Many people might find themselves asking: “Why do I cry when I talk about my feelings?”
If you’re one of them, rest assured that this is a completely normal and common experience.
In this post, I will share the reasons why we cry when talking about feelings and provide some insights into the complexity of human emotions.
What Happens When We Cry?
Before we get into the why behind crying, it’s important to understand what happens in our bodies when we cry.
Tears are not just a physical response.
They are closely linked to our emotions and can be triggered by a variety of feelings, from joy to sadness, frustration to relief.
The Science Behind Tears
Tears are produced by the lacrimal glands located near the outer part of the upper eye.
When you experience strong emotions, your autonomic nervous system triggers these glands, leading to the production of tears.
While all tears contain water, oils, and mucus, emotional tears have higher levels of stress hormones like adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and leucine enkephalin, a natural painkiller, which perhaps indicates our body’s attempt to self-soothe during emotional times.
Why Do We Cry When Discussing Our Feelings?
Understanding our feelings and emotions can be a challenging and sometimes overwhelming process.
When we talk about our feelings, especially deep-seated or painful ones, it can trigger intense emotional reactions, including crying.
The Role of Vulnerability
As a therapist, I’ve observed that one of the most significant factors behind crying during emotional conversations is the experience of vulnerability.
Vulnerability is often associated with exposure, uncertainty, and risk.
When we open ourselves up to another person and reveal our true feelings, we essentially strip away the layers of self-protection we usually maintain in our daily lives.
Being vulnerable means sharing our innermost thoughts, feelings, and experiences that we may not typically disclose.
In doing so, we are opening ourselves up for potential pain and rejection, which can feel particularly raw and unsettling.
This vulnerability often triggers a deep emotional response – tears.
They act as a safety valve, releasing the emotional pressure that comes with this exposure.
From a therapeutic perspective, crying serves a crucial purpose: it provides a valuable emotional release.
In sessions, many clients initially resist expressing their feelings for fear of being overwhelmed.
This emotional resistance can lead to an accumulation of emotions, almost like a pressure cooker. If not released, these built-up emotions can manifest as stress, anxiety, or even physical health problems.
Crying is one of the most effective ways for people to release these pent-up emotions. It’s a physical manifestation of emotional relief, a way for the body to expel excess stress and sorrow.
When tears flow during a therapy session, it’s often a sign that the individual is releasing emotional tension and beginning to process their feelings in a healthier way.
Physiological Response to Stress
Lastly, it’s essential to recognize crying as a physiological response to stress.
When you talk about painful or challenging feelings, it can activate your body’s stress response, leading to increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, and the release of cortisol, a stress hormone.
During particularly emotional discussions, your body can self-soothe and restore emotional balance through crying.
This process stimulates the production of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes feelings of comfort and calm.
Therefore, when you cry in response to stress, your body is actively working to reduce your distress and help you regain emotional equilibrium.
In therapy, understanding these responses and the physiological reasons behind them can be empowering.
Normalize the experience and reduce any guilt or shame associated with crying because it is a natural and healthy response to emotional stress and a critical part of the emotional healing process.
Types of Emotional Responses and Their Triggers
Emotional responses can be categorized in various ways. Here’s a table illustrating the types of emotional responses and possible triggers:
|Joy||Achievements, positive changes, love|
|Sadness||Loss, disappointment, pain|
|Anger||Injustice, frustration, perceived threat|
|Fear||Threats, uncertainty, danger|
|Disgust||Unpleasant stimuli, moral transgressions|
|Surprise||Unexpected events, sudden changes|
In the end, crying when you talk about your feelings is a perfectly normal response. It is an innate, human reaction to emotion, stress, and vulnerability.
Understanding this can help to demystify the process and make it less daunting.
Remember, it’s okay to express your feelings, and it’s okay to cry.
If you find that your emotions are too overwhelming to handle, consider seeking professional help. Therapists are trained to help you navigate your emotions and provide support and tools for handling them.
Emotions are what make us human. They’re complex, sometimes messy, but they’re an integral part of our lives.
So, the next time you ask yourself, “Why do I cry when I talk about my feelings?”, remember: it’s your body’s natural way of expressing and dealing with emotions.