Crying: Cathartic or Debbie Downer?!

Crying-the act of crying, feeling sad, despondent, depressed, melancholy, sentimental, nostalgic, reminiscent.  We cry for so many reasons, but for me, it’s usually sadness or an event that provokes this emotional outpouring.

I have always been a crier!  In my twenties, I cried easily.  Sad movies made me cry.  I cried rivers when I saw “Love Story”, ‘Terms of Endearment”, (multiple tissues required!) Sophie’s Choice.  I don’t know how or why, but I hardened my emotions as I aged into my 30’s  and crying didn’t come to me as easily. I have always felt it cathartic to cry, a cleansing of the soul and body, a purge and surge at the same time.  It made me feel wrung out and ready to move forward.  I had no idea that my dear friend Barclay saw it differently until we began to discuss it.

WebMD actually tells us that crying can be good for you.  ‘Crying activates the body in a healthy way”, says Stephen Sideroff, , Ph.D, a clinical psychologist at UCLA and director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Ethics. ‘

adult alone black and white blur
Photo by Kat Jayne on

Letting down one’s guard and one’s defenses and (crying) is a very positive healthy thing.  The same thing happens when you watch a movie and it touches you and you cry… That process of opening into yourself…it’s like a lock and key.”

In Japan they actually have something called a crying club.  I kid you not!  The term “rui-katsu” means “tear-seeking.’  In Tokyo, adult men and women watch sad videos and listen to depressing music resulting in communal bawling.  Japan has brought us many strange concepts (think Lolita fashion!) so why not crying clubs?!  Instead of being sad alone in your 600 floor Manhattan apartment, go to a club and cry in good company! for more details.

Bottom line is we all feel things differently.  Crying can indeed be cathartic or it can be downright depressing and make one feel much worse.  Wallowing in self pity is an expression that aptly fits this state of mind.  Whatever it does for you or doesn’t, go with it.  Let it come naturally.  Be glad you can cry and express emotion.  There are many people that can’t.  Studies actually show that often when one is severely depressed tears do not come, even though you might want them to. This can be melancholic depression and can be extremely serious. A person who is in this state feels nothing, though they are sad.  Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote a poem that describes this state and likened people suffering from this type of depression to marble statues. Depression is weird like that.

So, as not to make this post too terribly morose, Spring is in the air, both here in Mexico and finally, home in upstate New York. Get out, breathe the fresh air, look at the beauty of the flowers budding, and if you feel the sensation to cry, you can always blame it on allergies!!

Today’s Takeaway:

.Let your emotions hang out, whatever they are.  It’s okay! Crying can be a good thing.  It might actually make us live longer!

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay & Joy


adult black and white darkness face
Photo by Juan Pablo Arenas on

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