What Happens to Your Body When You Hold Back Your Tears

While crying is often seen as a sign of weakness or vulnerability, it’s a completely natural human response to certain emotions or physical pain. That said, many people choose to suppress or hold back their tears, often for societal or personal reasons. But what exactly happens to your body when you stifle your tears?

This is What Happens to Your Body When You Hold Back Your Tears

1. Increased Stress Levels

Stress is the first significant consequence of holding back tears. Because crying is a natural response to emotional or physical pain, suppressing it can make your body feel stressed. And eventually, high-stress levels can lead to various health problems such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and mental health disorders.

2. Shortness of Breath

As a result of the stress and anxiety that may come from holding back tears, you may experience shortness of breath. Suppressing an emotional response can cause an uptick in your body’s stress levels, which can make your breath short and rapid. This often happens as your body goes into its fight-or-flight mode.

3. Increased Heart Rate

In addition to shortness of breath, an increased heart rate is also common when holding back tears. When you try to suppress your natural emotional responses, your body can enter a heightened state of stress, which, in turn, can cause your heart rate to increase. This physiological response is part of the body’s natural defense mechanism, but if it’s activated too often, it can take a toll on your heart health.

4. Suppressed Emotions

When you hold back tears, you’re essentially suppressing your emotions. These bottled-up feelings can add up over time, leading to psychological distress or emotional overload. And this is especially true for those who regularly suppress their tears.

5. Physical Discomfort

Physical discomfort is another consequence of stifling your tears. You may experience a lump in your throat, often referred to as a “Globus sensation.” This sensation occurs because when you’re trying to hold back tears, your body’s fight or flight response is activated. During that response, your throat muscles constrict, causing the sensation of a lump.

6. Difficulty Swallowing

This physical discomfort can also lead to difficulty swallowing. That, accompanied by the lump-in-throat sensation, can make swallowing food or drink uncomfortable.

7. Increased Risk of Heart Disease

Studies have shown that suppressing emotional tears can increase your blood pressure, one of the risk factors for heart disease. As a result, consistently holding back tears could potentially lead to long-term heart health issues.

8. Reduced Mood and Increased Negative Emotions

Suppressing tears can also lead to mood dips and an increase in negative emotions. When you cry, your body releases endorphins, chemicals that can help improve your mood. By holding back tears, you’re also holding back these beneficial chemicals, which could potentially lead to feelings of sadness or irritability.

9. Potential for Headaches

Another consequence of suppressing tears is the potential for headaches. When you hold back tears, it can lead to tension in your facial muscles, which, if sustained over a period, could lead to a headache.

10. Impact on Mental Health

Over time, consistently suppressing tears and emotions can negatively impact your mental health. This can potentially lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.

11. Inhibited Communication

Tears serve as a form of nonverbal communication, signaling that you’re in distress and may need comfort. By suppressing them, you could be inhibiting this form of emotional expression and potentially making it harder for others to recognize and respond to your emotional needs.

12. Issues with Emotional Intimacy

Holding back tears can also lead to issues with emotional intimacy. It can create barriers and prevent open, vulnerable conversations with partners, friends, and family.

To prevent these potentially adverse effects, it’s important to allow yourself to cry when you need to. Crying is a natural process that can help alleviate stress and can be a healthy part of emotional processing. Remember, it’s okay to cry, and doing so is a sign of strength rather than weakness.

Further Reading: 7 Health Benefits of Crying

Similar Posts