How to Cry and Let It All Out

Three Parts:Feeling Comfortable With CryingLetting the Tears FlowUsing Tearjerkers to Help You Cry

How long has it been since you last had a good, hard cry? Crying actually makes you feel better right away, because it's your body's method of releasing stress. But if you've gone months or years without crying, it can be hard to remember how to start. Going to a quiet place, freeing yourself from distractions and letting yourself deeply feel emotions will put you in the right state of mind. See Step 1 and beyond to learn techniques that will help your tears flow freely.

Part 1
Feeling Comfortable With Crying

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    Forget what you learned about crying. Were you taught that brave people don't cry? Many people who were raised to hold it all inside have a lot of trouble expressing emotions as adults. But crying is a necessary part of life that actually fosters good mental health. Crying can be an expression of sadness, pain, fear, joy, or just pure emotion, and it's a natural, healthy way to let those emotions run through our bodies.
    • Men tend to have more trouble letting it all out than women do, primarily because men are taught to keep their emotions to themselves. But crying is just as natural for men as it is for women, even if they do it less often. Girls and boys cry the same amount until they reach age 12.[1] When they become adults, men cry 7 times a year on average, while women cry 47 times a year.[2]
    • Crying is in no way a sign of weakness. It's an expression of emotion that has nothing to do with decision making. You can still take brave actions, even if you cry in anticipation. In fact, crying could help you process the emotions you're feeling and think more clearly about what's ahead.
    • Crying is not for babies, contrary to what you might have heard. Children are more likely to cry because they have not yet internalized the idea that there's something wrong with it. But the need to cry does not go away when you grow up.
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    See the benefits of crying. Crying is a way that humans release emotional tension. It's a natural bodily function that happens as a result of emotions building up and needing to be let out.[3] Interestingly, humans are the only mammals that produce tears as a way to express emotion. Crying is actually a survival mechanism that helps us in the following ways:
    • It relieves stress and lowers blood pressure. Over time intense stress and high blood pressure can lead to severe medical problems, and crying helps to mitigate these issues.[4]
    • It's a way to remove toxins that build up when you're upset. Certain chemicals build up in your system when you're stressed, and crying helps to expel them through tears - especially emotional tears, as opposed to tears formed as a result of irritation.[5]
    • It boosts your mood immediately afterward. This isn't just in people's heads - it's a scientific fact. When you cry, your level of manganese gets lower. The buildup of manganese leads to stress and anxiety, so crying is nature's way of easing emotional pain.[6]
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    Figure out why you hold it all in. Now that you know all the good things that come about when you cry, think about what might be stopping your own tears from flowing. If it has been a long time since you've been able to cry, you may need to make a conscious effort to get to the point where you can release your emotions through tears.
    • Do you harbor negative thoughts about crying? If so, try to change your views and see that there's nothing wrong with crying - it's good for you.
    • Do you have trouble expressing feelings in general? Allowing yourself to cry will be a good start for you. Being able to process emotions in this way will help you be more emotional in general.
    • When you push your feelings down and keep yourself from crying, those feelings don't go away. You may feel either angry or numb.
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    Give yourself permission. Letting yourself cry is a way to take better care of yourself. It's a way to honor your feelings instead of denying them and pushing them down. When you cry, you're allowing yourself to be you. Giving yourself this emotional freedom will have a positive effect on your mental health.[7]
    • If you're struggling to allow yourself to express emotion, imagine yourself as a child. Think about how you were free to be yourself then, crying when you felt sad that a fun day had to end, or when you fell off your bike and scraped your knees. The events that make you cry as an adult will be different from those made you burst into tears as a child, but you can still try to recapture that sense of emotional freedom.
    • It might also help to think about how you treat others when they cry. Do you tell them to stop, to hold it in? When your best friend feels overcome and starts crying, you probably give them a hug and encourage them to let it all out. Treating yourself with the same kindness, rather than self-censuring, could help you feel comfortable enough to cry.

