Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

What should I do if I end up crying, and I find myself struggling to breathe?

279 Answers
Last Updated: 02/26/2022 at 1:36pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Alex DS Ellis, MA, LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

Feeling depressed or anxious can be so overwhelming. I want to help you feel better and be able to enjoy life. You are not alone and you deserve emotional support.

Top Rated Answers
August 26th, 2021 1:02am
i am so sorry to hear you find yourself in this situation! I understand that not being able to breathe can be super scary but the best thing to do is stay calm because if you work yourself up it’s just going to get worse. you can try breathing exercises to help get your breath under control. there are a couple of breathing exercises that you could do so you can find one that works the best for you. another thing to do is if at all possible sit or lay down and just take a break for a few minutes. this will help all you down physically and mentally. i hope this helps!
October 15th, 2021 10:23pm
I find it hard to employ breathing and grounding techniques when I’m in that state, but the 7-4-8 model of box breathing can be really helpful to get you back in your body. Inhale for 7, hold for 4, exhale for 8. This helps wind your autonomous nervous system down so you can think more clearly and less in fight-or-flight mode. I also find that having someone lay on top of me with my arms crossed over my chest can be really calming. It helps you coregulate with a friend and calms your system down. Hope this helps, friend.
November 13th, 2021 7:54pm
I’m a big cryer so I’ve found myself here more than once. The “1-2-3” method helps me out. Breathe in while mentally counting to three. When you get to three, start letting that breath go. Keep exhaling til you get to three. If I’m really upset, I’ll use my hand to tap the three count out on my arm or leg to help me focus. Extending the count to 5 once you feel your breathing return to normal can help you feel more calm. The “Breathe” app on the Apple Watch is great for this, too.
November 17th, 2021 3:40am
think to yourself "Relax its okay!" keep thinking that also "I am safe!" you will get through this! the thoughts that we think to ourselves often have a big impact on ourselves so thinking positive thoughts about ourselves and encouraging ourselves are helpful. When your mind is not controlled it tries to control you and the mind, well the mind is a harsh master but a wonderful servant so keep strong there and start training your mind and get so good at it that you can over come this sadness that is within you got this you totally got this!
December 30th, 2021 3:52pm
Grounding exercises are often really helpful in those situations. Try the 5,4,3,2,1 technique: Find 5 things you can see. Find 4 things you can hear. Find 3 things you can touch. Find 2 things you can smell. And Find 1 thing you can taste. There are a lot of these types of techniques out there that you can use, you just have to find the one that works best for you. :) Remember that it's okay and healthy to cry. However, I understand that struggling to breathe can make things worse and scarier. Whenever you're in these situations try to give yourself time to work through your emotions and be patient with yourself. :)
January 13th, 2022 10:50am
Firstly, go to a place where you feel safe and comfortable. Try to get distance from the situation or the person that makes you feel upset. Then try to take some deep breaths and don't think about anything else. Just focus on your breathing. After you count 10 deep breaths, try going for a walk outside. If listening to your favourite music makes you feel relieved, you can do that. Remember that crying is not necessarily a problem that you need to overcome, however if you think that you often struggle to breath you can discuss this with a person who you trust or with a professional.
February 5th, 2022 2:57am
If you end up crying, and find it a bit hard to breathe, I would recommend employing a breathing habit in which the time you breathe out is twice the time you breathe in for. For instance, when I find myself very stressed or hyperventilating, I try to breathe in for 3 seconds, hold it for 4, and release for 7. This type of breathing will help slow your mind and let you take some time to truly think through everything that is happening at the moment. When you are crying, everything can seem like too much. After your breathing is under control, try out a coping skill that you know works, or one that maybe you'd like to try! Try reaching out to a support system if you can't get this breathing under control, or if you cannot stop crying :)
February 20th, 2022 1:46am
If crying ends up interfering with your ability to breathe, you should try a technique of redirecting you attention to something that uses your senses - for example - touch - hold a piece of fruit, a ball, a round object...I work with art supplies and have play doh and clay around all the time. Also for the senses of smell, I always have scented oils around. If you do not have a diffuser, I have found the best way if to buy scented oil, put some on a tissue in a styrofoam cup (or plastic cup. The more drops of scented oil you use it will smell more and if you actually leave it in your room for a few days it will calm you down. I hold the cup and smell it to refocus my attention to my sense of smell. If you want to try a breathing technique, try putting one hand on your chest, and another hand on your stomach. You need to breath in through your nose for about 6 or 7 seconds, and then out through your mouth for another 6 or 7 seconds. Do this about 10 times or until you feel calm. This is part of belly breathing and it takes focus. You can look up the term "grounding techniques" - it helps to focus a person in times of distress. I hope this helps.
February 26th, 2022 1:36pm
This sounds like there are a ton of things built up for you and it might cause you to fight the struggle. One of the best things you can do for yourself in these moments is to observe with kindness. Trying to stop this from happening may make it worse. Observing and realizing it is there will acknowledge it and let it be and let it pass. Some things you might consider doing when this happens is rubbing your hands together to create warmth and place your hands on your heart. The warmth from your hands on your chest will start to signal to the body that it is safe. Once you notice you are safe, you may consider focusing on deepening your breath. Deepening your breath will signal to your body to relax. When your head is clear, you will find you can make necessary decisions much more easily. You can think about what about the situation actually caused you to react in this way and start to work toward a solution for yourself. Hope this helps :)