“This is the best day ever,” Sweet P said with tears running along her nose, dripping off her chin. She cried and smiled as she looked around her room.
We had updated her room – new shelving, new comforter, a few other big-kid things – as part of a birthday surprise and Sweet P was psyched.
But still she cried.
I do too at sappy commercials and videos of others doing good deeds. I cried when I held my baby for the first time, and my first book. When I saw J in his tux moments before he’d become Mr. J and all the times in between.
Later when I tucked Sweet P in after the big bedroom reveal, she said “I feel better now. Sometimes you just need a good cry.”
Yep you do.
Crying is the way we steady ourselves while drifting in a sea of big-time, intense feelings. Incongruous emotions like tears at happy times help people cope and process the experience, says Yale University researcher Oriana Aragon.
Tears seem to flow when people are overwhelmed by strong, positive emotions, she says, and people who shed happy tears, as Sweet P calls them, seem to manage those feelings better. Tears are part of regulating our experience so we can continue on.
There are some other healthy ways to manage our emotions too, before we wind up laying on the couch, eating a gallon of ice cream while watching the Kardashians. I’ll share them in Wednesday’s post. In the meantime, if you’re experiencing intense feelings, a good cry might be just the thing to help you through.