All Episodes

March 19, 2024 38 mins

Sometimes all we want to do is a have a big, old fashioned sob and when we can't it leads us feeling emotionally pent up, defective and frustrated. There's an explanation for why we go through periods where we are unable to cry. In today's episode we discuss: 

  • The evolutionary function of crying
  • Crying as an attachment behaviour 
  • The difference between basal, reflex and emotional tears 
  • The 4 major reasons we struggle with crying 
  • How to heal your connection with your emotions 
  • How we process emotions through the body, and more.

Listen now when you're in need of an emotional catharsis or could really do with a few tears. 

Follow Jemma on Instagram: @jemmasbeg

Follow the podcast on Instagram: @thatpsychologypodcast

 

 

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played
Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:04):
Hello everybody, and welcome back to the Psychology of Your Twenties,
the podcast where we talk through some of the big
life changes and transitions of our twenties and what they
mean for our psychology. Hello everybody, or welcome back to

(00:26):
the show. Welcome back to the podcast, new listeners, old listeners,
or wherever you are in the world, it is so
great to have you here. Back for another episode. As
we of course dive into the psychology of our twenties today,
let's cut to the chase we're going to be talking
about crying. It might seem a little bit insignificant to

(00:49):
be devoting a whole episode to this. It might seem
a bit strange when it comes to our twenties. I
think that a lot of us try to avoid crying,
but sometimes they're no better feeling than just having a
solid moment to let yourself be in pain, to experience

(01:09):
a little bit of self pity, and to let it
all out through tears. And sometimes nothing feels more frustrating
than wanting so badly to cry and have that physical
outlet for your emotions and being unable to. It can
feel like something within us is blocked, something about us

(01:29):
is defective or faulty because we're not feeling things deeply
enough or to the point where we can let it
all out and have this like physical expression of what
is occurring internally, and I really get that it can
leave us with a lot of I think, frustration and
almost like anger at ourselves and just this like longing
for a good old fashioned sob. The truth of the

(01:53):
matter is our twenties are really freaking hard. Being human
is hard. Life is hard. We are all going to
go through difficult moments and times in our lives where
we lose people, we're frustrated by life, we're having a
really rough time at work, our boss is an asshole.
And being able to release all that stress, that grief,

(02:15):
that anger, that sadness is one of the good parts
about being human and having that huge catalog of emotional
expressions and ability to feel emotions. When we feel it
detached from that ability, and it happens every now and again,
we I think feel almost under control, under the control

(02:39):
of our emotions, and we feel like there is this
pent up energy inside of us that has nowhere to
go but up and into our brain and cause us
more stress and more fear and more anxiety and tears
serve a purpose. Sometimes they serve as an outlet. There
is nothing better. So for anyone who is feeling a

(03:03):
little bit emotionally repressed at the moment, who was finding
that they can't even cry in the moments, they want
nothing more than That's what we're going to discuss today.

Speaker 2 (03:14):
We're going to examine some of the reasons psychology and
science tells us we need to cry, why we can't cry,
from emotional suppression to medications or shock, and how we
can get back in touch with our big emotions rather
than being scared of them. So let us get into
it to start off with why do we actually need

(03:38):
to cry? Obviously, if we can do it, evolution tells
us that it must have served a purpose. Before we
talk about that, let's just briefly mention some of the
anatomy for a second. Each of us is born with
two tear ducts in each of our eyes, and they
have two openings, one on the upper eyelid, one on
the like in the inner eyelid. We all you know

(04:00):
what I'm talking about. Close to the bridge of the notes. Now,
crying doesn't just occur for emotional reasons. There are actually
three different types of tears. We have basil tears, reflex tears,
and emotional tears. Basil tears they wash away dirt and
gems and yucky things, keeping us from getting an infection,

(04:23):
going blind, that kind of thing. Reflex tiars are what
occur when something harmful gets in our eye, like a
bug or when we're cutting onion. It's responsive to something
coming from the environment. And then finally we have emotional tears.
Emotional tears are a lot more complicated than basil and
reflex tiers, which I'm sure we kind of all assumed

