What You Need Right Now Is a Good Cry
Plus, how to muster up the tears if you’re a little too used to bottling up emotions
Back in July, Brooklyn-based novelist Andrea Bartz started to notice hives on her back and hip.
She sought out medical help through telehealth appointments, but nothing seemed to alleviate the ailment.
“I was getting more and more stressed out [about the hives], even though I knew stress might be contributing to the hives, so it was a vicious cycle,” she says. Doctors she spoke with recommended prednisone, a common treatment for allergic reactions, but Bartz was concerned about the side effects of the corticosteroid.
Feeling frustrated, Bartz turned to Facebook to ask friends for advice. She tried coal tar soap, sunlight therapy, dandruff shampoo, and body wash along with other over-the-counter remedies. In early August, she felt an overwhelming need to cry, but couldn’t seem to muster up any tears. Shortly thereafter, Bartz made another telehealth appointment, this time with an intuitive healer who helped her connect the symptoms to a past trauma.
“Hearing that and being allowed to acknowledge these repressed emotions, I cried a lot while answering her questions, and she led me through a guided meditation, which I cried through, too,” Bartz shares. “I had another good cry that night in the shower, and I woke up the next day to zero hives. They haven’t come back since. It was wild.”
Strange as it may seem, the physical and psychological benefits of crying are vast. It can help calm your parasympathetic nervous system, which decreases your heart rate and increases digestion, creating a self-soothing effect. According to the Association for Psychological Science, crying can also help restore our emotional equilibrium by “regulating positive emotion.”
“Some research shows that crying can actually help us feel better, and may even relieve pain.”
“Crying can be an adaptive behavior we engage in to express emotion. Crying on occasion can have many positive functions — it helps us to relieve feelings of sadness or distress; it can also function as a means of expressing intense joy…