Crying is Nature's Detox

Published on November 12, 2021

The tears began to well up in Jade’s eyes.  “don’t cry, don’t cry,” she told herself.  She was tired, and her broken heart was incredibly raw.  As a child, she was taught that showing negative emotions was a sign of weakness. As a result, she always felt inadequate when she cried.  Just then, her phone beeped.  It was a text from her ex, asking if they could come and get their things back.  She could no longer hold back; she sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Finally, when she finished crying, she felt lighter and was able to comfort herself. That night she slept better than she had since the break-up.

Crying is a healthy way for your body to detox from stress.  Different tears from different emotions have other chemical compounds than tears we have from dust or onions.  When we cry, our body releases feel-good hormones like oxytocin and can rid our body of stress hormones.  Oxytocin is the bonding hormone that connects us.

We were born to cry.  Babies cry to get their needs met, and as adults crying signals that we need care. Crying makes us feel vulnerable, enabling trust and compassion in others if the emotion is sincere.  Sometimes, we try to avoid the feeling of vulnerability because it can make us feel small.  However, vulnerability is a pathway to intimacy that strengthens our relationships.  The being said, if you find yourself crying excessively, you might be suffering from depression.

If you struggle to let go and cry, be curious how else you can let go of that stress and tension.  Where are you holding that stress and pressure in your body? Unreleased stress can lead to physical symptoms such as inflammation, body soreness, reduced immunity and poor sleep.

If you are judging yourself for crying, here are some things to consider:

  1. Compassion for self and others: What would you say to someone you loved if you saw them crying?  Would you comfort them or criticise them?
  2. What does feeling vulnerable remind you of?  Does the vulnerability remind you of past abuse or trauma?  Does vulnerability make you feel powerless?  Vulnerability can feel intimidating but can also allow us to let others in.
  3. Letting go: What thoughts, emotions and beliefs that you are carrying no longer serve you?  If the tears want to come, let them flow.  You can also imagine what you want to let go of and release them through a long exhale.  Letting go also means dropping whatever judgement you might have towards yourself and others.
  4. Emotions are not weak:  Emotions give us information about our environment.  Fear lets us know if we are safe or in danger.  Anger can also signal to us that someone has crossed a boundary.  Sadness allows us to take a timeout to reflect and connect.  Guilt warns us that we have broken a social norm.
  5. Do our emotions fit the situation?  Our feelings might signal to us that we need to seek help. For example, it is time to seek help if our guilt has turned into shame, if our fear has turned into anxiety, and our sadness has turned into depression.


If you feel like you need to talk to someone, then please do contact me to set up an online session via email or call The MindNLife Clinic at +852 2521 4668

Category(s):Abuse / Abuse Survivor Issues, Anxiety, Complex PTSD, Emotional Intelligence, Grief, Loss, Bereavement, Mental Health in Asia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Trauma / Complex PTSD, Self-Care / Self Compassion

Written by:

Dr Monica Borschel

Registered Clinical Psychologist (HK)

Dr. Borschel specializes in Attachment, trauma and Loss. She is experienced in helping adults, teens, children, and families adjust to anxiety, trauma, abuse, divorce, separation, loss of a loved one, and loss of finance. This may include deciding what is in the best interest of the children during custody disputes, strengthening the relationship and communication between the parents and the children.

From Nov 2020 Dr. Borschel is only available for online consultations.

Dr. Borschel’s attachment-based therapy along with EMDR and Brainspotting enables her clients to find healing within themselves. In so doing, she can help her clients to overcome anxiety, trauma, neglect, emotional, verbal, physical abuse, and child abuse.

Furthermore, as an attachment specialist, she also helps individuals understand relationship patterns which prevent them from developing or maintaining healthy relationships. She is able to help reduce anxiety, insomnia, depression and promote confidence and self-esteem.

Dr. Borschel is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. She graduated with her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in New York City. She later moved to Hong Kong to pursue her doctorate at the University of Hong Kong in Social Work and Social Administration.

Registered Clinical Psychologist with The Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology (HKSCP). Member of the American Psychological Association (APA), The British Psychological Society (BPS), and the Hong Kong Family Law Association (HKFLA).

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