(04:45):
at this point. But the thing about emotional tears is
that they are not automatic. In order to cry, our
limbic system, the part of our brain that regulates our emotions.
That part of our brain has to be activated and
send signals to our glands to produce tears, and in
those tears contains a bunch of other proteins and hormones

(05:08):
that we don't find in our everyday basil or reflex tiars,
things like potassium prolactin, which also helps us produce milk,
and finally the big one, stress hormones like cortisol. This
is probably our first clue that we're dealing with something
a little bit bigger when we need to cry. It's

(05:30):
a lot more psychological than just physical. That's because most
evolutionary researchers will tell you that crying serves a purpose. Actually,
it serves a number of important functions that all have
something to do with how we feel emotion and how
we connect to others through mental, physical, and emotional expressions

(05:52):
of pain. So firstly, when you are an emotional physical pain,
crying can actually make you feel really good. It can
actually provide real physical relief from that pain. When you cry,
your body releases hormones such as endorphins and oxytocin the
same chemical structures that we see in pain relievers and opioids.

(06:16):
That is why a big sub feels just so good,
even though that might seem counterintuitive because we often associate
it with sadness and pain. Really, this act is telling
your body that something is wrong, something has triggered this reaction,
and it needs to do something about it, so it
fires up all these pleasurable neurotransmitters and hormones to counteract

(06:41):
whatever painful thing is bothering us. There is a really
interesting article by Harvard health that talks about this, and
it also speaks on how crying provides an emotional catharsis.
It gives big emotions somewhere to go that isn't just
running around in our brain in an endless ruminating loop.

(07:03):
So it's really interesting because that is not a new idea,
right even back in a lot of the ancient civilizations,
the Greeks, the Romans, they almost saw our tears as
having a healing capacity. They were they would drain us
of something negative, they would purify us. And not only

(07:23):
has that really like continued to stand, but now there
have been a lot lot more papers and a lot
more research into this that is proving that those initial
conceptions and ideas were actually pretty close to the scientific truth. Now,
crying isn't the only way to do this, you know,
Exercise is another way. Displacement as Freud would call it,

(07:45):
is also another way taking your pain out on others,
but it is the one that seems most accepted and socialized.
Of course, if your pet died, you know you're going
to cry. People accept that as part of the sadness.
If some every one yells at you, you have this
really big emotional blow up or a conflict. Again, it

(08:05):
seems like the most natural reaction to a painful or
uncomfortable situation. Crying in this way can also have a
self soothing effect. So this was a finding published by
a twenty fourteen study that noticed when people cry, this
very act also activated their powasympathetic nervous system, which helps

(08:27):
us relax and once again we get that intense distress
kind of out of the way through the act of crying.
We when we activate our parasympathetic nervous system, a whole
bunch of other things occur in our body. Our heart
rate begins to slow down, we begin to feel quite tired,
and also all that emotion seems and that fear really

(08:50):
seems too clear, so we're able to think more rationally
and from a place of I don't want to say peace,
but from a place of calm. It's also why after
crying you might feel really exhausted or drowsy, maybe even peaceful.
You have involuntarily activated this very important part of your
nervous system, but also you've drained a lot of that

(09:13):
energy that was keeping you tense and sad and stressed.
Now there's been a bit of preliminary research that has
suggested that crying the reason why it makes us feel
this way is because the very active crying releases stress
hormones through the production of tears, meaning that there is
less of that stress hormone, particularly cortisol, to go around

(09:36):
in the body. I'm going to like just you know,
I wanted to mention that, but I would also say
there probably needs to be a bit more research. I
don't really see how a few millimeters of tears can
have that much impact on those stress response of a
sixty kiloor one hundred kilo one hundred and fifty kilo
human like. It seems quite negligible. But that is another

(09:56):
explanation and the final one as to why we cry
has a lot to do with our social evolution. So
one of the first things that babies do when they
are born is cry. Obviously that's to get a lot
of the fluid out of their lungs, but it's also
to get attention, and then they pretty much don't stop crying. Ever. Like,

(10:21):
even as humans, we don't stop crying, but especially when
we're babies, like, babies cry a whole lot, and the
reason why is because crying is what we would call
an attachment behavior. It serves as a signal to those
around us to comfort us. It draws people's attention to
us because when they hear those cries, that automatically causes

