Tea-rrific News

Anyone that knows me well knows I love my green tea.  I find it soothing and relaxing.  It’ my go-to beverage instead of coffee.


Andrew E. Carol recently published a delightful report on the health benefits of drinking tea in the New York Times.


Eleven studies with almost 23,000 people found for every 3 cups of green tea daily, risk of depression decreases 37%.


That’s good news as the season changes and some people suffer from unexpected sadness.


More cheerful news includes your risk of developing diabetes, stroke and other cardiovascular risk factors also decreases.


And research says it’s good for your body too.  I don’t drink any soda or coffee, which I liken to pouring mud into an engine.


My absolute personal favorite tea brand is YOGI tea.  I love it, and it comes in decaf and a variety of inspiring flavors.


I also love that a different cute fortune is attached to the end of each tea bag.


And I’m a fan of the company philosophy.


The bright varying tea packages can also be organized by color in a kitchen drawer.


If you have trouble sleeping you’ll love Yogi Bedtime for Sleep.


Soon it’ll be time for a roaring fireplace, so enjoy your soothing tea time because “a relaxed mind is a creative mind.”


Link to New York Time’s articlehttp://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/06/upshot/what-the-evidence-tells-us-about-tea.html

Link to Yogi Teahttp://www.yogiproducts.com

Stay healthy!  :-)



Maria Dorfner is the founder of Healthy Within Network and owner of NewsMD Communications, LLC.  This is her blog. Contact: maria.dorfner@yahoo.com


Healthy Within: A Story About Loss and Gain by Maria Dorfner


The following is an excerpt from my new book. It is now available at: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/maria_Dorfner


A true story about how I connect the dots looking backwards to discover the true meaning of being healthy within in the world– by being healthy without. Oftentimes, it’s through unexpected loss that we experience our greatest gain.  May you read this book and learn to value things you can never lose in life. Realize how past and present thoughts, relationships, pop culture, news and daily habits impact your overall well-being. Discover your power to change thoughts at any moment. Acquire healthy coping mechanisms during dark times to shine light to reveal your true values and higher purpose. Know you are beautiful and loved right now with all your flaws. Journey through pain to transform it into self-awareness, acceptance & art.  There should never be any loss in life –only transformation. You are not alone. Explore being Healthy Within.

PREFACE: Early Influences


The year is 1984. I schlep a must-have accessory for the 80’s aspiring female executive, a soft, brown Italian leather briefcase that protects my bibles of business inspiration; The Woman’s Dress for Success by John T. Molly, In Search of Excellence by Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr. and The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. I am an Italian-American, wide-green eyed and wider-smiled, petite, slender brunette from Brooklyn, New York.


I am a middle child with two siblings. Parents aren’t supposed to label their children, but mine continually call me “the smart one” and the one with “a big heart.” The first from being an encyclopedia nerd, and the latter from dragging in stray or injured pets to nurse back to health, and friends who are hungry or need to escape an abusive household. Our door is always open to the less fortunate. Brooklyn is a small community, where neighbors are one big happy, albeit dysfunctional family. My interest into the human psyche, communications and health ignite early as I witness the ravages of addiction, and try to understand or save these colorful cast of characters I love. The constant flurry of activity in our home and that of relatives and friends prepares me for feeling perfectly at home the first time I enter a chaotic newsroom. I am used to remaining calm and centered amidst crisis, breaking news and dozens of people speaking at once.


My mother, a homemaker and part-time seamstress from Italy courageously arrives in Brooklyn by plane alone, at the age of sixteen. My father, who she has only met once in Italy, arrives in Brooklyn by boat before her. His sister has already married my mom’s older brother, so they are introduced through family. They write love letters to each other for months, which I later find hidden in a kitchen cabinet, when I climb our washing machine to reach a box of cookies. At the curious age of ten, I immediately recognize my parent’s hand writing, and feel giddy at seeing the word “amore” repeatedly. Each day after school, I look forward to secretly reading more of the Italian letters before mom gets home from work at 3 p.m. I am overjoyed to discover their love for each other.