Part 2
Letting the Tears Flow

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    Find a good place to cry. Most people who have trouble letting themselves cry prefer to experience their emotions alone, away from others. It can be easier to let yourself truly experience your feelings when you aren't worried about what someone else is thinking. There's certainly nothing wrong with crying in front of others, but you might find it more relaxing to be by yourself at first.
    • Your bedroom might be a good choice, if it's a private, quiet place.
    • If your house has a lot of other people in it, try driving somewhere private so you can cry in the car. But make sure you feel well enough while driving there and back; crying while driving can be dangerous.
    • You can also cry in the shower - no one will hear you there.
    • Being outside might help you free up your mind to process emotions. Look for a private spot in the park or on the beach.
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    Clear your head of distractions. Many people push their feelings aside and bury themselves in distractions to keep from crying. This technique is so effective that it can result in going months or years without crying. At the first sign of sadness, do you tend to turn on the TV and spend the evening laughing at your favorite show? Next time you start feeling down, resist that impulse and allow yourself to feel the emotion. It's the first step to having a good, hard cry.
    • There are many other types of distractions. You might stay late at work every night, spend all your time going out instead of being alone, or read articles online until you fall asleep. Think about what you tend to do when you're not in the mood to feel emotional, and make the decision to stop and focus on your emotions.
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    Think deeply about what's making you sad. Instead of letting your thoughts skip away to something less important, focus your mind on the main emotions swirling around in your head. Just let yourself think through them instead of trying to push them away.
    • If you're sad, think hard about the event that brought about these feelings. Think about how much you wish it hadn't happened, what your life was like before, and what your life will be like from now on. Let yourself understand and feel the loss of what might have been.
    • No matter what strong emotion is causing you to want to cry, think it through and allow it to take a prominent spot in your brain. Observe how much it's stressing you out, and what a relief it would be if the problem would just go away.
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    Let your emotions swell until you cry. Are you starting to feel your throat tighten a little? Don't swallow and force yourself to stop thinking about what's making you sad. Instead, let your emotions overcome you. Keep thinking about what you wish hadn't happened. When the tears start to flow, don't resist them.
    • Once you really start crying, it'll probably be hard to stop. Keep crying until you've "let it all out" - you'll know when you're done.
    • The average length of a bout of crying is six minutes.[8]
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    Feel better. When you're finished crying, think about how you feel. If you're like most people, you'll find that your brain feels a bit freer of the emotion that was bogging you down. You might not feel joyful right away, but you probably feel calmer, less anxious, and ready to take on your problems. Hold onto that feeling, and get into the habit of crying when you need to. It'll get easier with practice.
    • According to one study, 85% of women report feeling better after crying, while 73% of men do.[9]
    • If you don't feel good after crying, consider why. It can be hard to shake off years of being told that crying is weak, and so on. If you're embarrassed that you cried, try to remember that it's completely natural and healthy.