(10:44):
this association with distress, and that acknowledgment of distress activates
the part of our brain that deals with empathy, and
that is what motivates us to help someone to be
pro social. So, crying in children and in adults promotes closeness,
It promotes empathy in others, it promotes kindness because it

(11:08):
is intended evolutionarily biologically to elicit care and comfort. Actually,
attachment theory, very first attachment theory paper talks about the
role of crying quite a bit. So Back in the
original studies conducted by John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, they

(11:31):
noticed that children who showed a lack of crying when
their parents are left, when they were being comforted by
a stranger or were left in a strange situation. Those
children whose immediate reaction was to not cry but to
stay silent, they probably had a disorganized attachment style or
an insecure, anxious, avoidant attachment style because they were used

(11:56):
to this very innate and instinctual act of crime. Not
being met with the typical response you know, support, care
and love, and so they almost just stop doing it
because they realized that it didn't serve a function the
function that it should be serving, which is to you know,
receive empathy and receive care and kindness not just from

(12:18):
your primary caregiver, but from other people within our species
around you. All Right, So, now that we've spoken about
the functions and purposes of crying, what are some of
the reasons that we can't do it? Why can't we cry?
That's the real title of this episode. So let's start
off with the first reason. Maybe you're just really happy.

(12:38):
There is no reason at all why you can't cry.
It's just that you have no reason to. That is
actually a completely valid explanation for this. We're kind of
all on this like very fun roller coaster of life,
and sometimes you're just at a high point and you've
stayed there for a few months. That is a good thing,
I promise, But I get that sensation and anticipation of

(13:01):
waiting for the other shoe to drop. I think if
you're used to feeling like you're just someone who has
bad luck or never feeling quite satisfied or happy, and
you're in this moment where everything just seems to be
strangely going your way. It's natural to be feeling a
little bit anxious about that and wondering what's wrong with you,

(13:21):
wondering when this is all going to disappear. I want
to give you permission right now. It's okay to just
be happy and content for a while. But if you're
not crying when it feels necessary, like after a traumatic
event or something really hard happening in your personal life,
that is probably a sign that your stoicism is going

(13:44):
a bit too far, and you may be partially disconnected
from your true emotions and what's going on underneath the
seemingly composed surface. If it feels like an appropriate time
to be crying and you can't, the number one explanation
is shock after a loss or even something like a breakup.

(14:05):
I hear so many people saying it's so strange, like
it's been a few days and I'm completely fine, Like
I haven't cried once, it's been like three weeks and
I'm totally already over it. You know, that is just
not probably true. That's not a sign that you just
have super quick emotional healing powers. Or that you've already recovered.
What you're actually experiencing is probably shock. So we know

(14:27):
that there are a few stages of grief that we
go through after something, after a loss, after something happens,
shock or denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. And the
depression stage is what I think most of us think
when we think about heartbreak or loss. It's very outward,
it's very feeling, it's very visible and emotional, it's probably

(14:50):
even teary. But before we get there, we have three
other stages to pass through that don't always involve as
many tears. Shock is the most significant one. It is
a protective or defensive mechanism our brain and lists in
the immediate aftermath of something intense or life changing or painful.
That helps us compartmentalize emotions until we are prepared or

(15:14):
have the mental resources or the mental space to deal
with them. So there's an evolutionary reason for this. Back
in the day, when we roamed the Sahara, we were
fleeing wild beasts and lions and warring with our neighbors.
We sometimes had to delay an emotional reaction until we
were out of danger because heavy emotions during that time

(15:37):
could really cost us our lives. It would take our
attention off of escaping, off of getting away from a
dangerous situation. And this instinct to avoid initially hard, heavy
emotions for survival purposes has carried with us, and so
now it's seen in response to different, more modern triggers,

(15:58):
like a breakup, your brain is trying to keep you
safe for as long as it can by keeping those
emotions and feelings, almost like behind a mental wall of glass.
We can see what happened, We can see that it's
going to hurt, but the full impact hasn't hit us yet.
It may also be that you know how you know,

(16:20):
you know how hard it's going to be when you
finally let yourself feel what you've been through. So you
are trying your hardest, unconsciously even consciously, to delay the inevitable.
Even if this isn't entirely conscious, what you're doing is
buying into the delusion that putting off hard feelings may