After six-months of dating, they marry after both families give their blessings. Family approval is mandatory prior to marriage. My father takes whatever work is available when he arrives in America, but the entrepreneur in him is frustrated at each job, so he quits a string of them. Finally, after working in construction in New York City, he saves enough to open an Italian restaurant, where he finally thrives. We reside in a comfortable three-bedroom brick home, as he continues to work a bazillion hours before retirement. He has six siblings. While attending grade school, I am sent home with a letter telling my mother that I must learn to speak English. I know no other language than Italian, but just like my parents, I learn. I grow up within a mile radius of twenty-four cousins, who I adore. We are still close to this day, honoring my grandparents wish for all of us to “love each other”. They ingrain in us an unbreakable lifetime family bond of unconditional love, laughter, joyful traditions, commitment, values and hard work.


In 1984, my parents sacrifice it all to send me to college. The economy rebounds and the United States enters one of the longest periods of sustained economic growth since WW II. My grandparents tell me stories about needing to dig a ditch in their backyard to protect themselves during bomb raids. There is no TV on their farm in Italy, only a fireplace, where they seek warmth and share stories with their eight children. I am told I have it good today because times were tough back then. I watch grandma cook, clean and scrub clothing by hand on a washboard in her bathtub –all with a smile.


In my world, consumer spending is up in response to federal tax cuts. I am given an opportunity my parents never had –to attend college in the greatest city in the world. I work part-time every spare minute at Barnes and Noble Bookstore on Fifth Avenue and Saks Fifth Avenue, earning $8.00 an hour at each job. My earnings since high school, afford me employee discounts on loads of books, and satin blouses with bows, and wide-legged, loose slacks with matching blazers infused with oversized shoulder pads sewn in.


They create the illusion of having broader shoulders, like Walter Payton, the most prolific running back in the history of the NFL, nearly indestructible and infinitely powerful.


It helps me proclaim myself as an equal in the male-dominated workforce of network news.


My nickname during college is Jackie O.


My inspiration for my career choice is from an early love of writing, which garners five stars, as early as grade school at Saint Ephrem, a private Catholic school. I also win awards for creativity in designing graduation brochures, decorating classrooms and painting local store windows during holidays.


I have a natural curiosity about health and news. We do not have a fireplace in our home. Instead, we gather around a brown, Magnavox TV, known as “the cold fire” with an antenna on top, which needs to repeatedly be adjusted to avoid fuzzy programming. Sometimes, I stand there and hold it during an entire show. This is the norm back then.


One Saturday at 9 p.m.in 1970, six-year-old me is inspired watching the first single, independent career woman cast in a leading role on TV. It’s The Mary Tyler Moore Show, an American sitcom created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns, airing on CBS. I watch in awe as Mary applies for a secretarial position on the “Six O’clock News” at the fictional TV station, WJM in Minneapolis. She is told the job is filled. So, she is offered an associate producer position. I’m thrilled. The opening sequence ends with Mary tossing her hat in the air to the theme song, “Love Is All Around.” She looks confident, independent and happy. Then, a cat meows as the MTM logo appears, which tells me a woman can be all that and own her own company too. Fourteen years later, I channel Mary Richard’s enthusiasm to smash the glass ceiling in broadcast news.

Love Is All Around Me.

Or so I think.


In the ‘80’s sad songs about love dominate the airwaves. One song was even called, Sad Songs Say So Much by Elton John. Pat Benatar shouts, Love Is a Battlefield. The number one hit song is Tina Turner’s, What’s Love Got To Do With It? These songs play like a broken record on the radio infusing my mind with the message that love leads to a broken heart. So instead of making love a priority, as my parents and grandparents did, I place my efforts into building a career. I will be different. I will be a career girl just like Mary Richards, even though on my first day at NBC, an anchorman, who is my perceived equal says, “Here kid…Xerox this.”

