I am a shower cryer. I only cry when I am extremely pissed or super stressed out, so I jump in the shower and bawl my pretty little heart out. I have a good old “shower cry” probably once a month, and the steaming water and private space allow me to just sit on the shower floor and scream and bawl until I am sputtering and exhausted. But I tell ya what, I feel a helluva lot better afterward, and can finally manage to put my life and stresses (and murderous feelings of rage) into perspective without causing stress on other people. Believe it or not, a good cry now and then is actually healthy for you, and here’s why:
This is an excerpt from the December issue of Current Directions of Physiological Science, in which Psychologists studied 3,000 crying patients, and found that “The physical effects of crying do indeed show that once crying stops, the body moves from a state of high arousal to one more associated with relaxation. Breathing and heart rate slows, sweating decreases and the period of the relaxed state tends to last longer than the time spent crying. For some people, they actually remember the positive side of crying more than the crying itself, so the reinforcing effects that follow a bout of crying could account for this.”
Crying is a great way to just get out negative emotions, and based on my personal experience it’s the best way to fight a panic attack as well. Bursting into tears releases a lot of anxiety and stress from my body, and leaves me feeling drained yet calm and able. I am then able to let go of things that were bothering me, or go about my daily business without being unable to unscramble my many emotions and fears. Crying for me is often the only way I can get things done when I am so overwhelmed it’s all I can do to breathe in and out, and off I go for my “shower cry,” from which I emerge feeling much more renewed.
The study went on to state that people with psychological, depression, or anxiety disorders happened to feel worse after crying, so I would assume it varies from individual to individual. Since I am a very anxious and nervous person by nature, letting go of trying to be in control all the time and just bawling with abandon actually makes me feel better and more focused, but maybe that’s just me. All I can say is, I feel relaxed and “free” after crying when I really need to, and it’s the only thing that works when I am truly just a basket case, and studies apparently support this.