The Benefits of Crying

I can see lately why April is the cruelest month—it’s been consistently grey and chilly here in Chicago, refusing to be spring; I’ve been isolated and stressed because of my finals; and maybe because of that and for other reasons I’ve found myself feeling a lot of strong emotions and having a lot of traumatic memories. Yes, it’s always good to re-direct your thoughts. But is it good sometimes to just experience them–let them wash over you, and let yourself cry? I’ve heard some therapists say so.

“Tears Teacher” was a short film that I think was a bit of a sleeper in the fest a couple of years ago, about the tears teacher Hidefumi Yoshida and the Japanese art of “crying therapy.” He helps people break down societal stigma about crying, get in touch with their tears, and truly grieve for painful experiences—as a sort of catharsis and release.

I’ve heard people say there’s no good in crying and moping around, but I figure there must be some biological point to crying. Some have theorized it used to be a way of asking for help. But what about crying alone? I feel sometimes you just need to let it out—at least if you’re as moody as me. I wish I could say I always feel better when I did, but I definitely do sometimes, and sometimes I honestly can’t help it.

There surely is a point where you can wallow in self-pity and sometimes I do tow the line there. I know Yoshida focused on time periods and as silly as it sounds for something that is supposed to be an unrestrained emotional act, timing crying isn’t a bad idea–much like meditation and other forms of therapy. It’s easy to get lost in crying.

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