Clearly, he doesn’t see my Frisbee-size shoulder pads. Yep, I am powerful.


I carry a large can of ACQUANET hairspray to tame my power, bouffant, Jackie O. brunette hairstyle. I am grateful to all the women before me who worked so hard to pave the way for me to me to push through the revolving door at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in my Columbo inspired trench coat and overstuffed briefcase.


It’s the year of “supply side” economics. Ronald Reagan is President of the United States. George Bush is Vice President. Unemployment is at 9.6%. I use my artistic skills to sketch designs of more power suits, which my mom enthusiastically sews for me with linen material on her Sear’s machine. It enables me to dress like Royalty, even though I’m only an unpaid Intern at NBC in New York City.  Anchorwoman at NBC ask where I get my clothing. When I tell them, they offer to pay my Mom any price to make their suits. Mom turns down the offer, saying she prefers working with her friends, who speak Italian at a factory in Brooklyn.


Meantime, in the rest of the world, Japan agrees to impose a voluntary quota on its car exports to the U.S. I read IOCOCCA, the autobiography of Lee Iacocca and MAYOR by Ed Koch. Nancy Reagan reinforces my motto in her 1985, “Just Say No” campaign to educate young Americans about dangers of drug use. Back then, top fashion models like Elle Macpherson run on the beach drinking pink diet TAB during commercials. The message is anyone who drinks diet colas and fits into slim designer jeans like Brooke Shields is healthy, even if they order a diet TAB with what we call “murder burgers’ from White Castle.


Four years later, Oprah goes on a liquid diet for months to fit into her skinny jeans. The world cheers. The movie, FAME moves dancing into gyms. The aerobics craze begins. I own a headband and mimic moves to the song, “She’s a Maniac…maniac on the floor.” Yep, I am fit and healthy.  Or so I think.


Since I already think drinking TAB makes me healthy, it’s time to be WEALTHY. I already feel rich growing up because I always have nice clothing. I have brand new white shoes for church on Sundays, new earth shoes for school, and one pair of sneakers for after school. Mom delights in sewing lots of identical outfits for my sister and me in pastel colors. Jeans are a no-no. I’m told bad kids wear them. Imagine my shock when I first see my cousins Giulia and Angelina wearing (gasp!) Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, while I stand there in plaid pastel pants. Well, at least I’m not a hippie. I am a clean-cut, well-dressed kid with tons of food in the refrigerator and clean linens in a warm, cozy bedroom with all white girly furniture.


I also have a jump rope, polo stick, hoola-hoop and bicycle to keep me active. Today, Mom says I influence her with healthy habits, but back then she influences me. I recall her saying I would not be able to think in school if I did not eat a healthy breakfast. Two boiled or poached eggs were always ready for me. She packs a tuna or turkey sandwich with an apple for lunch, and makes pasta for dinner. If she isn’t around, I know a dish covered with tinfoil waits in the refrigerator for me. I can heat it up myself. I am taught to cook and clean as soon as I can stand on a chair and reach the kitchen sink to wash dishes. I am aware some neighbors are richer because they have a dishwasher. In summers, they also go to something called, “the cabana.”


All I know is the cabana has an in-ground pool. I go to the nearby park with free sprinklers or look out the back window until my neighbor with an above ground pool invites me in. They can only see my sad face pining out the window. What they don’t see is I already have my swimsuit on when they ask me to join them. I still feel rich.


It isn’t until I see the first television show featuring the lives of the wealthy that I feel dirt poor. Suddenly, “…champagne wishes and caviar dreams” enters my mind. Once again, my thoughts are infused and influenced by external influences. I enter the workforce in a new era of celebrity worship. Robin Leach’s “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” brings the extravagant lifestyles of moguls, athletes and entertainers right into our humble living room. I am mesmerized by the lavish homes, fancy cars and opulence. To top that off, I am exposed to the sagas of Dallas oil magnate, J.R. Ewing and his family, and Dynasty, another wealthy Denver family in the oil business. I begin dressing like Krystle Carrington with Billy Joel’s, Uptown Girl playing in my impressionable young mind. Suddenly, New York City represents everything Brooklyn is not.

