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

261 Answers
Last Updated: 04/10/2021 at 9:20am
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
November 10th, 2016 2:24pm
You should wash your face, drink some water or make something hot to drink like tea. Then just try to relax in any way that suits you.
November 12th, 2016 4:47pm
For me I usually try to calm my self down first and think of something soothing. Anything that will help me relax enough to control my breathing. It also helps to remind myself that I am breathing and getting what I need so that I don't panic thinking I am not getting enough oxygen.
February 1st, 2017 12:47am
The only thing you can really do is try to calm yourself down. Try to concentrate on your breathing rather than the thoughts that have put you into that state. When I am like that I prefer to be left alone to calm myself down and let the feelings I am having run their course. I tend to get like that because I have bottled things up and something has set me off.
February 1st, 2017 1:24am
Try visualizing the most relaxing scene you can think of to see if that can help calm you down a bit. One thing I like to do when I'm struggling to breathe is to focus on each breath as it comes, slowly breathing in and out as much as possible. You could also try distracting yourself with something like a comforting blanket, a stuffed animal, calming music, a comedy tv show, etc. Anything that could possibly help distract you from your crying so you won't continue to hyperventilate.
February 12th, 2017 9:29am
If you find yourself struggling to breathe. Focus on your chest, take a deep breathe in, hold it for 2 seconds and then slowly exhale, repeat this until you have calmed down
March 15th, 2017 7:11pm
It is often a sign of anxiety. Remember to calm down, think of something other than the problem you are struggling with and don't keep quiet, talk to someone about this.
March 17th, 2017 10:03pm
Take a moment to assess your situation. If you can find out what is making you cry, there is more chance of finding a way out.
March 24th, 2017 11:04pm
One thing you can do (obviously) is taking deep breaths, but that's widely known. Something you might not have heard before is "grounding" which is a technique to help alleviate anxiety. You take a deep breath, notice 5 things you can see, take another, notice 4 you can hear, deep breath, 3 things you can touch/ feel, breath, 2 things you can smell, breath, and then one you can taste
March 26th, 2017 8:44pm
When this happens it is because you are panicking. Is there something that makes you do this? Keep yourself relaxed by doing some hobbies and getting fresh air and water. It is okay that this is happening so remember that when it does happen and don't panic when you struggle to breathe just concentrate on nothing but that and think happy thoughts.
March 29th, 2017 4:32pm
Sounds like a panic attack, I have anxiety and panic attacks so you just need to take yourself out of a situation and just try calming yourself down. I get them at college, I use the disabled toilet when I feel like that and try calming myself down by breathing deeply
April 15th, 2017 9:29am
Sleep. I don't know if it'll work for you. But, it does for most people. Sleeping is the best therapy there is. If you can't do that for some reason then go and talk to a friend,spend some time with a loved one. share with them what makes you feel like this.
April 21st, 2017 4:38pm
Try to avoid lying down especially on your back. Try to sit up as strait as you can. If possible, it is best to lace your fingers together and put them behind your head and let them rest on your neck. That position reduces the restriction of your lungs . If you must lie down, then lie on your side in a cresent shape, for this again reduced the strain on your chest.
April 25th, 2017 1:24pm
Personally I find finding a calm area where I can be myself for some time to be the best kind of medicine when I have trouble breathing. It can be nice to have a good friend that you trust to be by your side in situations like this though not necessary if it'll make you feel stressed or uncomfortable. Calming yourself down in a situation like this might not seem easy because if you're crying you're most likely feeling sad or upset about something, but it's good for you in the long haul. I'm a pretty rational person, I know that not all are, though I try and look at it from a logical perspective. Asking myself questions about how I feel right now, describing my feelings have been a good way in the past to bring down anxiety. It ties in with being mindful though I don't follow a specific pattern other than the one I have created for myself. I hope you find your answer, on 7 Cups or not and that you'll take care -huggles-
April 27th, 2017 9:03pm
Take a breath. It's not bad if the breath is quick and short just force the air to flow in and out until you can gain some control over it. Then breathe slowly for a while before you let your body resume it's natural rhythm.
