From a very young age we are taught to hide our true feelings and keep up the pretense that we have everything under control. We are told not to laugh as people will take us lightly and not to cry as it will make us look weak. In one word, unacceptable!
Have you ever wondered, though, how much you are missing by abstaining from expressing these feelings?
Laughing and crying: Two sides of the same coin
Laughing and crying are the two most fundamental aspects of human behaviour, externalizing the two most dominant emotions; joy and sorrow. However, at the same time it is these behaviours that receive the greatest amount of criticism and disapproval. In our fast-paced and concerned only about appearances society, display of genuine emotions is discouraged.
Benefits of Laughing
Research has shown that laughter is highly beneficial for our physical health. When we laugh the level of stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine and dopamine is reduced, whereas , the level of health enhancing hormones like endorphins is rising. According to Dr. Cynthia Thaik, cardiologist and author, a good laugh can be compared to a mild workout, as it works out the muscles, gets the blood flowing, decreases blood pressure and boosts the immune system.
Laughter is also good for our mental health. It reduces anxiety and increases energy, enabling us to stay focused and accomplish more. Humor shifts perspective, allowing us to see situations in a more realistic and less threatening light. Laughter is not just a break from sadness, it gives us the courage and strength to find new sources of meaning in our life.
Benefits of Crying
Even though crying is almost penalized in our grief-defying era it has a lot of benefits for our health, most of them being similar to those of laughter.
Crying is a natural and essential biological function that results in eliminating stress hormones and by extension all stress related health problems. A study conducted by the University of Minnesota reveals that the chemicals building up in our body during emotional stress can be removed in our tears, avoiding this way the health hazards caused by unreleased stress. The ability to cry is not only therapeutic but it can also be considered a survival tactic.
Crying helps us deal with strong emotions. Whenever we are overwhelmed with emotions, we feel like crying. According to Professor Roger Baker, a consultant clinical psychologist and professor at Bournemouth University, this happens because “crying is the transformation of distress into something tangible, and the process itself helps to reduce the feeling of trauma.”
Avoid physical illness and open up to love
It is scientifically proven that suppressing your emotions can actually make you sick. The ability to express your feelings is your body’s natural detoxification. Allowing yourself to show your emotions is the surest path to physical health and mental equilibrium.
By refraining from expressing our two strongest feelings we have actually learned to repress all of our feelings. By expressing these two fundamental emotions we come a little closer to all of them and we open up to love.
And you? To what extent do you repress your feelings?
You may laugh or you may even be the joker among your friends but perhaps you are refraining from crying. If you start observing yourself more closely, you may notice that you just smile instead of laughing from your belly or that you may well up but you hold back your tears.
We are not suggesting, in any case, to be completely transparent in front of everyone regardless of the circumstances. No need to go from one extreme to the other.
In Serendipity Institute you have the opportunity to reconnect with these basic and repressed feelings and avail yourself of their therapeutic value. During The Mystic Pathway to Love retreat you can free your emotions without being judged in a perfectly safe and supportive environment. You have the chance to detoxify yourself from all the stress and the anxiety you have accumulated the whole year, melt the conditioning that prevent you from being real, open up the inner space for love and come in touch with your true self.
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