My parents tell me if I attend Pace University, they can afford the 6K tuition a year, so I don’t have to get a loan. I accept, even though at the time, Pace is an accounting school, and I hate accounting. I will make the best of this privilege. Fortunately, accountants hate journalism, which enables me to stand out, and be placed in Sigma Tau Delta, the National English Honor Society. Uptown girl begins living in her Uptown world.


I also agree to continue to work part-time in Barnes and Noble bookstore as a sales associate (fancy title for working a cash register) to pay for my textbooks. I transfer to the one across the street from Pace University in freshman year. I also continue to work at Saks Fifth Avenue as a “sales associate” in New York City on days off, only so I can be closer to where I really want to work, NBC, the National Broadcasting Company.


NBC is located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, which peaks my interest. Every time I want something my Dad yells, “No…we are not the Rockefeller’s!” Clearly, these Rockefeller people are not average. The average median price of a house in 1984 is 75K. The average rent is $375/month. The average new car cost 9K. A gallon of gas is $1.09 and a movie ticket is $2.75. The median average income is 22K. I want to be ABOVE average, like the people I see on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, Dallas and Dynasty. So, the first time I see a building with the Rockefeller name on it, I am determined to work there. It must be where “…champagne wishes and caviar dreams” come true.


During my lunch hour, I run to 30 Rock to get in line to take the NBC tour. During each tour, a Page asks, “Who wants to be Johnny Carson?” I eagerly raise my hand and get to play Johnny on a mock “Tonight Show” set. When I’m not practicing to be Johnny Carson, I read every book on success while at the bookstore. I am in heaven, having access to the greatest minds of all time. I add Stephen Covey’s, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People to my collection. Success and wealth are at the top of my priority list, more important than personal relationships. When I have free time, I spend it taking ski lessons, getting certified in scuba-diving, learning to sail, water-ski, learning other cultures, write produce, edit, report, sketch and take voice lessons to get rid of my Brooklyn accent. I fear it all.


Fortunately, I read something by Eleanor Roosevelt that stays with me. She says, “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”

These are all things I think I can’t do, so I do them. Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”


Looking backwards, I see my 3 primary values are externally influenced, materialistic, shallow and ego-driven:











The above list is the polar reverse of being HEALTHY WITHIN.  I’m also spiritual. God first.


It would take the loss of every “thing” in my life to gain this wisdom. I reverse all these superficial thoughts and priorities, and return to the intangible values my family instilled in me from the start. I learn self-awareness brings health in mind, body and spirit and self-love, which leads to genuine love and peace in all your relationships. Then, all the rest falls into place. Out of my loss, I gain a spiritual awakening into what it truly means to be healthy and wealthy. I had to journey from darkness into this light. It’s the only time I toss my hat into the air like Mary Richards, to the tune of Love Is All Around.


“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” – Proverb


“The Beauty You See In Others Is Within You.”


Fast forward. 2007. I think the world is over. During this time, I hear the most powerful words ever said to me. They are, “The beauty you see in others is within you.” They are emphatically stated by an elderly woman, who says them to me, as she grips my arms in a crowded store, before vanishing into thin air. She is a stranger. I tremble from the experience. Never, in all my life, have I previously been so conscious of God’s presence.

Her identity later reveals itself.


HEALTHY WITHIN: A STORY ABOUT LOSS AND GAIN is a story about how I redefine the true meaning of health and beauty in the world following a personal tragedy and spiritual encounter. I gain so much wisdom from the experience that I fee; compelled to share it with the world.  Chapters include recognizing major stressors in life that cause illness, healthy coping mechanisms for them and powerful advice on how to fix existing problems in oneself and in the world. It takes you along on my lifelong journey to redefining health from the inside out.  If little “health nerd” me didn’t know the true meaning of health, then I can only imagine what is going through young minds today. These same influences are there.  Time to stop and pay attention.  I believe every person in the world needs to read this book.  It can change the world, making it a healthier place –one person at a time, from the inside out.



