I think we all are familiar with the fight-or-flight response that we have when we are stressed by what we perceive as danger. When we are stressed, cortisol is released into our bodies; along with rapid heart beat, raised blood pressure, slowed digestive functioning, and shortened breath, heightening our senses. The counterpart to that is the relaxation response.
After the adrenaline dumps into our system, and the danger.will.robin.son.danger fades away; we return to a state of physiological relaxation. Our blood pressure and heart rate and digestive functioning and hormonal levels restore their normal pace and states. This is the relaxation response.
When we cry emotional tears (those are different in composition and in physiological prompters than other tears), we experience stress. When we are thru, our tears have drained us. The fight-or-flight response has jacked it up, and now we have the ability to experience a calming. The relaxation response can be very cathartic.
It is the relaxation response is what we actually are feeling when we are soothed, emptied, but peaceful and drowsy. It is that after effect, it is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response; it is the relief of that unbearable pressure. It is the return to ourselves.
Chronic stress does all sorts of awful things to us, like high blood pressure, like cortisol deposits which precipitates the probability of obesity. Guided meditation is one method we have to actually elicit the relaxation response. We also use yoga, self-talk, and other stress management exercises to calm ourselves; these are techniques that also call forth relaxation responses.
So those cathartic crying jags can bring the relaxation response to cancel our fight-or-flight reactions to life. But only if we allow it to flow, and do not tense against the tide. Relaxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.