There’s nothing wrong with having a good cry every now and then. But when the waterworks start popping up at the most inconvenient of times – that uncomfortable performance review at work, that argument with your SO, that unplanned meltdown to your Chinese food delivery guy (oops) – the prospect of learning to control your tears starts to sound pretty darn good.
Now, we know what you might be thinking. Control my tears? What am I, a robot?
Well, no. But just because you’re not an emotionless hunk of machinery doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t stop yourself (and your social reputation) from being at the whim of your uncontrollable tears.
So, how exactly does one go about controlling the waterworks, you ask? Well, there are a few different tricks and tactics that you can employ depending on when you’re using them. To that end, here are a few of the go-to tear-curbing tactics to use before walking into a potentially tear-jerking situation or during an unexpected moment cry-inducing encounter.
Before dealing with a potentially tear-jerking event…
Maybe you’re about to have a tough meeting with your boss at work, or maybe you’re going to be having a tough conversation with a close friend later. Whatever the situation, there are plenty of tough situations that you can anticipate ahead of time. For those, try a pre-situation trick to keep the tears from falling. For example, you could let out a good cry before the situation or conflict. In approach, this allows you to let out the reactive emotions before the fact, and if you don’t have the pent up tears bottled up when you enter into the situation, it becomes a lot more likely that you won’t feel the urge to start crying during the fact. Another trick? Practice the situation. Yes, this might feel a bit silly, but going into a potentially uncomfortable situation prepared is a surefire way to keep yourself together. This might mean making a plan about what you’re going to say, or having an idea of what you’ll do or say in the event that things go a certain way.
While dealing with an unexpected tear-jerking event…
Okay, so that’s all well and good if you’re anticipating an uncomfortable situation, but what happens when you’re caught off guard and feel the waterworks coming on? Fret not – there are a few tactics you can use in that situation, too. For starters, just breathe. When we’re overwhelmed, a lot of us forget to just breathe deeply in the moment, which can actually work wonders on relaxing your mind and your emotions. You can even try doing a little bit of simple math to help activate the left side of the brain, which is less-associated with emotional response and could balance out the amplified activity of the right side at that moment. You can also try a physical trick as opposed to psychological; something like pinching yourself or biting the inside of your cheek. Little actions like this might be distracting enough to keep you from welling up when you least expect it. Another little trick? Pushing your tongue up against the roof of your mouth, which can stop tears in their tracks