Embracing My Crying Spells Made Them Go Away—Here's What I Learned

You know that old saying, "The only constant in life is change?" Though it doesn't exactly provide me with comfort (when you have anxiety, a lack of control and constant transitions are daunting), I can't deny it's validity, especially when it comes to the ebb and flow of stress. A few months ago, when I was moving across the country, I found myself needing to cry about once a week, which is much more frequent than I was used to. I couldn't figure out why my tolerance for stress was so much lower and why I could go from feeling totally fine to wanting to burst into tears. In a word, I was frustrated and did my best to will it away. It didn't work, of course.

So after a really good hard cry, something shifted and I decided to confront the issue. At first, I had been concerned that it was indicative of a deeper issue, but after some research and overdue self-reflection, I realized it was actually a completely normal reaction to my circumstances, and it wouldn't be like this forever. Here's the thing: We often talk about crying as a sign of weakness, a sign of one's inability to deal. And as disorienting as a blubbering cry can be—particularly in the eerily calm, puffy-eyed aftermath—it's also a healthy step in dealing with external stressors.

My life had been chaotic, and I wasn't fully acknowledging the chaos, so it was manifesting itself in bouts of crying and was actually giving physical expression to the unrest. Without the emotional release, I probably would've combusted instead of having this chance to learn how to better manage stress and listen to my body when my mind isn't totally willing to go there yet.

Now, a few months later, I reached out to Carol Tuttle, author of The Child Whisperer and CEO and founder of Live Your Truth, to get more insight into stress crying. If this sounds familiar, read on to learn about why we cry when we're overwhelmed, how to better cope in the actual moment of distress, and how to manage your stress better moving forward.