4 Grown-Up Benefits of Crying When the Going Gets Tough

Crying closeup

Big girls don’t cry? Pffft, yeah right. The benefits of crying are totally worth it.

If there’s one thing I miss about being a kid, it’s the freedom to cry my ass off just because it’s Tuesday. In the middle of a store. With everyone watching but pretending not to. When I was in grade six, this total assface took my swing and made the mistake of saying, “Why don’t you go cry about it?” So I did. And not to brag, but I got my swing back.

Try to do either of these things as an adult, and you’d be fitted for a straightjacket. When you’re a grown woman, crying is serious business – like, mafia serious. The only times it seems kosher to shed some tears is when you’re blubbering over a chick flick or something awful happens (and that awful something has to meet society’s awfulness quota, otherwise you’re just supposed to suck it up and move on).

I mean, remember back in the day when Hilary Clinton got a little misty on the campaign trail and the world exploded? Some thought she was brave showing her vulnerable side, while others thought it meant she wasn’t “strong” enough to hold office. Come. On. Yeah, let’s throw one of the most amazing women on planet Earth under the bus because her chin quivered. RIP humanity.

Here’s the thing: It’s good to let it all out. Here are just some of the benefits of crying:

1. It’s a signal

Usually crying is a sign that you’ve been bottling up a lot of stress – you know, the whole “I’ll deal with it later” routine. Only you either never get around to it, or when you do you squeeze (and squeeze!) but no tears come out. Whether you know exactly what’s wrong or you’ve been letting things pile, it’s a good time to check in with yourself to figure out what’s been going on under the surface – and what you’re going to do about it.

2. It gets you talking

I once cried because an app on my tablet wouldn’t open (I wish I was joking). But underneath I was really crying about something completely different – the app just happened to be my breaking point – and I wouldn’t have discovered what my real problem was without talking to someone (in this case, mommy dearest). Use the benefits of crying as an alarm system and call all units to help you investigate. It’s quite the bonding experience!

3. It relieves stress

When you’re all verklempt and feeling about 5,000 emotions at the same time, one of the biggest benefits of crying is it’s like a release valve: It slows your breathing and has a calming effect. Of course, you always feel compelled to cry at the worst possible time, like in the middle of someone’s work presentation or at a rock concert (again, not joking). Make a promise you’ll deal with yourself later and you know, actually do it; just bust out the tissues and go to town.

4. It clears your body and mind

I can’t help but advocate opening the floodgates: It’s one of the most amazing ways to lighten yourself of any mental baggage you’ve been carting around. In my experience, it gives you the clean slate necessary to get a grip on your life again, decluttering you mentally and physically of frustration, anxiety and confusion. So, you know, you can go back to kicking ass.

Do you take the time to cry it out?

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Image: Axel Naud

Krissy Brady

Krissy Brady is a women’s health + lifestyle writer who’s so out of shape, it’s like she has the innards of an 80-year-old. Instead of learning how to crochet, she decided to turn her emotional baggage into a writing career (genius, no?). You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (you know, if you want).