“Just had the honor and privilege of pre-reading (proofing) this amazing new book by Maria Dorfner ! It right sides up everything wrong with our current world; offering simple easy things you can do to start living Healthy Within. Compelling, timely insight everyone needs to read now! Highly recommend this wonderful book nominated for the Pulitzer Prize! Awesome work Maria! Carpe Diem. A timely masterful work desperately needed for NOW…for everyone, a must read and share with the world! I Highly recommend it!” -Lisa Ditalia



headshot Maria Dorfner is an award-winning broadcast journalist with three decades of experience working in media specializing in health.  MedCrunch is her blog.  She can be reached at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com

Coping with Grief

Dealing With the Loss of a Loved One

Events like anniversaries or holidays can sometimes prolong or reintroduce grief.

Just after a death or loss, you may feel empty and numb, as if you are in shock. You may notice physical symptoms such as trembling, nausea, difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, dry mouth, or trouble sleeping and eating. You may become angry at a situation, a particular person, or just angry in general. Almost everyone experiencing grief also feels guilt. Guilt is often expressed in statements that begin with “I could have,” “I should have,” and “I wish I would have.” People who are grieving may also have strange dreams or nightmares, be absentminded, withdraw socially, or lack the desire to return to work. While these feelings and behaviors are normal during grief, they will pass.

Grief lasts as long as it takes you to accept and learn to live with your loss. For some people, grief lasts a few months. For others, grieving may take years. Sometimes an anniversary or special holiday, such as Valentine’s Day, may trigger feelings of grief. The length of time spent grieving is different for each person. There are many reasons for the differences, including personality, health, coping style, culture, family background, and life experiences. The time spent grieving also depends on your relationship with the person lost and how prepared you were for the loss.

Every person who experiences a death or other loss must complete a four-step grieving process:

  • Accept the loss
  • Work through and feel the physical and emotional pain of grief
  • Adjust to living in a world without the person or item lost
  • Move on with life

The grieving process is complete when a person completes these important steps.

Just after a death or loss, you may feel empty and numb, as if you are in shock. You may notice physical symptoms such as trembling, nausea, difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, dry mouth, or trouble sleeping and eating. You may become angry at a situation, a particular person, or just angry in general. Almost everyone experiencing grief also feels guilt. Guilt is often expressed in statements that begin with “I could have,” “I should have,” and “I wish I would have.” People who are grieving may also have strange dreams or nightmares, be absentminded, withdraw socially, or lack the desire to return to work. While these feelings and behaviors are normal during grief, they will pass.

Grief lasts as long as it takes you to accept and learn to live with your loss. For some people, grief lasts a few months. For others, grieving may take years. Sometimes an anniversary or special holiday, such as Valentine’s Day, may trigger feelings of grief. The length of time spent grieving is different for each person. There are many reasons for the differences, including personality, health, coping style, culture, family background, and life experiences. The time spent grieving also depends on your relationship with the person lost and how prepared you were for the loss.

Every person who experiences a death or other loss must complete a four-step grieving process:

  • Accept the loss
  • Work through and feel the physical and emotional pain of grief
  • Adjust to living in a world without the person or item lost
  • Move on with life

The grieving process is complete when a person completes these important steps.


Coping with Grief: How to Handle Your Emotions

Traumatic events are a shock to the mind and body, and lead to a variety of emotions. Coping with grief takes time, help from others, and the knowledge that grieving isn’t easy.

Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH
Grief is an emotion that takes time to deal with, but you can get through it and eventually move on. Grieving is a healthy response to tragedy, loss, and sadness, and it’s important to allow yourself time to process your loss.

