December 26, 2018
It’s counter-intuitive, but crying at least once a week may be the key to a happier life—free from tension headaches and agitation.
In fact, one Japanese academic claims that the most beneficial way to relieve stress is to shed some tears—either happy or sad— the UK’s Independent newspaper reports.
Since 2014, former high school teacher Hidefumi Yoshida, 43—who calls himself a “Namida sensei” (“tears teacher”)—has teamed up with Hideho Arita, a professor at the Faculty of Medicine at Toho University in Tokyo, to launch a series of lectures nationwide in Japan aimed at raising awareness of the benefits of crying.
Yoshida says that he came to recognize the benefits of a good cry after one of his former students stopped showing up for consultations after the pupil had opened up and shed tears.
Yoshida explains that listening to emotive music, watching sad films, and reading tragic books—and in the process shedding some tears— can offer huge benefits to your mental health by stimulating parasympathetic nerve activity, which slows the heart rate and can have a soothing effect on the mind.
And Yoshida isn’t the first person to tout the soothing effects of crying, the Independent notes.
In 1982, The New York Times reported on the study, entitled “Tear Expert” and conducted by Dr. William Frey—who claimed that crying releases endorphins, subsequently promoting feelings of happiness and well-being.
Frey—director of the Psychiatry Research Laboratories at St. Paul-Ramsey Medical Center in Minnesota and a self-appointed student of ”psychogenic lacrimation,” as he calls emotionally induced tears—believes that tears help to relieve stress by ridding the body of potentially harmful stress-induced chemicals.
Another study, conducted in 2008 by researchers at the University of South Florida and the University of Tilburg among a cohort of 3,000 people found that crying made people feel much better in difficult situations, leading the authors to suggest that inducing tears should be used as a cathartic form of therapy.
So get those tissues and hankies out and put them to use. A good cry may be just what the doctor ordered.
Research contact: @Oliviapetter1