Men are known for hiding their emotions. A bold generalisation but one that science tells us is true. So why do we not cry when we know that not doing so is detrimental to our wellbeing?
It's in our wiring. By nature, men are suspicious, competitive, controlled and defensive. If we are seen to show emotion it means that we are no longer in control of the situation or ourselves. Add to that our social conditioning which says that men must be seen to be tough, to be brave, and to act like a man.
Unfortunately that isn't any good for our mental wellbeing. When we bury our emotions there are many adverse consequences. Here's why men need to cry more;
· Lowers blood pressure - Research shows that men who cry during therapy sessions immediately lower their heart rate and blood pressure.
· Lowers stress - Similar to perspiration when we exercise, tears release some of the built-up stress chemicals from the body such as the endorphin leucine-enkaphalin and prolactin.
· Elevates mood - In a similar way, if we have too much manganese in our bodies then our mood will be low. Overexposure of manganese causes nervousness, irritability and fatigue.
· Crying is cathartic - Crying releases the accumulation of conflicts and resentments we felt through the day.
· Tears release feelings - If we bottle these up it impacts adversely on our nervous (limbic) and cardiovascular systems.
· Expressing emotions makes you more creative - Crying engages the creative part of your brain.
· Makes you stronger - “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” – Washington Irving
Of course you don't have to cry in public if you don't feel it is the right thing to do, you can go and hide first. Or, you could cry in public and show others that you are part of humanity.