Well-Being with Whitney: Detox Your Emotions by Crying

Just like a refreshing shower washes dirt off your body, a good cry cleanses you of negative emotions stored deep inside you. A great way to detox feelings such as anxiety, sadness, frustration, loneliness, anger, and disappointment is simply to let yourself cry.

Research from St. Paul Ramsey Medical Center and the Primal Institute shows that the act of crying releases stress hormones, detoxifying the body from the effects of storing up negative emotions.

After my mom passed away, I didn’t allow myself to cry about it for several years! I was afraid that if I started crying, I wouldn’t be able to stop. I’d developed a bad habit of suppressing my feelings because of past criticism for being emotionally sensitive. I missed my mom terribly but held back my tears — because I knew that letting one tear trickle down would unleash a torrent of tears that could overwhelm me and others like a gushing waterfall.

So much time went by without me weeping, though, that eventually I felt guilty that I had never cried over my mom’s death. Crying certainly seemed like the right thing to do in that situation. Remaining stoic made it seem like I didn’t care about my mom, and that couldn’t have been farther from the truth.

One day, as I was driving home from an aerobics class at my gym — a route that takes me past my mom’s former apartment — a wave of grief rolled over me and I decided not to fight it. I just relaxed into the grief so I could feel it. Then I gave myself permission to express it by crying. Sure enough, after the first tear fell down my face, a torrent of other tears followed. After pulling into a nearby parking let, I sat in my car weeping for a long time.

Then a wonderful peace settled in my soul, and my body felt refreshed. Crying had cleansed me.

What do you need to cry about? A broken relationship with someone you love? A job loss? A frightening health condition? Whatever circumstances have led you to store negative emotions in your body, cry about them to release those feelings.

Who could you cry for to release compassion into a situation of suffering? Do you know someone going through a divorce, struggling with an addiction, stressed by the demands of caring for a loved one, or facing another type of painful challenge? Hurting people are all around you. Cry for them, and let your tears motivate you to help in ways that you can.

Crying is a powerful way to detox your emotions. When you let your tears out, you welcome healing in!

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2 Responses to “Well-Being with Whitney: Detox Your Emotions by Crying”

  1. Hi Jean – Glad you enjoyed the post! You’ve made a great point about a potential link between exercising and crying. I think that since they both can be effective ways of relieving stress, we may not need to cry as much if we’re exercising well.


  2. Jean Jeffers says:

    Hi Whitney, an interesting article. i used to be able to cry and did so daily. Now, I find, in my older years, that I cannot cry or find it difficult to do so and rarely find myself crying. I wish I could cry more easily; I too, find it a release.

    What have you found about such things as regular exercise and happiness and its relation to bouts of crying. Since I have been exercising the last seven or eight years, I don’t think I need to cry like I used to. I would still like to cry once in a while.

    Good article, Whitney. Thank you, Jean

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