A Wholesome Sob is a Natural Human Response

Tears streamed down my face before 9:30 a.m one challenging morning.

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Now, I consider myself a strong, self-reliant, and resilient person. Why did crying make me feel weak and powerless?

After a messy yet beautiful 5-minute howl, I sat back in my chair, feeling at ease. My analytical brain fired up, and my mind wandered. Why do humans cry? What type of tears are there? What hormones are involved? Does crying have any health benefits?

Note: If you ever invite me to your circle, I will bring the many curious questions. No jokes!

As Ruby Dee said it best:

The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.

But the most pressing question that jolted me: Why do we suppress our tears?

That is when I turned to a trusted friend: My journal.

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Let me tell you. A wholesome sob and brain dump are much like a computer after clearing the cache — the performance and processing speed remarkably improves. I poured my soul onto the pages of my journal, decluttered my thoughts, and used the extra space for a much-needed journey of inner exploration.

Before I tell you what I discovered, read my favourite benefits of journaling:

Evokes mindfulness

I believe mindfulness is much more than a buzzword. It brings you to a state of total awareness; your frustrations and anxieties lose their grip in the present moment. It leads you to actively engage with your emotions and thoughts.

Builds emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) involves a set of social and emotional skills that collectively determine how well you perceive and express yourself. To achieve inner familiarity, you need a safe outlet for processing your emotions. Journaling holds that purpose and increases self-awareness. Being able to understand yourself and others fully ignites a deeper connection.

Improves self-discipline

Prioritizing time for free-flow writing develops the habit of discipline. Much like anything, the more you practice, the more favourable the outcome. You will notice a change in your mindset as you express yourself freely without judgement. As the author, Amber Rae, wholeheartedly expressed:

Your journal isn’t a place to be perfect. It’s a safe space to be exactly who you are.

Ignites creativity

Your struggle might involve having the tools to be creative but not knowing how to let it flow. Can you relate? I have found that journaling sparks creativity within. It unveils thoughts and ideas you never knew you had and stretches your expressive muscles. I suggest one page of unconstrained writing in the morning. Let your creative juices flow.

Heals the soul

For me, the most powerful benefit of fluid writing is its ability to heal you — emotionally, physically, and psychologically. Studies have shown that expressive writing helps people overcome emotional inhibition. According to the theory of Dr James W Pennebaker, those who had suppressed a traumatic memory might heal once they expressed their feelings.

Note: Journaling may open a can of worms in the beginning. You might uncover the worst about yourself. Keep going. You might also tap into the best about yourself. I invite you to embrace every part of your healing journey. If needed, couple your journaling practice with therapy or guidance.

I suggest joining Amber Rae’s 30-day journaling journey to help you navigate your emotions and stay aligned. You will receive a daily email with a reflection prompt or journaling exercise. All you need is a pen and paper.

This practice continues to bring me inner calm during turbulent times.

I hope it can help you too.

Now, to return to the much-needed journey of inner exploration.

Here is what I discovered about human tears:

Being resilient implies you adapt well in the face of adversity. Being self-reliant implies you have the power to find solutions to a seemingly impossible situation. And being strong-minded means you dare to face any challenge with confidence.

These are characteristics we all need to be rad humans, right?

But as it stands, being tenacious also means holding the weight of our emotions while releasing the heavy tears. Yes, it turns out crying is part of our human emotional package. According to psychologist Nikki Martinez, Psy.D:

When you turn off the waterworks, it heightens the emotion and makes it worse.

All the more reason to embrace our natural human responses. Hold loving space for our emotions. Write it all down. And set forth on our sobfests to clear our vision.

Not only that, I found the below science-backed benefits of crying, and it relieved me of my feelings of inadequacy.

They might do the same for you too.

Reduces distress

A 2014 study shows that crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which helps you calm down.

Relieves pain and stress

Science confirms that in addition to the self-soothing effect, releasing emotional tears secretes oxytocin and endorphins. As a result, you are overwhelmed with a sense of well-being.

Enhances your mood

Oxytocin and endorphins are known as the feel-good chemicals, which is why when you release tears, your mind feels clear and your spirit high.

As the poet John Vance Cheney wrote:

The soul would have no rainbow. Had the eyes no tears.