May 6th, 2017 12:33am
I think that there are plenty of methods to assist with your breathing. Personally, I think that there is nothing wrong with feeling any emotions, so some strategies that I will mention do not assist with emotions, but they hopefully will with breathing. First, I feel that it would be beneficial to mention that 7 Cups has a mindfulness exercise which I feel may be helpful for a start. But, what about when you don't have access to 7 Cups? - I think that a technique called 'square breathing' would be one of the best. I've included a link to an image with how you can go about doing it:
May 18th, 2017 9:15am
You can do many things. If you have a good friend you can count on, you can give them a call and talking to them might help or distract you. You can also put a movie for distraction. Meditation can also help with breathing exercises. You can also do small things like just taking a glass of water in your hand or filling it with water and emptying it just to stay focused on something. Anything that gives you distraction or help you stay focused on something else
May 28th, 2017 10:19am
If this occurs, try taking deep breaths and focus on your surroundings instead of thinking about whatever made you feel this way. Try a simple exercise that will make you refocus - counting, describing your surroundings e.g. what are the objects made of, what colour are they, touch them and focus on the feeling under your fingertips. Another exercise for breathing is the classic paper bag breathing.
June 18th, 2017 3:08am
Rest a hand on your chest and the other on your tummy. Breath slowly with your diaphragm instead of your chest. You should feel your hand rise and lower on your tummy. Repeat until you feel calm and can breath calmly.
June 21st, 2017 1:06am
I have felt like this before. I have learned to do some breathing exercises that help calm me down. When I notice these feelings I take a deep breath and hold it for a count of four then breath out through my mouth for a count of four and repeat until I feel more in control. If breathing doesn't work I try to distract myself with taking to someone else. It's ok to feel overwhelmed it is a sign that we are not taking time out to care for ourselves. I treat these feelings as a warning sign telling me to find time to relax.
June 27th, 2017 4:11pm
Start counting by two's, starting from 100 and ending at zero. This might seem silly at first but it really helps your brain focus on a different task and naturally calms you down.
June 30th, 2017 3:54pm
Look at something on the wall and concentrate on it, and take time attempting to take deep breathes. Sometimes, this seems very difficult but over time it'll work!
July 1st, 2017 4:45pm
Keep on crying, get it all out! Instead of suppressing the intense emotion, it needs to be released
July 7th, 2017 4:39pm
Breathing exercises are usually safe and helpful. The method I use is inhaling for 4 seconds, holding my breathe for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds.
July 20th, 2017 8:07pm
Try zooming out of the situation and grounding yourself in the objective reality surrounding you. Close your eyes and focus on the sensations running through your body. Allow yourself to watch how your body is trying to heal - take note of your heart beating quicker and harder, feel the warmth of the tears on your cheek, pay attention to the feelings of heaviness inside of you. Allow yourself to get through the episode and try to pay attention what is happening to you physically as the emotions pass through - because they will.
July 21st, 2017 12:07pm
Try googling breathing exercise gif. There are a few out there. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. If you don't have access to the internet at the time, just exhale counting slowly to four and inhale doing the same.
August 10th, 2017 11:45pm
There is something called the 4-7-8 tactic. The 4, is when you breathe in for 4 seconds. The 7, is when you hold for 7 seconds. The 8, is when you breathe out for 8 seconds. Try and focus on your heart rate and your lungs. Take deep, slow breaths. You've got this. Just take it slow :)
August 11th, 2017 6:57pm
It is ok to cry. However it is important to slow down the crying so you can breathe. Crying is another way of allowing us to release the pressure of what is hurting us.
August 19th, 2017 5:57pm
If you end up crying and find yourself struggling to breathe, seek out a listener or a family member who can help by simply listening. Moments like this are difficult because it feels as though it is impossible to find air, but looking for a comforting voice of reason can be therapeutic in a number of ways. Also, try practicing breathing techniques, even when you are not having attacks of this sort so that you'll know what to do when you're struggling in this way.
September 1st, 2017 4:48am
I've been there; it's hard. First perhaps, try telling yourself to relax. Say, "Self, just breathe. You don't have to work on or think about or be concerned with anything else right now. Just breathe. That's all." Your body is already doing this naturally but with the deep tears and (for me) holding my breath when I cry - it feels hard. Tell yourself just breathe. Slow down and concentrate only on breathing in and out ... inhale and exhale. Slowly. Deep breaths (yes I know this is also hard when you've just been in deep tears). You can do it. Slow down, deep breaths. There, see? Better? :)
September 2nd, 2017 11:59am
try to control your breathing by breathing in very slow and breath out very slowly. Try to sit up or stand up and tell yourself you are okay.