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by Anne Showalter

Recently at a routine ophthalmology appointment my doctor told me “All tears are good.” He was referring to moist eyeballs but I laughed because it made me think of Self-Reg and how tears release cortisol and relieve stress!  

Not 24 hours later his words rang true–but with a new meaning.

This time at a routine cancer screening that I was worried about.

Just two years ago my brother was suddenly very sick and died 8 months later. The idea that his otherwise healthy body could produce a monster that quickly zapped his life was a profound shock that still resounds through me daily. My body does not feel as safe or as reliable as it did before. 

Cancer screening tests now terrify me. I shared my fears and their source briefly with the technician. My goal was to let them know that my anxiety had a cause that wasn’t them or the test.  

But on this day the technician began to cry. They conducted the scan, replaced the tools, and sat down with me. Then they shared their own very fresh profound shock. I listened as best I could and answered what they asked. We shared and we cried.

While on the outside it might seem unprofessional that they shared in this way. Behind the scrubs and gown we were both still humans, living and being in a world that sometimes hurts.  

It was a mere five minutes in our days but I have been reflecting on how our mutual co-regulation in that moment was healing for me and they said, helpful to them.

We both felt better. I thanked them for telling me, and wished them much peace as they enter a journey I am on the other side of. They thanked me for speaking because too often we are silent, or careful about the hard stuff.  

But the words were only part of it. The limbic resonance facilitated by tears, eye contact and a shared box of Kleenex, was regulating for us both.  

These were “good tears” of connection through co-regulation.

Learn More About Co-Regulation, Relationships and the Science of Stress with The MEHRIT Centre

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