“Don’t be a cry baby!” or “If you’re going to cry, I’ll give you something to cry about!” were common phrases many of us heard growing up, this motivational speaker included. My folks were hard working, no-drama individuals who were tough on themselves, but also tough on us when it came to emotional outbursts. So, I learned early to suck it up and control my emotions, but it wasn’t long before my emotions were controlling me. Rather than allow those feelings a voice, I became an emotional eater, which eventually led to a 50 lb. weight gain.
What I had to learn is what research has since proven. Expressing, rather than avoiding, our emotions is how we stay healthy. Sure, talking out your feelings with someone you trust works wonders, but sometimes there is nothing better than having a really good cry. And I mean a REALLY good cry. The type that requires major nose-blowing, a box of Kleenex and leaves you with puffy, plump red eyes. Here’s why: Your body releases toxins along with those pent-up emotions.
Scientists have proven that tears you get while cutting onions are 98% water, but tears that are caused by emotions also contain toxins. We feel better after a good cry because those chemicals and hormones that get stored in our body when we stress come out along with those tears.
So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, experiencing sadness or in pain, let it go and let the tears flow.
Which is why when I parented my own two daughters, I encouraged expression of all their feelings, not just the positive ones. When they were truly hurting, I did my best to express empathy and compassion. But when overly dramatic or whiny, they were left with an audience of one – themselves in the confines of their bedroom. Express away, but I’m not participating. After all, I am my parent’s child.