions and begins to feel overwhelmed. One may feel that they are going to explode emotionally if they don’t find a way to release this pent-up emotion.
There are various ways to release these pent-up emotions. Some tend to vent it out to their close friends, some get into physical activity that tests their endurance – such as high intensity workouts, running, hiking and dancing, while others watch emotional films or listen to sad songs…
Here’s how crying can be cathartic.
- Helps process emotions better
Watching something upsetting and emotional allows the viewer to process their own feelings. When a film gets you emotionally involved and begins to feel more realistic – the more you begin to enjoy watching it.
While there is so much chaos going on around – be it the pandemic or an emotional trauma that is out of control. Watching films and shows lets you feel more connected to your inner state of mind. It relaxes you and helps process your emotions better.
- There’s validation of feelings
Most people unknowingly decide to watch sad films when they are already going through a tough time, feeling upset, or just feeling gloomy. This happens because when you are already feeling low you are drawn to media that agrees with your internal state. Watching the actors experience a hard time and struggle in a way validates the inner thoughts and feelings.
A lot of people sometimes don’t realise how they are feeling under the surface and a film becomes a medium for such people to be vulnerable. Watching an emotional film validates how one feels and creates a safe environment to let out all the emotions.
- Promotes sense of wellbeing
When scenes on the screen strike the emotional chord and the viewer begins to cry, it activates the parasympathetic nervous system. As it activates the system it releases oxytocin, an endorphin – also known as the ‘feel-good hormone’. Oxytocin soothes and promotes wellness and that is why the moment you let the tears flow you begin to feel better.
Crying is one of the coping mechanisms that helps self-soothe. The endorphins released while crying makes one feel better emotionally as well as physically. It improves digestion as it helps your body to rest and relax.
- It rallies support
Many are conditioned to not cry, especially men, but one must never stop themselves from crying. In situations like these watching an emotional film can do wonders to your mind. It will help you set your emotions free.
In that moment, when you are crying and if you have people around you, they will provide comfort and support. This will help them open up about how they feel. It will improve relations and get everybody together. It is certainly a way of seeking solace when things don’t feel right.
- Restores emotional balance
The tears of joy! Crying doesn’t always have to mean you are feeling sad. If you have observed people cry out of anger, fear, joy and stress. This happens because crying helps restore emotional equilibrium. It is the way your body recovers from a strong emotion.
Have you watched a comedy film and laughed out all teary? When your cheeks begin to hurt – that moment your body is processing an extreme emotion. Hence crying is good for you.
- Dulls the emotional pain
Have you ever cried yourself to sleep? Or suddenly cried out of excruciating pain? Have you noticed that moment you start crying your pain begins to turn numb or slowly disappears? This happens because crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system that releases the endorphins. These endorphins calm your body and mind.
Similarly crying while you’re watching dulls the emotional pain. It helps you sleep better and take control of your emotions.
- Improves mood
Crying helps you feel lighter. The act of letting go of heavy emotions increases your inhalation – especially when you are sobbing you take quicker breaths. Breathing begins to regulate the oxygen flow and lowers the temperature of the brain. Which cools your mind making you feel better and emotionally stable.
- Cleanses your body
Emotional tears, reflex tears and continuous tears are three different types of tears. Emotional tears have several health benefits – self soothing, emotional balance, and improved mood. While reflex tears clear the debris and dust from the eyes – for instance tears while cutting onions are reflex tears. Continuous tears help protect eyes from infections and keep them lubricated – in case of an eye infection you must have observed your eyes become watery.
Emotional tears contain stress hormones and toxins whereas continuous tears are just water to keep your eyes clean. Hence crying helps detoxify your body through tears. It flushes hormones, infections and keeps your eyes protected in case one comes in contact with harmful substances.
Signs when crying becomes excessive
Crying is healthy. People cry when they are happy, or when they are sad or when something is going in their eye. But excessive crying is not a good sign. It is a sign that one needs medical attention. Especially, when crying begins to interfere with your daily routine. Chances are that you may be suffering from depression.
Here are symptoms of depression.
- Lack of energy
- Sleep deprivation
- Sleeping all the time
- Suicidal thoughts
- Feeling hopeless
- Irritable all the time
- Unexplained aches
Every individual can be triggered by emotions. It is good to cry out loud, let go of that feeling. Crying can make you feel better and has several health benefits. However, it is important that you don’t cry often as that could be a sign of trauma that you are unable to let go off. If you find yourself feeling sad most of the time and if crying is not helping you feel good then you must visit a medical expert. And if it’s pent-up emotional energy or if you are feeling overwhelmed then perhaps you should pick a film to watch. A film that will make you laugh till you cry.