Today’s blog is about crying – how having a good cry can be restorative and relieving. It’s not a new concept obviously, but it’s something that I have employed recently in place of my usual ‘get even busier and do even more exercise’ coping method. It feels cleansing, a way to release pent-up emotions so they don’t lodge in the body as stress symptoms such as fatigue or pain. Tears are your body’s release valve for stress, sadness, grief, anxiety, and frustration.
It’s not just about emotional benefits either: tears are salt water and they lubricate your eyes, remove irritants, reduce stress hormones, and they contain antibodies that fight pathogenic microbes.
Our bodies produce three kinds of tears: reflex, continuous, and emotional. Each kind has different healing roles. For instance, reflex tears allow your eyes to clear out noxious particles when they’re irritated by smoke or exhaust. The second kind, continuous tears, are produced regularly to keep our eyes lubricated: these contain a chemical called lysozyme which functions as an anti-bacterial and protects our eyes from infection. Tears also travel to the nose through the tear duct to keep the nose moist and bacteria free. Typically, after crying, our breathing, and heart rate decrease, and we enter into a calmer biological and emotional state.
Emotional tears have special health benefits. Biochemist and ‘tear expert’ Dr. William Frey at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis discovered that reflex tears are 98% water, whereas emotional tears also contain stress hormones which get excreted from the body through crying. After studying the composition of tears, Dr. Frey found that emotional tears shed these hormones and other toxins which accumulate during stress. Additional studies also indicate that crying stimulates the production of endorphins, our body’s natural pain killer and ‘feel-good’ hormones. Interestingly, humans are the only creatures known to shed emotional tears, though it’s possible that that elephants and gorillas do too. Other mammals and also salt-water crocodiles produce reflex tears which are protective and lubricating.
Crying actually helps us feel better, even when a problem persists.
As the clocks go back this weekend, no doubt there will be loads of comments about how dark it is! So, this week’s blog is about light.
When someone lightens up your life just by their presence, it’s a wonderful feeling to bask in that light. When someone is a bit of a downer, there is usually some hidden inner baggage which contains sadness and darkness. Which do you bring to the party? A little light or a little dark? A lot of optimism or a little pessimism?
Before the days of flicking a switch to light up a whole town or village, one candle had to be lit by another. If you are aware that you are holding some darkness, it might be useful to spend time with someone whose light is already lit, and stays lit in most situations. Eventually, we may learn the art ourselves, and then act as a candle to others.
Some very sensible advice that I need to take for myself here:
It has been seven years since I taught my first exercise class, so I’m having a celebration this week to mark the fact that I have now taught well over 1,000 classes, not to mention the training courses and workshops that I’ve run, and the countless freelance days I’ve enjoyed. I’ve been thinking about why I love running my own business and have come up with my top seven reasons: the WWWWWHIs.
I get to decide:
For someone who craves independence and doing things my own way, this is a perfect method of working. It means I can focus on my well-being first, which is pretty important considering the field in which I work.
So, if you fancy celebrating with me this week, join one of my classes, where there will be post-exercise snacks to enjoy!
Just a final word of thanks to everyone who has attended my classes, courses and workshops over the years. Without your presence, Clean Well-Being would be entirely lacking. Thank you!
Do you ever long for the days when your life wasn’t influenced by apps, phones and laptops? If so, consider taking a manual day, a dedicated, hands-on day. This is where things are created for real, not just joined-up electrons. Try putting up a shelf finally (of course you might not be good at it, but that’s not the point). Practice doesn’t make perfect; it simply makes better. Bread and soup made, casserole in the oven, the home/garden prepped for autumn. Art or craft project started or finished. Some DIY completed. Being outside in ‘real’ weather with appropriate clothing.
We are a finely-tuned mind-body creature; and when mind and body are in synch, they produce magic. Make it a mind-body manual day today!
Hi, I'm Joanna from Clean Well-Being.
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