The idea that “big boys” or “big girls” don’t cry is a belief that is very damaging. The fact is, being in touch with all of our emotions- even the sad ones- could be hugely beneficial to teenagers in particular because the act of crying sheds the hormones and toxins that accumulate during stress.
A study conducted by Dr. William Frey in the 1980’s revealed that emotional tears- which are a result of duress placed upon a person- contained stress hormones (cortisol) and toxins. Crying is a much healthier coping method than some of the others, such as taking drugs or self harming. “I feel that crying is a cathartic release that everyone needs to do once in a while,” said Mrs. Kasey Chittenden, a counsellor at Riverside Secondary School. The need to cry can be brought on by many different situations: graduation or a panic attack are both examples of positive and negative incentives for crying.
Anxiety is a very overwhelming issue- way more than people seem to realize. Balancing relationships, employment, and schoolwork are just some of the stressors that teenagers today face. With all of the expectations weighing young people down, who wouldn’t be majorly stressed? Some people (regardless of age) see watery eyes as a sign of weakness, but confronting and dealing with ones emotions requires a strength that is often misunderstood.
The stigma surrounding crying is high. For the male gender especially, tearing up is seen as a huge signal of vulnerability, with twice the stigma attached. Men are taught from a young age that crying is equivalent to making yourself a target for abuse. This viewpoint can be extremely emotionally crippling, and can lead to mental health problems later on in life.
Many people wonder how to stop themselves from crying. But, the reality is that you shouldn’t. Holding back tears forces you to focus energy on trying not to cry, unintentionally putting yourself under more stress in the process. The only way to prevent possible crying is to eliminate possible triggers. If you feel a need to cry for no obvious reason, only then it can be considered irrational. Your emotions through tears are how your body processes situations in order to feel better. So the next time you feel overwhelmed- have a good cry and you’ll like the benefits.
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