Part 3
Using Tearjerkers to Help You Cry

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    Look at old pictures. This is a surefire way to get the tears flowing if you're sad about a particular person, your family, or how much life has changed. Go through an old photo album or pull up pictures online and allow yourself to gaze at each one for as long as you want. Remember the good times you had with the people in the pictures, or how much you loved a particular place.
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    Watch a sad movie. It can be very cathartic to watch a movie with a plot so sad it makes you cry. Even if the actors are in a situation completely different from yours, watching them go through sad times and cry themselves might help turn on your tears. When you do start crying during a movie, let your thoughts turn to your situation, so you can process your feelings about your own life. If you need suggestions for a sad movie to watch, try these:
    • Steel Magnolias
    • Stella Dallas
    • Breaking the Waves
    • Blue Valentine
    • Rudy
    • The Green Mile
    • Schindler's List
    • Titanic
    • The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
    • My Girl
    • Marley And Me
    • The Book Thief
    • Room
    • Romeo + Juliet
    • The Notebook
    • The Fault in Our Stars
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    Listen to emotional music. The right music can be the perfect way to help your emotions loom larger in your brain. One of the best ways to use music to help you cry is to pick an album or song you listened to at a different time in your life, or one that reminds you strongly of someone who is gone. If there's no particular song or artist who fits the bill, try one of these extremely sad songs:
    • "Not the Love We Dream Of" - Gary Numan
    • "Lost" - Gary Numan
    • "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" - Hank Williams
    • "Hurt" - Johnny Cash
    • "Tears in Heaven" - Eric Clapton
    • "On My Own" - Les Misérables
    • "Jolene" - Dolly Parton
    • "Say it Like You Mean It" - Matchbook Romance
    • "I've Been Loving You Too Long" - Otis Redding
    • "How Could This Happen To Me" - Simple Plan
    • "I Know You Care" - Ellie Goulding
    • "Goodbye My Lover"- James Blunt
    • "Carry You Home"- James Blunt
    • "All By Myself"- Celine Dion
    • "My Heart Will Go On" - Celine Dion
    • Young and Beautiful" - Lana Del Rey
    • The Ice Is Getting Thinner - Death Cab for Cutie
    • "Too Late"- M83
    • "With Light There is Hope" - Princess One Point Five
    • "Apologize" - One Republic
    • "Night Owl" - Gerry Rafferty
    • "Cry Like a Rainstorm" - Linda Ronstadt
    • "Shot" - Rochelle Jordan
    • "The Call" - Regina Spektor
    • "Blue Lips" - Regina Spektor
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    Write down your feelings. Put a pen to paper and try to capture the essence of your feelings. You can start by writing down a description of the source of your emotions. Describe the ins and outs of your breakup, discuss the last few months of your father's illness, write about how you lost your job at the start of the recession. Then go deeper and write about how that event has changed your life, and what you're feeling as a result. Writing down memories is also a good way to bring yourself to the point of tears.[10]
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    Confide in a friend if you are comfortable with it. It can really help to talk to someone else about what made you sad, angry, or overwhelmed. Discuss your feelings until you have nothing left to talk about or cry about.


  • There's nothing wrong with crying. It doesn't mean you're weak. Tears are a sign of strength. Remember this, "We don't fall apart, we fall together."
  • Crying does not show weakness.
  • There's no reason to be embarrassed about crying, we all do it.
  • Take a bottle of water and plenty of tissues with you, as you probably will need both.
  • If you need to cry at school, go somewhere as private as possible, such as under the bleachers, in the locker room (unless there is going to be a gym class), or the auditorium (unless there will be classes).
  • If you are feeling down, get someone who is closest to you, a friend or family member, and tell them what's wrong. Just let it all out. Crying is not a sign of weakness!
  • If you have the time, do something afterward to make you feel happy again.
  • Don't tell people to "go away" when you're crying, let your friend do the talking.
  • Know that there will always be another day and people will forget you were crying.
  • Talk to people about your emotions instead of bottling them up! They'd be happy to help you out.
  • If you need to cry in class, you can lower your face, or cover your face with a book. Don't make noises or sob. Try not to sniffle, either. Keep a tissue handy, and quickly wipe each tear away as soon as it hits your skin. If you've got long hair or bangs, hide your most-teary eye with them.
  • Keep a few sad songs in your ipod or cell phone and play them while you are crying.
  • If it makes you feel more comfortable, do it alone.
  • Don't be afraid to cry. Theres nothing wrong with it really.
  • Remember self harm is no way to help the pain.
  • Tell a trusted member your thoughts. Don't keep them inside you.
  • Make sure you get a soft tissue, a towel or anything absorbent that will stop the tears from possibly flowing down to your desk or table.
  • Run into your room and cry there, it helps.
  • Crying isn't a sign of weakness. It will help yourself and others instead of bottling it up. If you prefer, cry with a trusted person such as your mother, or best friend.
  • If you are crying and your parents don't allow it, then just cry quietly but dont hold it in. Also, an alternative is to just cry outside privately, or at least without bullies or your parent or guardian watching.
  • It is okay to cry, even if it is about a small problem. Just let some stress of that event (or ect.) disappear.


  • Don't cry in front of the group of people with whom you are fighting. Cry with someone you trust or when you're alone.
  • Make sure you have waterproof mascara on if you think you might cry on a date.
  • If you choose an off-limits area at school or work to cry, you might get into trouble!

Things You'll Need

  • Tissues
  • A friend and/or someone that you can always trust
  • Water to wipe your face and/or make-up off

Article Info

Categories: Crying