Unless you let it move, sadness–acute or chronic–can clog you up, putting perpetual tension into your eyes, heart, stomach, and lungs. Crying is not the only way to release sadness, but it’s a darn good one. Find out from a biochemist why crying is so helpful, and get some hints about it here:
Research conducted by Dr. William Frey, biochemist and tear expert, showed that emotional tears differ chemically from tears cause by cutting onions, indicating that crying releases specific toxins. Even Aristotle theorized that a good cry “cleanses the mind.”
How do you make yourself cry? You can sneeze when your nose tickles, cough when water goes down the wrong pipe, yawn when you’re sleepy, bang pillows when you’re angry, and release sexual energy when you’re aroused. But letting tears flow involves opening yourself to the feelings from within.
Start by giving yourself some uninterrupted time, probably alone, since crying near others might keep you from focusing on your own experience. Watch a stirring movie, listen to ballads of longing, or read a heart-rending book. (Kids’ books like Charlotte’s Web can be poignant and fast reads.) All of these can give you permission to release your sadness.
When your eyes start to water or your heart feels tingly, focus on your physical sensations. Let your thoughts–ranging from everything will be okay to it’s so awful–be in the background, not dictate your feelings. Don’t rush the process. Let the tears flow. Big girls–and boys–do cry.