How Can I Function When I Feel Like Crying?
By Marie Miguel
Updated July 29, 2019
Reviewer Dawn Brown
Everyone cries. It's the first thing we did when we were brought into this world. However, as we get older, we try to control our emotions like anger and sadness which make us cry. After all, we cannot go around crying all the time. However, there are ways you can cry productively, so you can get on with your life as normal as you possibly can.
Why Are You Crying?
First, you have to determine why you are crying. If you don't know why, then, you need to see your physician. Make sure that you don't have an underlying medical condition like hypothyroidism or a vitamin deficiency problem that is causing you to tear up. Sometimes, you may just need to eat better or sleep more. It is best to have a complete physical examination to be sure though. If you cannot figure out why you are crying, then, you will have a hard time dealing with things. Just remember that it is always possible to continue functioning.
Keeping Track of Your Emotions
You can try writing things down every day to keep track of your moods on a daily basis. Just like writing in a journal, writing about your feelings can be good in more ways than one. First of all, it helps keep track of your moods. Second, it helps by letting these feelings come out in the open just like when talking to a therapist. It also lets you see what is bothering you. Sometimes, you don't even realize how you feel until you see it in writing. Letting it all out by writing it down brings a bit of relief and gives you the opportunity to see everything in black and white.
Pretend to Be Happy
Believe it or not, pretending to feel happy can actually make you feel happy. Studies have shown that smiling can make you happy by relaxing the muscles of the face. In addition, smiling and pretending to be happy also encourages others around you to smile and feel happy, which creates a pleasant surrounding for everyone. Another study was done which gave evidence that not being able to frown makes you feel happier. This was done by giving the test recipients Botox shots to keep them from being able to frown and these recipients all had less negative feelings than the group that was able to frown.
Get Out of Bed
Many people who find themselves crying a lot have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning. They just want to stay under the covers and hide from the world. This is one of the worst things you can do. Regardless of how you feel, you have to find the motivation to get out of bed, shower, get dressed, and do something. Keeping your normal routine may not be comfortable for you, but you have to try and continue with life to keep your brain chemicals properly flowing.
Take Little Steps
You do not have to jump up and rush off to work like everything is normal because the truth remains - everything is not normal for you. Try taking things one small step at a time. Just tell yourself "all I have to do is get out of bed" and then after that you can say "all I have to do is take a shower" and "all I have to do is get dressed" and so on. Breaking things down into smaller steps makes it manageable.
Talk to Someone
You should talk to someone who understands what you are going through. Talking helps get your feelings out in the open. Sometimes, saying things out loud will make you feel better. It can take the weight off your shoulders. There are licensed therapistsand psychologists online that can help you. Give it a try today and you may feel better right away.
Identify the Root Cause and the Triggers
Often, when people cry a lot or just feel like crying, the problem started years before. Maybe you didn't learn how to express sadness any other way. Perhaps you've buried a childhood trauma that is now coming to the surface. Sadness can come from past or current events, but it can also come from an existing mood disorder or depression. Even if you've never considered that you might have a mental health challenge, now is a good time to find out if your symptoms are consistent with such a diagnosis.
Triggers happen in specific moments in time, right before the urge to cry hits you. Sometimes your five senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell deliver the trigger. It can be a sensory signal that was associated with a past loss or trauma. Other triggers can be certain words or phrases that others speak which have a sad meaning for you. At times, even a simple thought that passes through your mind sets off the tears.
A counselor can use a variety of techniques to help you identify the triggers. You can't avoid life, but you can be ready for the emotions before they come by understanding that the triggers will be present in a certain situation or place. Mindfulness techniques teach you to be aware in the present moment, wherever you are. This focus on what is happening here and now is sometimes enough to help you break free of your sadness.
Once you deal with the momentary challenges you face when a trigger is present, the counselor can help you find the cause behind the tears. This could take some time and patience, especially if you've avoided thinking about and dealing with it for a long time. The best way to speed up the process is to commit yourself to getting better.
It might surprise you to learn that not all people are willing to do the work to stop the crying. Besides the effort it would take, they might be getting some benefit from being on the verge of tears all the time. They may get more attention from others, get out of doing difficult things, or avoid circumstances that are uncomfortable. Don't be confused: these benefits are not why the person cries, but they can indeed be a hindrance to overcoming the problem. If you examine yourself honestly and realize this is a problem for you, a licensed therapist can teach you ways to get beyond the roadblock of mixed intentions.
Tears that Come from Anger
Tears of anger may come if you've never learned how to deal with this difficult emotion. They may feel like sadness in the moment, but as you talk with your counselor about what triggers you, you might discover the true anger behind the tears.
You might have been punished for expressing anger or even intentionally shamed for not being able to control it. When you don't know how to give yourself permission to feel anger, the emotion can be overwhelming. As the anger builds, you feel out of control or inferior because you see this as a problem you're not strong enough, smart enough, or mentally healthy enough to solve. The good news is that a therapist can help you manage your anger in constructive and socially-acceptable ways.
Few parents teach their children anything about anger except to avoid it. On the other hand, some parents, trying to teach their child that anger is okay, go too far the other way. They teach their children to let out their anger wherever they are. Unfortunately, as several studies have now shown, children who are encouraged to let out their anger by taking it out on a punching bag or other inanimate object may actually increase their anger instead of diminishing it. What you need is a way to accept your anger nonjudgmentally and express it in ways that don't increase it, hurt someone, or destroy property. When you understand your anger and become more familiar with it, you can feel more confident about using it appropriately. You can learn that anger doesn't have to be dangerous so that it feels less overwhelming when you experience it.
Tears of Physical or Emotional Exhaustion
You might be crying simply because you're too tired to manage your work, home life, and social activities. Most people have busy lives. Their activity takes physical strength and endurance, but they don't have time to build either. You may have a vitamin deficiency that's making you weaker or more vulnerable to illness. In fact, you may have a physical ailment you aren't even aware of.
Before you jump to the conclusion that your tears are from sadness or anger, explore the possibility that you need to take a break from the daily grind. Go to bed a bit earlier than usual to get a longer night's sleep. Eat healthy foods. Stay at a quiet bed and breakfast for a few days or take a trip to a tropical island if that is within your means. The main thing to do at these times is to rest, relax, and replenish your physical resources.
Constant stress can cause a drain on your physical well-being even as it destroys your peace of mind. Modern life is stressful, but most days people have no physical outlet for their stress unless they actively seek it at a gym or in a sport. As the stress builds up, you can become emotionally exhausted. The slightest thing can set off the tears. You feel like you can't deal with one single additional problem, but problems do come.
A counselor can teach you stress management techniques and follow your progress to give you additional pointers. They can help you tone down your expectations and set more reasonable goals for yourself. By alleviating some of the stress, your body and mind can begin to recover, and the tears may end as a natural result.
The most common reason for excessive tears is dealing with some kind of loss. It can be a foreclosure, the loss of a job, the death of a pet, or the loss of a loved one. The tears are natural, of course, and they are usually necessary as a healthy stage of grief. However, you still have to take care of your personal business. You need to keep active and avoid becoming isolated. A grief counselor can help you get through this and other stages of grief without neglecting your job, finances or family. The tears will likely come. What you need to learn is that it's okay and it doesn't stop you from functioning in the real world as you must.
Getting Started in Counseling
The best time to start counseling is as soon as you realize there's a problem and find help. Yet, no matter how long it's been since you started feeling the urge to cry, you can always choose to seek help. Look for a counselor in your local area. Or, you can talk to a therapist online at Better Help when you're ready. It takes only a few moments to set up the service, and you can begin to feel more in control almost immediately.