Coping With Grief: The Range of Emotions

Grief doesn’t just happen after someone dies. Any traumatic event, major life change, or significant loss — a rape, a divorce, even major financial losses — can cause grief. Throughout the grieving process, you may find yourself feeling:

Coping With Grief: Accepting It

“Don’t try to run away from it; rather, face it head on,” advises Sally R. Connolly, a social worker and therapist at the Couples Clinic of Louisville in Louisville, Ky. In more than 30 years of practice, Connolly has helped many individuals and couples deal with grief and various traumatic events.

“Acknowledge that something traumatic has happened and that it has had a profound effect on you,” Connolly advises. Give yourself time to grieve, but seek help when you need it.

Coping With Grief: Finding Help

You may want some time alone to process your thoughts and struggle with your grief, but it’s important to recognize when you need help from others.

“You might need more help if you find that, after some time, you are not able to get back to normal activities, you have trouble sleeping or eating, or have thoughts and feelings that interfere with everyday life,” says Connolly.

A grief counselor or other therapist may be able to help you cope with grief, and finally start to move past it. Getting your grief out in the open is an important first step.

“Talk about it with someone — a friend, family, a support group. Support groups can be wonderful,” Connolly says. There, you can relate to other people who understand your situation, and you can get advice on what helped them through their grief.

Of course, expressing your emotions doesn’t have to be done out loud. “Write about it,” suggests Connolly. Rather than allowing thoughts to swirl in your head, put them down on paper. This is a great way of getting out your feelings if you are shy or embarrassed about sharing them with another person.

Coping With Grief: Getting Closure

Closure is also an important part of coping with grief and may help you move through the grieving process.

“Depending on the event, developing a ritual to say farewell may be helpful. We have funerals when someone dies and they are a healthy step on the road to acceptance. Rituals can be helpful for other traumas as well,” Connolly says.

Coping With Grief: When Will I Feel Better?

There is no set timeline for grieving. And unfortunately, you may never completely get over your loss. But your loss shouldn’t keep you from enjoying life, even with occasional periods of sadness.

“Let yourself grieve as long as you need to. You do have to resume normal life, but know that it’s going to take a while,” says Connolly.

Look for small signs that you’re coping with grief and getting past it. “Happy times signal that you’re progressing,” she says. When you realize that you aren’t always dwelling on the sadness or don’t think about it as frequently as you once did, that means that you’re finally moving on — at your own pace.

Your mind and body need time to grieve after a traumatic event. If you deprive yourself of the grieving process, you may find that you have more difficulty accepting what has happened or that unresolved feelings and issues may flare up later on. Allow yourself to feel sad and even selfish; eventually you’ll find yourself feeling better a little bit at a time. Even though part of you may always feel sad about your loss, you’ll find yourself happy and laughing again one day.

[Source: http://www.everydayhealth.com

Related Articles

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), emotionally healthy individuals have a capacity to process and express their emotional experiences in a productive way that reduces stress. Many life transitions, both positive and negative, can produce a sense of loss, sadness and anger. Acknowledging sadness and seeking support through difficult times can be critical to stress management and physical health.

Emotional Health

Experts at the American Academy of Family Physicians note that emotional health is defined by how people handle difficult emotions. For example, many of life’s challenges, such as the loss of a job or death of a family member, can leave us with a marked sense of sadness and even anger. Doctors note that the expression of these feelings is critical to maintaining stability both physically and emotionally. When we feel sad it important to express those feelings to others in appropriate ways or use activities such as meditation or exercise to release the built-up stress.

The Mind/Body Connection

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, our bodies react to the way we feel. If we are sad or stressed about a situation, our bodies might respond with a variety of physical systems, such as headaches, difficulty sleeping, and weight loss or weight gain. When we monitor our emotions and identify how we feel, we can choose effective tools to care for our health. When people do not acknowledge and work through emotions such as sadness, they can often develop unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as overeating or substance abuse to avoid the difficult feelings or to find a sense of comfort.

