I love a good cry. One of those heaving sobs that covers your face in snot and tears, gives you the red, swollen eyes, and leaves you feeling drained but somehow full. I was never a crier, not until I got older and started to appreciate the value of cathartic crying. I don’t ever tell my kids not to cry or to stop crying. I just assume that they need to get some shit out (I just prefer they get it out in the other room if it’s going to be a whole big thing). Turns out, letting the tears flow feels good for a reason! Crying is beneficial, for your mental and emotional health.

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Image: Giphy

Crying is beneficial for so many reasons. It’s a great way to release pent-up emotions, and it’s a sign of emotional health!

Psychiatrist Emily Steinberg, MD tells Bustle, “Crying can be a good way to release emotions on an individual level, often leading to a feeling of relief afterwards.” But more than that, crying can communicate your feelings and convey vulnerability. And let’s not forget: infants cry as a means of survival. Their lives literally depend on it!

Keeping your emotions inside can have dire effects on your mental and emotional health. Expressing your feelings is always the way to go, even if that means shedding a few tears.

But crying has gotten a really bad rap. If a woman cries, she’s too emotional or unstable or “hysterical”. If a man cries, he’s labeled as weak or a “sissy”. Dr. Steinberg says these societal labels can force us to hold back our tears, which is bad for all of us. In addition to showing vulnerability and being a cathartic release, crying is beneficial for other reasons, too.

Being comfortable with crying shows that you’re brave and not afraid to buck societal norms. It helps show OTHER people how to be comfortable expressing their emotions. And it’s actually healthy for you!

Dr. Steinberg says that crying releases stress hormones, so it’s a good boost for your immune system. Also, your tears contain actual pain relievers, relaxation aids, and hormones, which I didn’t know but am endlessly fascinated by. These things aren’t present in the normal moisture your eyes produce, so crying is the only way to reap the benefits.

So the next time you feel the tears start to well up, let them flow! Don’t keep emotions bottled up, it just does more harm than good.

(Image: iStock/Ljupco)