(16:42):
mean that they never actually occur. So when the war
comes down, and you may not want to hear this,
but it will eventually come down, it could be days,
it could be weeks, it could be months, even years.
That's when we see this suffering we're most accustomed to
seeing again. The interesting thing is that more often than not,

(17:03):
the thing that finally triggers our tears is normally completely
unrelated to the initial or predicted source of our sadness
and our misery. We can spend like months in a
state of just like complete emotional stagnation and numbness, and
then one Monday, a random Monday, you miss your bus,

(17:23):
your outfit is uncomfortable, it's just a little bit too hot,
and then you stab your toe and the tap just
gets turned on and all of those months of pent
up emotion flood into your life. All it took was
for that metaphorical straw to break the camel's back, that

(17:44):
daily stress of that small thing, on top of all
of the other major life events, to finally provide a release.
It feels a little bit unfair, I know, But sometimes
the brain and our mind and our psychology doesn't operate
according to our rules and what we want. In the meantime,
you may not be able to tap into that side

(18:06):
of you that really does just want to have a
big cry in response to whatever it is. Another reason
why you might be struggling with this a reaction is
because of medication, specifically antidepressants and SSRIs, so selective serotonin
reuptake inhibitors. They've done studies on this. It's one of
the biggest side effects of being on antidepressants. Forty six

(18:29):
percent of people who are on these experience blunted emotions.
And although these medications are amazing they help relieve symptoms
of depression anxiety that have maybe caused complete dysfunction, they
can also affect how we experience everyday feelings. So I've

(18:51):
talked about this before on the show. I was on
lexipro for three years. I don't think I cried more
than twice over that period of time. During that time,
I went through a serious, like long term breakup, my
grandfather passed away, a lot of other things were happening
in my personal life, and I just couldn't do I Literally,

(19:13):
no matter how hard I tried, I could not shed
a tear. And it was really strange because I had
all the other signs that I wanted to. I had
this tightness in my chest, I had this swelling in
my throat, I had this tension in my forehead. It
felt like it was going to happen. I was almost there,
and then it would stop right short of like a tear,

(19:35):
and it was so unfulfilling, and in more serious moments,
it actually did feel like the emotions lingered longer in
my body because they had nowhere to go, and that
at times made them harder to manage. It made that
it kind of made it seem like they never truly
went away, but they were kind of just always there

(19:56):
at a lower frequency in the background. The way would
I was talking to my therapist about it was when
you have a fly buzzing around your house and you
just can't quite catch it, and it's not that annoying,
but it's still pretty annoying, and you just want to
get rid of it. You just want to smash that fire.
You just want to have that cathartic action. I know

(20:17):
this is a common experience for a lot of other
people I've spoken to who are on these medications, and
it's kind of like you're forced into this trade off.
Do you want to be able to function and not
be overwhelmed by anxiety or depressive thoughts, That's going to
mean that sometimes you have to give up your ability
to feel as deeply and as intensely as you previously have,

(20:41):
and it's a decision that we need to make individually.
It doesn't mean that it's not still difficult, and there
aren't times when you really wish that you had access
to all that emotion, your full range of sensitivity and feeling,
and just that energy source that you can tap into.
Speaking of medications for depression, we should also probably focus

(21:03):
on the impact of those conditions as well on our
ability to cry. So I think one of the common
misconceptions about being depressed is that you are constantly sobbing,
You're constantly a pool of tears. Actually, sometimes you are
so sad and forlorn you just can't cry. This is
known as depression. With melancholia, you are completely and entirely

(21:27):
numb to all your emotions. And in that flat, emotionless state,
it's not that you just can't even feel the good things.
You can't feel anything, sadness included, because nothing, not even
the bad things, the hard things, the painful things, have
meaning to you anymore. Now I would say this is
super rare, but it does still occur, and it's worth

(21:49):
going further with your investigation into this if you think
it applies. This is obviously a significant change in how
we experience emotions, and therefore you will need to talk
to it therapist because they're going to be able to
really tell you a lot more about what creates this
situation and kind of how to get out of this

