The therapeutic value of occasional tears

I may not know a lot, but one thing is certain to me: there are very few who go through life without a care in the world, never feeling anything less than A1.

In fact there may be times when every day can seem the exact opposite, when it feels as though the weight of the world is pressing down on you and you alone. When it’s been like this for me, I know how impossible it can be to keep a sense of perspective. I know how impossible it can be to maintain any degree of logic that might enable me to make sense of my situation. I also know that the tendency at such times can be to shut myself away.


Even if you can’t pull the real curtains tight, you can certainly do so with the metaphorical drapes, aiming to avoid engaging with others, and often making a pretty good job of it.

A theme that I’ve often returned to is the value at such times of being part of something bigger, but this can feel a complete oxymoron. How the heck are you supposed to connect to some higher purpose (which seems to imply being around others) when all you really want to do is sink into the sofa?

Maybe it’s at times like this that it can help to think about things that move you. If they do so – even if they make you feel wistful – it’s probably because they’re making powerful connections to your memories or beliefs.

Let me give you an example. There are certain pieces of music which make me sad: simply playing them brings tears to my eyes. However, although it may seem counter-productive, I find they’re at their most moving and helpful when I’m feeling at a low ebb.

Sometimes, getting sad when you’re already low can seem to help rather than hinder. Perhaps this is because it causes you to reflect on people, places or times that have been important to you, and this in turn becomes a powerful reminder of what, to you, is the meaning of life.

For me, it’s music. For you it may be a movie, or a book, or a poem. The important thing to remember, however, is that experiencing something evocative can sometimes help when all might seem otherwise lost.

5 thoughts on “The therapeutic value of occasional tears

  1. Very insightful thank you. I have strong emotional reactions to music too, and often avoid it when I’m VERY low because of that. But you’re right, if I find the right track, the tears will come.
    And there’s a calm after that storm, almost like there’s only one way from there.
    It seems to clear the path for new feelings and perspectives.
    So I will try using my music therapy more! Sally S.

  2. Sometimes when the pressure gets too much I find a quiet spot away from prying eyes and the spanish inquisition and just let the tears come. It’s just like releasing a pressure valve and I feel much better after.

  3. Thanks for this particular post, Jon. It touched me deeply, and your words resonated in my mind with their great truth. Now I know why it soothes me when I’m feeling down to listen to Blues music! Theraputic tears, what a great concept!

    Please be encouraged that I read and benefit from every one of your MoodNudges.

  4. Your post today, prompted me to reply as I too really connect with music emotionally , especially when I am feeling low or having a particularly bad day. It doesnt take much for the tears to fall when a piece of music comes on the tv or radio , often when Im driving and a flood of memories fill my thoughts. I strangely experience a sense of peace and calm afterwards . Thank you Jon

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