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Cry Your Stress Out



A few weeks have passed and we can now truly feel that the new semester is upon us. With readings, assignments, and future test dates all piling up it can already start to feel a little overwhelming, but how to deal with the mounting stress? There are of course the obvious bits of advice we have all rehearsed: mantras muttered under our breaths, to stay organized, not procrastinate, and maintain motivation. It is that last one, motivation, that is the handout that breaks the student’s back.

Motivation is an emotional endeavour, and in willing ourselves forward we often deplete our emotional reservoirs, leaving one exhausted, uninspired, and miserable. How, then, do we combat what many feel is the inevitable down to the high of a fresh start? Well, if laughter is the best medicine, then crying is the best stress reliever.

While crying is most associated with the sadness and actions that trigger it, shedding a few – or a lot – of tears can result in feeling soothed, relaxed, even happy. When we cry due to emotions our tears contain stress hormones responsible for making you feel happy – you literally cry out the stress! Not only do stress hormones leave your body but oxytocin and endorphins are released.

Now, do not take this advice out of context; like most things there is a right way and a wrong way to bawl your eyes out. If you are hoping to come out of a good cry feeling soothed and balanced it is important that you are crying for yourself- while crying for others is a beautiful display of empathy that may allow you to better connect to and support another person, it will not help you with your own emotions. To maintain emotional balance, it is important that you do not wait for something ‘big enough’ to cry over to occur. Cry over whatever triggers you- it may seem silly to cry over the Panic! At the disco album you broke but these little stressors add up and it is better to have a small cry over spilt milk now than a mental breakdown later. When having a cry it is important not to stick to a schedule: if you have somewhere to be perhaps save your cry for later because once you decide to have a cry it is important to let it run its natural course; do not try to make the tears stop. Feel your sadness and live in your emotion, this is an experience and you need to be present in it to benefit from it. Finally, to truly benefit from a cry it is crucial that you are not self-critical- crying does not make you weak, it makes you human, you are never too old to cry, and men and woman both need and should cry sometimes. If you engage in self-talk while crying be sure to be compassionate towards yourself; don’t say things to make yourself stop, but to affirm your tears in the present. In short when you cry, cry deliberately, cry for yourself, and never feel bad about it.

So this September, start your semester right and cry about it.

Zoe Parco

UWindsor '19

Before I started writing this I googled "how to write a website bio", and a key piece of advice I picked up was "to be authentic".  However one has to wonder if authenticity is possible when one is trying to be authentic- and in this world of online media, where the selling feature is the supposed authenticity (these are real people like you!) are we really experiencing other peoples lives or a fabricated copy of their realities.  Anyway I'm studying biology and communications at the University of Windsor, my favourite movie is subject to change; although it is currently Trainspotting (1996), and I am a Capricorn.   
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