3 Reasons to Have a Meltdown

Aug 30, 2011

Ah, stress. So much a part of our lives that it can be easy to just let it simmer in the background. If you’re anything like me, you check on it, monitor it, do some yoga and breathing exercises to keep it from boiling over. Every once in a while I even let a little leak out, but rarely cross over into the full-on-meltdown-boil-over stage. I’m sure this is mainly my own internalization of the feeling of needing to “keep it together” and keep life running smoothly.

The fact is, I should, and encourage you as well, to have the meltdown ugly cry the moment you feel it coming on. Here’s three simple reasons why.

1. Crying releases built up stress hormones.
When our bodies are under stress, we build up prolactin, which can result in lower libido. So crying away prolactin may result in more desire for sex. Tears also release Adrenocorticotropic hormone, which is a stress hormone associated with the production of cortisol and corticosteroids. Finally, tears also carry away enkephalin, which is a natural pain killer. By allowing yourself to sink into a good, productive cry you are effectively reducing your stress levels. Though the problem that triggered them will still be present, you will be in a better state to deal with the situation.

2. Crying increases endorphins.
The word endorphin comes from the two words endogenous and morphine, and they produce a natural high, or general good feeling in the body. Elevating endorphins helps to reduce stress. This is like a two-for-one benefit of a good cry, you are releasing the stress hormones and elevating feel good hormones, which in turn reduce stress. Though crying is not the only way to produce endorphins, it is a productive, healthy and natural way to do so.

3. Crying induces empathy.
Crying creates a strong empathy response in others, so avoid saving the meltdown for when you are alone. Hugs, pats on the back, and tissues are offered when we cry. Accepting a hug allows the stress hormone cortisol to lower, which in turn allows feel good hormones serotonin and dopamine to increase. Generally, a hug should be held for 6 seconds or longer to produced these effects. A good hug will help increase mental well being.

Crying is our bodies natural way to reduce stress and bring us back into a feeling of content and well being. Never feel ashamed to cry, it is a necessary elimination function to keep our stress levels lower. Give yourself permission to have a meltdown and notice how much better you feel afterward!

2 Responses »

  1. here here for meltdowns… I have a good two to three a month. With pain comes growth. I must be 150 years old by now!!!

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