To Cry or not To Cry

| Posted on 9/29/2010 09:03:00 AM | Posted in

Sorrows which find no vent in tears may soon make other organs weep.  Sir Henry Maudsley

Hans Selye spent most of his life studying the effects of stress on our bodies and how our systems struggle to adapt to our ever-changing environment. He emphasizes that all stress is not harmful and distinguishes between eustress-- positive stimulation and challenge that help us achieve--and distress--harmful, unpleasant stress, often the result of too many or too abrupt changes, boredom, frustration, or lack of purpose.(Hans Selye, The Stress of Life (revised edition, New York:McGraw Hill, 1976),74 and passim.)
Since individuals react differently to the same stimuli, we must take heed from the Seven Sages who advised, "Know thyself." One person's distress may be someone else's eustress. In his books Selye writes that we must not avoid stress but instead use it creatively to motivate personal achievement and at the same time maintain a sense of inner balance.
Humans release stress in a variety of ways such as fighting, yelling, laughing, talking rapidly, exercising, and crying. In his book The Vital Balance, Dr. Karl Menninger writes, "Weeping is perhaps the most human and most universal of all relief measures.

It is thought by many that there is a relationship between the suppression of emotions, psychological health, and disease. It is also generally accepted that crying is one way to expressing and releasing emotion. "Tears are the safety valves of the heart when too much pressure is laid upon it," wrote Albert Richard Smith

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