My boss glanced at the space on my shirt where I had failed to replace a fallen button. Appearance was just another casualty of my broken heart. I tried to redirect his attention with questions about the upcoming sales meeting, but then it happened. Without forewarning, the waterworks began. That’s right – I was at work, in my boss’ office when I started bawling like a little girl.
I extended my left arm awkwardly for some tissue and happened to knock over a pile of documents tagged with a post-it that literally read: “Important Docs”. The tears fell harder. I finally ended up on one knee trying to scrape the papers off the ground along with what little was left of my dignity.
I looked up thru the tears and squeaked, “I’m so sorry. I’ll pull it together.”
Not breaking his look of awe through the entire scene, I truly expected he would fire me. Instead, my boss offered one of the most critical lessons I have learned on the road to recovery. He said, “Do me a favor, Amelie – don’t pull it together. In fact, go ahead and blubber it all out.”
So, I say to all of you – Blubber it all out!
Do not apologize for your tears and do not be afraid of your tears as they are protecting you and releasing your pain. Unfortunately, there is a social stigma associated with crying that makes it difficult to tear up without fearing up. Internal conflict about the actual act of crying hinders the release process. So, forget why you think you shouldn’t cry and just let it flow freely. I don’t really recommend the office breakdown, but when you are at home or in the comfort of friends and family, just cry. Or if you do happen to be in public, find a private space and let it out. Feel the pain. Feel better.
Still need some convincing?
Here are 7 benefits of Crying after a Heartbreak:
1) Sad tears are totally different than Stuff-stuck-in-your-eye tears: As far back as 1957, it was revealed that tears caused by emotion are chemically different than tears caused an eye irritant. In fact, the components of tears are far more complex than we would imagine. One psychological study had some volunteers watch a sad movie and later cut onions while collecting their tears during both activities. They found that the chemical make-up of the two sets of tears were vastly different. Sad tears include stress hormones and various toxins!
2) Release the toxins: Research indicates that there is a significant increase in the type and number of stress hormones produced in our bodies prior to crying. If you don’t actually cry, these toxins remain in you body. Biomedical studies explain that stress hormones negatively affect almost every system in the body including the cardiovascular, gi, musculoskeletal, and immune systems. It’s pretty evident that crying the primary method for the body to eliminate these harmful stress hormones and protect you adverse effects. So do it!
3) Mood Benefits: After analyzing over 3,000 reports of crying episodes, Jonathan Rotttenberg, USF Assistant professor of psychology, reports in a paper in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology that “the majority of participants reported mood benefits after crying.” Most of us know this to be true: you feel better after a good cry!
4) Calming effects: Crying has calming effects such as the slowing of breath. It has been shown that during the cry, you may experience increased heart rate and sweating; however, the calming effects usually last longer than any unpleasant arousal. You’ll feel this calm after you cry which accounts for why people usually remember the pleasant side of crying.
5) Other good stuff: Emotional tears open up the lungs, exercise the eyes, and soften the temper. The release you feel is one of the mind, body, and soul.
6) Because Shakespeare said it helps: “To weep is to make less the depth of grief.”
7) You’ll look better! Alan Wolfelt, University of Colorado Medical School professor, works primarily with people who are mourning the passing of a loved one. Dr. Wolfelt states, “In my clinical experience with 1000s of mourners, I observe changes in physical appearance after the expression of tears. Not only do people feel better after crying, but they also look better.”
Check out our follow up article on The Secret of Crying. Let us know what you think by commenting below. Peace & Love, Amelie & Al.