Being mindful equips us to notice the inconspicuous aspects of our lives, which most of the time hardly require conscious effort to act or perform-taken for granted-on auto pilot-aspects of our lives. Recently, while practicing meditative mindfulness, I chose to give focus to crucial as well as a vital function of our body-Emotional Tears.
Have you ever cried in isolation? Tears falling from our eyes are sometimes seen as weakness. Due to such notion, many of us try our best not to let our tears fall. Tears rolling down from our eyes can be noticed in both emotional state-happiness as well as sadness. Charles Darwin, in his seminal work, The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals, not only connected emotional tears to suffering but also to tender feelings. Tears are the mirror of our emotional state. It simply connotates with excess. When our emotions reach an uncontrollable level, it flows through our eyes in the form of tears. The same tear takes various forms to express our ever-changing emotions-tear of joy, tear of sadness. We feel relieved once we let a tear fall. As if our emotional burden is taken off, not permanently, but, at least, for a short period.
I perceive it as a medium of emotional outburst. Tears are not merely tears- tears hold a clue to our mental well-being too. Sometimes tear flows due to immense joy-feeling of happiness. Sometimes same tears are triggered to express sadness and grief .There are moments when we are on the verge of tears flowing from our eyes, yet, somehow we manage to control it. Even while watching a movie, the emotional state gets expressed through tears. It just starts flowing without notice, leading to our embarrassment in front of others while watching a movie or series. Few of us control or hide our tears in a better way than others.
Why the catharsis process is considered crucial? Catharsis helps us flush out all the unwanted intrusive thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Insight into our conflicts can be procured, only in the state of de-cluttering of the mind. Research has supported two possible functions of adult crying 1) Catharsis and emotional recovery(an intra-individual function) and 2)Signaling one’s need for support, bringing attention towards the crier(an inter-individual function). The mind requires de-cluttering to help us look within, to start afresh. Classic Scholars even discussed questions like- where tears originate (the heart or the brain?), why crying brings relief? Tears play a similar role by helping us flush out the excess of build-in emotions. Balance is key to a healthy and positive mental state, furthermore, to deal with such overabundance of emotions, we have tears to our rescue. That is the reason it is advisable to cry, to grief when it is required.
When we hold on to something in our heart, instead of letting it out in some way(by crying, by talking, or by writing a journal), we are inviting problems-psychosomatic complaints increases. Studies indicate the link between heart disease and distressed personality. People who prefer not to flush out their emotions tend to have more chances to develop such psychosomatic issues. Few studies mentioned a term, Cardioprotective Personality Traits, such traits are seen as a shield – optimism, conscientiousness, openness, and curiosity. Charles Darwin’s declaration that emotional tears are purposeless was challenged. But emotional crying indeed remains one of the most confounding mysteries. Humans are the only creatures whose tears can be triggered by their feelings.
Message to hold on to-
Don’t hold tears, Let it flow Let it flow To feel unburdened, To feel relieved, To feel alive, again It never discriminates if you are a man or woman, So let it flow Allow yourself to remember, yet again Whatever it might be Whoever you might be You are still a human And humans do cry. Pallavi Psychologist pausementalwellnessstudio.com