Wash Those Windows!

Via on Nov 15, 2011

Have you had a good cry lately?

A massage instructor of mine referred to crying as “washing the windows of your soul.” Sounds pretty accurate to me. It’s funny, though, the way Western cultures treat crying. It’s like masturbation:  “Hey, whoa! If you need to do that, that’s your business, but go do that in private!” It’s messy. We don’t like it when people get messy like that in public.

Crying isn’t necessarily about being depressed or falling apart, or anything negative at all. It’s a release of emotion. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people tell children not to cry. Sure, give them a hug, help them feel better. But for the love of Pete, stop telling kids not to cry! Do we really want to create a generation of people who don’t express their emotions? It’s OK to feel things. Don’t be so quick to slap a label on it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Photo: Shandi-lee)

I went for a run in the woods this morning. I was a little over halfway through when I felt something dripping onto  my neck. I looked up. No rain. Nothing dripping. I had been crying (probably for awhile) and didn’t even realize it. Ironically, I was listening to very happy music. But the body doesn’t lie. When it’s time for tears to come out, it’s time. And so I took a deep breath, turned off my iPod, bowed my body into balasana and cried until my knees were soaked and all the tears that needed to go were out.

It was a good thing. Crying is good for you–body and soul. When you cry:

* You help prevent a cold. Tears contain enzymes that have both antiviral and antibacterial properties. You are flushing out cold germs along with any emotional bacteria.
* You release endorphins. This is your body’s natural opiate. It’s what gives you that sensation of things being a bit better when you’re done crying.
* You lower your body’s levels of stress hormones like cortisol. This in turn lowers blood pressure and helps stabilize your body.
* You are releasing toxins–the physical kind and the emotional kind.

So how do you do it? If it’s been awhile and you aren’t used to letting it all out, how do you get there?

1. Massage – A deep tissue massage from a therapist you trust is a great way to facilitate a good cry. I have had people cry on my table; I always feel very honored that they are  comfortable enough have an emotional release. That said, this isn’t something you get at Massage Envy. Go to someone you’ve seen before (or someone highly recommended) let yourself be quiet during the massage, and let yourself cry if that’s what comes up for you.

2. Yoga -Of course!  Actually, yoga can help release tears, and then the release of tears will help deepen your practice. It’s a win-win. Many women (myself included) will have tears arrive at times in Pigeon pose or other deep hip openers. Want to see if there’s a good cry stuck in your throat? Try engaging Jalandhara Bandha. You can feel what’s stuck in your heart and voice that hasn’t been released yet and it feels…well, uncomfortable would be an understatement. After a good cry, once you’ve cleared the decks, it feels energizing and powerful.

3. Music. The specifics on this vary from person to person, but when in doubt:  Adele.

4. Be still. Meditate. Be quiet. Shut your thoughts off (and your iPhone, and your laptop, and your music, and your television) for at least ten minutes. See what’s going on in there.

5. Hug a good friend for a little longer than normal. If he or she has a cry stuck in there, it might help you both. If not, you have someone you love to help dry you off once you’re done.

 

So if you are overdue, and you know it, get your cry on. “It’s alright to cry, it might make you feel better!”

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About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is the strongest girl in the world. She is the love child of a pirate and a roller derby queen. She hails from the second star to the right. Her love of words is boundless, but she knows that many of life’s best moments are completely untranslatable. When she is not writing, you may find her practicing yoga, devouring a book, playing with her children, planting dandelions, or dancing barefoot with her heart on her sleeve. She is madly in love with life and does not know how this story ends; she’s making it up as she goes. Kate is the owner and editor-in-chief of Be You Media Group. She also writes for The Huffington Post, elephant journal, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, Yoganonymous, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds. She facilitates writing workshops and retreats throughout North America. Heart Medicine, Kate's book on writing, is now available on Amazon.com You can follow Kate on Facebook and Twitter

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29 Responses to “Wash Those Windows!”

  1. Oh wow, Kate! This is an awesome article. As a male who is VERY prone to crying on the entire emotional spectrum, I really appreciate what you wrote. You are very correct in your assertion that our society frowns upon crying. The masturbation reference was hysterical in its truth. Great article!

  2. Andrea Balt Andrea B. says:

    “Music. The specifics on this vary from person to person, but when in doubt: Adele.” Yep. Totally.

    :) LOL!

    As usual, I love anything from KB.

    I’m a very emotional creature as well and I can cry without meaning to or even realizing that I’m crying (in the street, at restaurants, at weddings, I just can’t keep it inside). So was my mother. My father, on the contrary, is one of those parents who would kick their children in the face for crying (or kind of).

    So every time he tells me to shut up because in his “clever” opinion, “big girls don’t cry”, I cry even harder. I also try to be wearing lots of mascara when that happens so he gets even more irritated and uncomfortable as my face turns into an abstract painting. And then I hug him and try to get it all over his shirt. And keep on crying.

    Seriously now, do you think our excessive emotion may be contributing to global warming?

  3. Lindsey Block Lindsey B. says:

    Does crying while cooking count? I love onions and basically cook with them every night and my eyes hate me for it…but maybe it's a good thing? Love this article, Kate!

  4. Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Love.

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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  5. Tanya Lee Markul Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Yoga homepage. xoxox

  6. Funny – I was just talking to a fellow yoga teacher about this yesterday. I've never had that cathartic experience in yoga class where I just started to cry. I know it will happen someday and I'll remember not to be afraid to do so. Loved the Adele reference – lol!

  7. [...] levels of stress hormones. It also helps in ways that science just doesn’t understand yet. (Crying helps too, in a different way, but for some of the same [...]

  8. irina says:

    Now I know why I feel better after the past 3-4 days … thanks!

  9. [...] the sensitive, romantic, poetic and creative you. That part of the soul that needs a massage even more frequently [...]

  10. Jessie says:

    I'll be honest, cause you are a close friend. I, sometimes, tell my kids to stop crying. I've never really thought about it this way. Thank you for a different perspective. I <3 you!

  11. Kindra Stencel says:

    I have to say that for the last couple of hours i have been hooked by the amazing posts on this site. Keep up the wonderful work.

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  15. I get pretty blotchy too…doesn't stop me though! Thanks for reading!

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