(22:10):
complete mental numbness and staleness. Now, let's move on and
talk about the reason most people think of when it
comes to an inability to cry. I saved it for last.
Emotional repression, the unconscious act of pushing down feelings that
we see as dangerous or too much. People deal with

(22:31):
emotions in different ways. We can respect that sadness, grief, anger,
whatever it may be, heartbreak. They are not a one
size fits all experience. Some people have a very expressive style.
They cry very easily and frequently. Often these people are
more sensitive, they have more empathy, or they've been socialized

(22:55):
to be more accepting of tears and crying as a
way to manage emotions. It may they also come down
to factors, like they sleepless, they have underlying depressive symptoms.
Like we spoke about, all of these just make us
more prone to crying sometimes for no reason. Other people, though,
are more repressed, and they find it really hard to cry.

(23:15):
And to express what's going on through this method. And
then there's this category of people who may intentionally suppress
their emotions to avoid revealing to themselves, not just to others,
what they're feeling. Frequently, with repressed emotions, you might not
even realize you're unconsciously avoiding your feelings, which is why
you might be confused by your inability to cry. That

(23:38):
is because the origins of this inability happened a long
time ago, often in the past, in our childhood experiences.
It could be the case that big displays of sadness,
even happiness, were not accepted in your family or culture.
They weren't seen as appropriate, and so when you have
the urge, you have been conditioned time and time again

(24:01):
to suppress rather than feel. It may have been that
every time you did cry you were expressing sensitivity towards
your emotions. You were punished for it, and so you
have begun to associate the need to feel with punishment
and pain and shame. We see this a lot with men.

(24:23):
Society continuously tells them it's not manly or appropriate or
how boys should behave, and so they internalize those external
attitudes such that their threshold for what's you know, whatever
demand's tears, it's much higher. And even when they really
you know, when things that really hard happen, they cannot
get themselves into this state because they are so used

(24:46):
to suppressing this urge, and it carries a lot of shame.
That also creates a disconnect between us and our emotions.
I was lucky. I had a father who probably cries
more than my mother. But a lot of people do
learn how to process their emotions from the parent who
is the same gender as them. I was really lucky.

(25:07):
I feel like I grew up in a family who
that was always accepted. There was a natural reaction to tears,
and I sometimes feel quite sad for people who didn't
have this as an example, who weren't socialized and raised
in an environment of emotional acceptance. As I said before,
we have the ability to cry for a reason to

(25:29):
provide release. Catharsis as a social cue to notice when
people are upset, when they need our help. When you
are forced to deprive yourself of some emotional function like crying,
other things also tend to go off balance. There's suggestions
that all that feeling goes elsewhere, and it's expressed in

(25:50):
more harmful ways, like through rage and anger because it
needs somewhere to go. And I think that's a lesson
to all of us. That's suppression and avoidance of emotion.
It doesn't mean that they don't exist, that they cease
to exist. They will find a way to come to
the surface. They will find a way to get your attention,
whether you want them to or not. So we've discussed

(26:13):
the main reasons for our inability to cry, but what
do we actually do about it? We're not going to
leave it there. What is the way forward here? Is
it to watch as many sad movies as possible or
animal rescue videos and like wait until something clicks. Probably not.
When we're getting to the root of this, we actually
need to take a step back from the tears and

(26:35):
look what's underneath. It all a disconnect with your deeper
emotional state. So we're going to talk about all of
that and more after this shortbreak. When it comes to
an inability to cry, the solution is not forcing yourself
to cry by any means necessary. It's not like you

(26:57):
have a blocked a drain or a pipe and once
you remove the gun, everything will start flowing freely again.
You know you're not a plumbing problem. The solution is
getting back in touch with what you're feeling. When you're
feeling it. It's about a deeper emotional disconnect that we
need to heal. So let's talk about it. If you've
been through a few hard chapters recently, or you have

(27:19):
been once, as we said, you know, conditioned or socialized
to repress rather than express. Your ability to identify your
emotions and what is bothering you has probably become a
little bit disorganized or broken. When we see emotions as
our captors or as a source of shame, or we
perceive them as being stronger than us, that is when

