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How to Not Cry: 21 Fastest Ways to Stop Those Mad or Sad Tears

Crying is something that all humans do. However, there are moments when it’s okay to cry and others when you’re dying to know how to not cry.

how to not cry

If you’re wondering how to not cry and hold those tears back, that’s completely okay. But at the same time, remember that the old attitude of crying being a weak emotional response is old news. Get with the times, people – all of us cry. In fact, it’s actually healthy to cry as it balances your emotions and relieves stress.

Crying is nothing to be ashamed of, but it can be a real bummer in the wrong moments. So, when you want to save the tears for later, learn how to not cry.

[Read: How to stop crying, heal yourself from within and find true happiness]

Why do we cry when we’re mad or sad

Before we get to the part about how to not cry, let’s quickly understand why we cry in the first place, and why it’s not such a bad thing at all.

Crying is your body’s natural and most efficient way of releasing stress hormones. Tears cause your body to release endorphins, which is a feel-good hormone that makes you happier, and instantly reduces any kind of physical and emotional pain in the body.

So, when you find yourself crying at the most random of times, or when you’re really mad, know that letting out a good cry is never bad. In fact, you WILL feel a lot better and happier as soon as you shed those tears.

Of course, there may be a few instances when you want to hold back those tears back for a few more minutes because you just don’t want to cry at that moment. And that’s completely oky! For that, we have all the things you can do to hold those tears back.

Why you don’t want to cry in that moment

The thing is, crying isn’t always the most appropriate. Sure, if you’re alone, with family, or with your partner, cry away. But if you’re upset at work, during an interview, or in public, you may want to hold back the tears until you can let it all out in private.

Whether you’re feeling extra emotional due to hormones or stress, it can be hard to pull back those emotions. If your boss yelled at you, you were embarrassed or even saw something cute or sad, you may start tearing up. You don’t want to let your boss, coworkers, or strangers see you cry, so you need to find a way to stop it before everyone notices.

Even though there is nothing wrong with crying, you don’t want to get a reputation for crying on the job. Crying shows you feel comfortable in your emotions. It actually portrays strength, not weakness.

But when you want to keep the waterworks private, there are some ways how to not cry. [Read: How to let out all those tears for a good cry therapy session]

How to not cry and hold those tears back

You have the right to decide when and where you’re going to cry, right? Well, if you don’t know how to control your tears, you may be showing them at times when you wish you weren’t.

You don’t have to be the watery-eyed one in the room, so if you want to know how to not cry and hold your teary eyes up high, here are some tips that’ll help you.

1. Breathe

Ah yes, just like in the movies. “Just breathe, God, damn it!” Well, now it’s your turn to focus on it. You need to breathe.

Focus on your breathing by taking long, deep breaths. If you’re having problems focusing on your breathing, try to focus your attention on someone else’s breathing.

When you cry, your breathing distorts, and you tend to gasp for air. Try to slow down your breathing. Focus on that, so you aren’t stuck on crying. [Read: How to stay calm and get those inside voices out of your head]

2. Pinch yourself

Crying is hard to control because it’s a psychological response. So, you can control it by using a physical distraction.

If you want to know how to stop crying, pinch yourself. Surprisingly, it’ll distract you, and you’ll be focusing on the physical pain instead. Now, don’t get too crazy with the pain part. All you need is a quick pinch.

3. Tense your muscles

If you want to control the tears, try tensing your muscles. When people cry, it signifies that they’re feeling passive and helpless. Therefore, you want to do the opposite.

By tightening your muscles, it’ll make you feel more in control, and thus, prevent you from trying. You can even try squeezing a stress ball when you feel the tears welling up, it works like a charm!

4. Drink something cold

This is kind of a weird tip for learning how to not cry at the wrong moments, but bear with us. The facial nerve stimulates your tears. So, what you want to do is stimulate the facial nerve with another sensation.

So, get yourself a glass of really cold water and start guzzling it down. It’ll stimulate the facial nerve branches and remove the attention from the one that’s just about to make you cry a river.

5. Step back

Obviously, there’s something in your surroundings that’s making you upset. So, if you can, try to remove yourself from the situation.

Try to avoid situations that will bring up these emotions for a while until you settle down. It’s not worth it. [Read: How to be emotionless – 16 ways to lose feelings and gain control]

6. Pay attention to your thoughts

What’s making you cry? Why do you cry when you see two people hug or when your dog licks your face? Is there some childhood connection to these emotions?

Ask yourself these questions so that you’ll be able to become self-aware. That way, the next time a similar situation happens, you’ll know the triggers.

7. Move your eyeballs

This one may sound and look a little odd, but if it works, why not? Moving your eyeballs around can actually help prevent you from crying.

That’s right, you may get a couple of weird looks, but wiggle or wink those babies everywhere. Whatever allows you stop the tears. [Read: Crying during sex? What it means and how you can end those tears]

8. Physical movement

Don’t stay seated in your chair. That’ll only make it worse. You need to get up and move around, clean your room, or go for a coffee break.

