I’m not usually a crier. If you ever catch me blubbering, it’s likely because of something big, like my dog died, I lost a limb or someone put the apostrophe in the wrong place when abbreviating the year (seriously, how hard is it to remember it’s ’90s, not 90’s?).
Anyway, even someone as cry-free as me ends up shedding at least a few tears when Week 3 and Week 4 of my cycle come around.
In fact, many of us do.
That’s because rising progesterone in your Week 3 (which begins the day after ovulation and lasts 8 days) and plunging estrogen in your Week 4 (your premenstrual week) both affect mood-moderating brain chemicals in a way that can trigger the urge to cry from something sad, high stress or even no reason at all.
Remember that time when you cried at the car commercial? And when you discovered the ice cream container in the freezer was empty? And when you realized you hated your bangs? All hormone tears, I’m sure of it.
Just chalk it up to yet another normal, albeit annoying, side effect of cycling estrogen and progesterone–like water retention, acne breakouts and giving yourself those ill-fated bangs.
Fortunately for you, there’s some good news to report about all that hormone-fueled weepiness:
In the past, researchers went back and forth trying to determine whether a good cry makes you feel worse, better or nothing at all–with conflicting results.
Now a new study in the journal Motivation and Emotion proves that crying really can make you feel better…at least eventually.
The researchers found that (no surprise here) you feel more blue while shedding your tears than when you were dry-eyed. But, they also discovered that within 20 minutes of weeping, your emotions bounce back up to how you were feeling before the waterworks began. Then, 90 minutes after your tear-fest, your mood actually improves some more, helping you feel happier.
So, the final word is that crying really does provide an emotional release that perks up your mood. It just takes a little while to kick in. Which might just make it worth hunkering down on the couch with a copy of Marley & Me and about 14 boxes of Kleenex.
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[Photo: Jenn and Tony Bot]