(27:40):
we have an incentive to not feel them at all,
and that results in that inability for expression and release.
To get past this, we can do a few things,
and I'm going to talk about three strategies, in particular,
noticing your emotions in your body, talking to your friends
about their feelings, and finding a creative outlet. Paying attention

(28:02):
to your body is so important when it comes to
noticing and making peace with whatever is going on in
your mind. We feel emotions in the body. This has
been written about so much in the last few decades.
Perhaps most notably in the book The Body Keeps the Score,
which mainly talks about how stress and trauma in particular

(28:25):
have a somatic form and a somatic impact. It causes
chronic pain, hormone imbalance, so much more. On a smaller scale, though,
every emotion we feel, we feel it through our neurons. Now,
a lot of us think that neurons are only found
in the brain. It's a common misconception, but it's actually
not true. Neurons are found throughout the body outside of

(28:49):
the brain. They're known as sensory and motor neurons, and
our brain is in control of all of these. It
is the main communicator, It is the leader. The other
thing our brain is is in control of communicating with
is our emotions. And so there is this connection between
what we feel emotionally and what we feel physically because
it is using a lot of the same pathways. A

(29:11):
lot of those pathways are connected. What that means is
that when we begin to use physical cues to notice
and identify our feelings, we can really unlock a whole
new range of emotions and emotional recognition we didn't previously have.
For example, anger is often felt between the chest and
the head, Whilst fear is usually felt between the stomach

(29:33):
and the chest, sadness is felt in the face, in
the throat, even in our limbs it makes them heavy,
and emotional pain can really be felt all over. A
lot of us have become very disconnected from these signs
and emotional cues that are present in our limbs and
in our muscles and in our bones. If you're struggling

(29:53):
with emotional expression, tap into what you're feeling through a
body scan. And how you do that You focus on
each area of your body from your toes to the
top of your head, and you pay attention what is
causing you discomfort? Where is their heaviness or tightness, Where
is their pent up energy and excitement and like tingling?

(30:16):
And what is that trying to tell you? Those sensations
are not there by accident. That is your brain trying
to communicate something to you that you may have previously
stopped yourself from recognizing because you are trying to compartmentalize
and protect yourself. As you do that body scan, consciously
tense and then relax your muscles, particularly your face and

(30:39):
your shoulders. Now I sometimes do this when I'm trying
to fall asleep, and when I consciously turn my attention
to these parts of my body, it's really only then
that I realized just how much, just like tension and
like anxiety and stress, is being stored in those areas.
If you can, you should do it right now. Let
all of those muscles relate. Let all of that tension

(31:02):
in your shoulders go for a second, and then try
it again. Let them go even looser, and try your forehead.
Drop it as low as you can. I'm literally doing
it as I'm speaking right now. Feel how your eyebrows
move closer to your eyes, Feel how everything around your
skull just seems to loosen. You might even get like

(31:22):
a little tingle. And can you notice just how much
better you feel? And can you also pay attention to
what's coming up for you? That is really the first
step in this process, observing and discerning how emotions are
sitting in your body and what different emotions feel like
for you. Secondly, talk to your friends about their feelings.

(31:44):
When we are disconnected from our emotions, sometimes we no
longer have the words to explain what we're feeling. And
that's where talking to people you trust can be so helpful.
Not only do I think they give us a lot
of language for what we're going through, which I always
find super helpful. They also offer support and a place
for vulnerability, a space for openness that maybe we just

(32:07):
haven't had before, We've never been permitted access to. I
think one of the crazy things that always comes up
for me is just this constant epiphany that you are
not the only one. Nothing is experienced in isolation. So
much of what we experience in our twenties and beyond
is universal, and it's made a lot easier with community

(32:30):
and support and someone who is going to sit across
from you and say, I'm witnessing your life, I see
what you're going through. That is really really hard. Hearing
someone else say that validates so much of what we're experiencing.
I have had that happen where just someone says like,

(32:52):
I'm so sorry, I can see that must be so painful,
and just that acknowledgment makes me burst into tears. I
think become curious about other people's emotions as well, ask questions,
listen other people crave to be heard as much as
you do, and in response, share your own feelings. You know,
as humans, we have this beautiful superpower that we can

