Do you like chocolate? If not, feel free to skip this blog post as you’ll probably struggle to relate.

Just kidding! But seriously, I’m a serious chocolate fiend. Which is one of the reasons why I include raw cacao in my smoothie every morning and keep a stash of 85-90% in my kitchen at all times.

But every once in a while, like when I’m at the airport walking through duty-free, l’ll need another fix. Green & Black’s velvet chocolate bar with pieces of Yorkshire Caramel and flakes of Anglesey sea salt? Yes, please.

Usually I’ll have a square (or two) and put it in my bag for safe keeping. But a couple weeks ago, as I was sitting in the departures lounge, waiting to see what gate I would need to go to for takeoff, I couldn’t stop. I found myself breaking off another piece, then folding down the foil, putting it away . . . only to reopen everything and break off another square again.

And before I knew it, the taste of the salted caramel had been replaced with something else: the taste of my salty tears.

A luxury chocolate bar may offer quick relief for those feelings we’d rather avoid, but it doesn’t give us what we really need: RELEASE.

When we cry, we release stress hormones. Like, they’ve actually found stress hormones present in our tears. As stress hormones go down, feel good chemicals like endorphins and oxytocin go up, activating our parasympathetic nervous system and making us feel immediately soothed.

That day at the airport, I wasn’t stressed out, but I was definitely stressed. Remember, stress is the body’s reaction to any change that results in physical, mental, or emotional tension. Waking up at 4.30 in the morning, leaving my boyfriend’s house at 6AM, kissing him goodbye on the train platform and watching him fade away as we pulled out of the station. Hello! Does any of that sound like a good time?

As much as we can tell ourselves things like, “It’s fine. This is no big deal. Cheer up, buttercup.” The body knows. And the body’s always keeping score.

Sometimes we need chocolate. Sometimes we need tears. And on certain days, we need both.

When was the last time you had a good cry? If you’ve been feeling stressed lately (or find yourself reaching for the salted caramel chocolate bar a little more than you’d like) don’t forget the power of your tears.