Coping with Sadness

Dr. Edward T. Creagan of the Mayo Clinic suggests that people take particular care of their health in the aftermath of a sad or upsetting event. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, and talking to trusted friends or a counselor are all helpful tools for coping with sadness. When people use these methods for self-care, they often find that the period of sadness passes within a reasonable amount of time.

Sadness and Depression

When sadness is not expressed or processed in healthy ways, it often can lead to depression. The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that this is particularly common among people who use alcohol or drugs to cope with sad feelings. Many of these substances depress the central nervous system and leave the individual feeling increasingly more depressed. People having a particularly difficult time with persistent feelings of sadness should consider consulting a medical professional or therapist for additional support.

Treatment for Emotional Issues

People who struggle with healthy management of emotions often find that they benefit from counseling or support groups. Doctors at the American Academy of Family Physicians note that sadness, when not processed and communicated, can lead to destructive emotional patterns, such as anger management issues. By working with professional counselors or peer support groups, people can learn to identify how they feel and how to cope in healthy ways.


Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/180006-how-is-sadness-healthy/#ixzz1rC1fjlcD


Is Crying Healthy?

When emotions overtake you, crying can be a healthy emotional release. But not all environments are conducive to alleviating sadness or expressing relief.

Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH

The notion that big boys or big girls don’t cry is a persistent idea fed by popular sayings, but psychologists and researchers say that it’s just not so. Shedding tears can be a huge and very healthy emotional release, particularly if you are experiencing deep pain, sadness, anger, or stress.

One study analyzed 140 years of popular articles about crying and found that more than 9 in 10 found tears to be a good way to release pent-up feelings. An international sample of men and women from 30 countries found that most reported feeling relief after a good cry. And about 70 percent of therapists say they believe crying is good for their patients.

Crying as Catharsis

The main benefit of crying is catharsis, or a purging or purification of your feelings through emotional release. When you cry, you can let go of the tension and sadness and other emotions that have been causing you pain. In many ways, crying serves as a safety valve that allows you to blow off emotions that have built up too much pressure inside you.

It’s been difficult for researchers to figure out how this works. When tears are induced in a laboratory setting — for example, having subjects watch a sad movie — more often than not the participants report that they feel worse rather than better.

Despite this, people consistently report that a good cry makes them feel better. One recent study reviewing more than 3,000 detailed reports of recent crying episodes found that most people reported an improvement in their mood afterward. Another study of 196 Dutch women found that nearly 9 in 10 said they felt better after crying.

Another benefit of crying is that it can bring people closer. An Israeli researcher studying the evolutionary aspects of crying has speculated that shedding tears communicates vulnerability to others, since the tears blur your vision and leaves you defenseless. A person who cares for you while you are in this weakened state can grow closer to you, and the bond between the two of you may grow stronger.

Have a Healthy Cry

Research has found that for crying to improve emotional health, certain conditions need to be met:

  • You should have a shoulder to cry on. People who receive social support while crying report more cathartic release than people who cry alone. Find a friend or loved one you trust.
  • You should cry after you’ve solved the problem. People feel better when they cry about a problem that’s already been resolved. If you cry before you’ve dealt with the situation that’s making you feel like crying, you are likely to receive no benefit or actually make yourself feel worse rather than better.
  • You need to make sure you’re crying in an appropriate place. People who experience shame or embarrassment while they cry are less likely to report an improvement of their mood. If you’re going to feel bad about crying in a public place or in front of certain people, you need to hold back your tears and go somewhere else.
  • Crying likely won’t help you if you are living with a mood disorder. People who live with clinical depression or anxiety disorders are less likely to feel better after they have a good cry. If you find yourself feeling worse after crying, you should see a doctor or therapist to see if you have a mood disorder.

But if you can’t stop the tears from falling, go ahead and let it all out — the odds are you’ll feel better afterward.