There is nothing worse when you are in an emotional situation, and you can feel yourself welling up, but you really don’t want to.
It could be on a first date – perhaps you see a movie that makes you sad. It could be in a fight with your partner where you get so frustrated you just cry instead of calmly talking about the way you feel. It could be at work where someone speaks too bluntly, and your feelings get hurt.
How to stop yourself from crying
Whatever the circumstances, that feeling that you might cry can be very powerful and difficult to stop. However, the good news is there are plenty of methods to try to help get back in control of your emotions and stop yourself from crying when you don’t want to.
So, next time you feel yourself welling up, why not try one of these 14 methods for how to stop yourself from crying?
#1 Go for a walk. Okay, so this may not be easy to do in some circumstances. But if you are able to, then taking a short walk to clear your head, getting some fresh air, and reasoning with yourself can work wonders.
#2 Distract yourself. Focus on something other then what is making you upset. If you dwell on it, it will become almost impossible not to cry. However, by tricking the brain into thinking about something else you can probably stop yourself from crying.
List all the street names you can remember in your city, stare at the lines on your hands, or focus on reading those meeting papers or a book or magazine. If you can focus your attention away from the source of your tears for more than a minute, then you should be able to get back in control.
#3 Pinch yourself. Another great way to distract yourself is by pinching yourself or giving yourself a short, sharp shock. Dig your nails into the palms of your hands, squeeze your hands together, or punch the tops of your thighs.
Doing this will make your brain focus on the pain rather than what is upsetting you, and you’ll, therefore, be able to regain control.
#4 Change your breathing. Focusing on your breathing is another great way to help you stay calm and become relaxed. When you feel yourself welling up, try just taking several deep breaths, exhaling each time slowly. Breathing into a paper bag can also help. If you concentrate on your breathing, you’ll soon find yourself relaxing, and feeling more calm, and the urge to cry should also fade away.
#5 Move your eyes. Moving your eyes around can also stop the tears from falling. Moving your eyes around actually controls the tears, so they are less likely to fall from your eyes. Blinking quickly can also help control tears, but there is a point if your tear ducts are already full that blinking will only make them spill out instead.
#6 Press your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth or behind the front of your teeth is another good way to stop yourself from crying, so if you feel yourself welling up, try this subtle method and see if it works!
#7 Squeeze something. Squeezing an object can also help you remain in control when you feel as though you want to cry. If you have something designed for squeezing, like a stress ball, all the better! However, a jumper, shirt, or anything you can get your hands on should be just as effective.
#8 Relax your face. We carry many emotions in our facial expressions. If you are about to cry, your face tends to tense up, your brow furrows, your mouth tightens, and so on. If you can, try to relax your facial muscles and this could prevent you from crying.
#9 Smile. Some research has shown that just the act of smiling can help you feel happier, and can prevent you from crying. Obviously, this may look at little odd depending on the circumstances, but if you can, try broadly smiling for a while to see if that helps.
#10 Drink water. That pesky lump-in-the-throat feeling is one of the sure-fire ways we can tell that we are about to start crying. Sipping on some water or any other kind of drink can help make it go away, and with it, the feeling that you are about to cry!
#11 Yawn. Yawning is another useful way to diminish the feeling that you have a lump in your throat. Purposefully yawing also distracts you from crying, so it can be doubly effective too!
#12 Write your feelings down. We all want to cry for many different reasons, and sometimes examining the cause of the problem will help us get to the bottom of it… and for you to move on. Write a diary or journal and be honest with your feelings. Doing this can really help you tackle those feelings of heightened emotions and feel better about them too.
#13 Understand why you are crying. Lots of people cry not because they are feeling sad, but because they cannot express themselves properly. If you can figure out exactly why it is you feel the need to cry, you can learn how to control those tears.
If you cry when you are angry, for example, you need to find a way to express that anger in a more logical and rational way. If you cry when you are feeling frustrated, you need to understand how to speak up and explain yourself without crying.
# 14 Let yourself cry. Sometimes just letting it out is the only good option. Crying can actually be very therapeutic, and while there very well may be situations where you really don’t want to cry because it would be embarrassing, or because you want to deal with your emotions better.
It is also important to remember that crying is okay! Even if you manage to stop yourself from crying in that particular moment, you may end up feeling sad again about the same issue at another point in time.