(33:15):
connect through emotions and through vulnerability, And as we get
better at being vulnerable with other people, we get better
at being vulnerable with ourselves, having a sense of acceptance
that this is okay, this is normal, other people are
experiencing this. I am not defective, I am not faulty,
there is nothing wrong with me. And the tears might
not come instantly, but there is this increased level of

(33:40):
acceptance and this increased level of recognition for what you
are actually experiencing, and there's just this increased level of
just kindness in your life, which I think everyone can
really benefit from. Finally, look for an outlet, especially one
that is creative. There is no one way to feel.
I feel like I have mentioned that a million times

(34:01):
in this episode. There are so many other ways we
can channel what's happening in our bodies firstly, but also
in our minds into something that is tangible, and it
doesn't have to involve tears or crying. When that thing
that we choose to us is out as our outlet
is creative or physical, it also allows us to use

(34:24):
these parts of our brain that we may otherwise be
neglecting or just not using as much. It makes us
feel less inhibited. It freees parts of us that otherwise
have nowhere else to exist. That is the power of creativity.
And I've talked about this on the podcast before, but
after my first big breakup, I tried anything creative or

(34:46):
with my hands that I could. I did painting, I
did pottery. I even did weaving for a while. It's
not as fun as you think. It takes ages, but
it just felt like my brain was opening up and
noticing a whole new world, both extern and within. There
is a reason why art therapy is so popular because
we are finally waking up to the fact that doing

(35:08):
something purposeful and meaningful and artistic and creating something, rather
than always feeling like the world is taking things from us,
it helps us regulate what we're feeling. Our emotions are
a huge source of inspiration and they want a place
to go. They are looking for an outlet. And maybe
right now that's not crying for you. But I think

(35:28):
the more you the further you get in this process,
the more everything else seems to loosen up. If you
want some further evidence of this, as a really well
known UCL study that was conducted in part with BBC Arts,
and what they found was that when they gave people
the space to be creative, especially in response to big, large,
scary emotions, it didn't actually matter if they were even

(35:51):
objectively good at it. It was just the participation and
the act that counted. Make bad art express everything in anything,
and you will slowly see how your access to your
emotions becomes expanded because you begin to see them in
a positive light as a source of inspiration and motivation
and of creativity. Finally, I say this in a lot

(36:14):
of these episodes because I just think it's so true.
Be gentle with yourself. Imagine that the person sitting in
front of you, who is struggling with their emotions, with
their ability to cry, is five year old you. You
wouldn't yell at them, you wouldn't shame them, you wouldn't
get angry at them. I know it's frustrating. I know
sometimes we just long for that catharsis and release of

(36:37):
a good old fashioned cry. But you are not defective,
You are not faulty. You are not a psychopath, because
that isn't available to you at the moment. There are
so many reasons and very valid explanations for why this is,
but there are also so many ways through. You are
doing the best you can. You're probably managing a lot

(36:59):
in your life right now, and your brain is trying
to help you in some way. But I often find
when we finally get to a place of feeling emotionally
safe and secure, the tears will come. So thank you
so much for listening to today's episode. I hope you
got something out of it. I hope that you enjoyed it.

(37:19):
I hope that you learned something from my experience. You know,
that's always the mission with these episodes, is being like,
you know, your twenties feels super isolating. I'm there with you.
You're not alone. There are so many people who are
going through something similar. As always, if you did enjoy
this episode, please feel free to leave a five start
review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever you are listening. I

(37:44):
you know, I don't know if people really know this.
It's kind of just me running this podcast. I don't
really have like a huge team, so I'm still the
one who reads all of your messages and all of
your reviews and all of your comments, and it really
makes my day. So also, if you have an episode suggestion,
I say this at the end of every episode. Please
feel free to DM me at that Psychology podcast. I

(38:05):
would love to hear what you have in mind and
if you want to see what I'm doing in my
own life as a twenty something year old, feel free
to follow me at chemispeg on Instagram and we will
be back on Friday with a new episode. Until then,
stay safe and we will talk soon.
Advertise With Us

Popular Podcasts

Dateline NBC
Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

Every week comedian and infamous roaster Nikki Glaser provides a fun, fast-paced, and brutally honest look into current pop-culture and her own personal life.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.

Connect

© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.