By walking around and moving your body, you’ll be able to distract yourself. Your main goal is to keep your mind off the trigger.

9. Get the lump out of your throat

You know the lump we’re talking about. That lump is causing all the problems. When you’re just about to cry, you can feel it develop in your throat. If you want to stop yourself just in time, you have to get rid of the lump.

So, take short sips of water, yawn, or swallow slowly. You can even try coughing to break it up. [Read: When a woman is crying – the gentleman’s dos and don’ts]

10. Don’t listen to happy music

You probably believe that putting on upbeat music would not be one of our tips for how to stop crying, but it usually evokes tears for most people. In fact, put on sad music. It’ll help you process your emotions and calm you down.

Fast-paced music does not help you calm down. It could just agitate you further and make you lose control instead of calming you down. The best songs to listen to when you feel like crying are ones where the melody is predictable, slow and steady, and most importantly, simple and easy to listen to.

11. Think of the future

Maybe you just broke up with your partner or lost your job. If you can’t cry at that moment, think of the future and tell yourself that everything will be okay.

You may be freaking out on the inside, but it’ll help you look at the future instead of the current situation. [Read: 15 moves to get over a breakup and move from pouty-land faster]

12. Talk it out

This may sound a little weird, but talking to yourself when you feel like crying can help you calm down, especially if there’s no one else to talk to.

If you have some friends around you, talk to them about how you feel. Verbally releasing your emotions may prevent those tears from coming. Even writing them down can be enough to let out your feelings.

13. Take a break

Whether you feel like you are about to cry in the middle of an argument or a movie, take a break. Pause the movie. Ask to take a break from the fight and return to it in a few minutes, an hour, or even the next day. Your emotions can overtake your calm thinking and make things worse.

When you cry, it pushes arguments too far, or your partner could want to comfort you instead of just speaking honestly. [Read: How to find yourself again after a seriously low point in life]

14. Rationalize

It is hard to think rationally when you are about to cry? Yes, it is, but you can do it. Start with some of the more physical tips, then rethink where you are. Are you overreacting? Is this due to your hormones? Did you eat enough today? Are you tired?

Lots of things can cause you to cry, and understanding the situation you’re in can help block the tears. Will crying help your situation? Make it worse? Do anything to change it?

15. Tilt your head back

Much like looking up, tilting your head back will make gravity do the work for you. Your tears won’t come streaming down your face if your head is tilted back. The tears will fall back and make it harder for the dam of tears to come rolling down.

16. Prepare yourself

If you know you tend to cry when you stand up for yourself or have a deep conversation, try to prepare for it. Think about what you want to say and how you want to come across. Consider all the outcomes. Even write yourself a script or notes, so you don’t get off track. [Read: How to express your feelings and get your point across the right way]

17. Feel your feelings

Your emotions lead to tears. This is not surprising, but sometimes your tears make you avoid your emotions. You are so obsessed with the crying and nose-wiping you forget to just feel. Ease into the anger or sadness or frustration that is leading to the tears. Really acknowledge how you’re feeling and focus on that instead of the crying part.

18. Count

Breathe and count. Count to 8 and start again. This will steady your breathing, get you more oxygen, and calm you down. Even though you are crying and not having a panic attack, this is a proven way to reduce overwhelming feelings, especially ones that show physical symptoms. [Read: Signs of anxiety – How to read them ASAP and handle them better]

19. Notice your surroundings

Refocus your energy away from the situation that’s making you cry, and feel everything. Smell the air. Feel the breeze. What does your shirt feel like? What sort of chair are you sitting in? Do you hear birds or traffic?

Switching up the thoughts and feelings at the forefront of your mind puts you in a new perspective. Sit in reality and notice the facts around you. [Read: How to help someone with anxiety without saying or doing the wrong things]

20. Realize why you feel like crying

Analyze your reasoning for crying. Are you crying because someone said something mean? Are you just feeling emotional? Did you have an overall bad day? Did you get bad news?

Focus on the why, not the how. Instead of worrying about how not to cry, think about why it is happening. It will take you a while to think about this deeply, and in that time, the crying will cease.

21. Let it out

You may be able to stop your tears at that moment, but at some point, you’ll need to let them out. There’s no point keeping those negative feelings locked inside of you. Find a place where you feel comfortable crying, and when you’re alone and feel in control, release those tears. 

Take a warm bath, or watch a chick flick in your bed with a cup of tea. It doesn’t matter how you want. You let it all out. Just do it. You’ll feel much better in the morning.

[Read: Ready for some tears – 20 movies that WILL make you cry]

While it’s essential to release your emotions, sometimes you don’t want to or shouldn’t. So, try out some of these tips for how to not cry the next time you feel mad or sad, and the tears start to build up.

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