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

282 Answers
Last Updated: 04/23/2022 at 11:21pm
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
July 4th, 2018 7:27am
Some people find a hug can really help! There's also the 4 7 8 breathing technique; "Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight. This is one breath."
July 7th, 2018 9:21am
Try doing breathing techniques such as deep inhales and outhales. However, if you find it difficult to regulate your breathing seek help from a family member or trusted adult.
July 8th, 2018 6:40pm
If this happens with no reason, this is a symptom of anxiety. Try seeking professional help ♡
July 11th, 2018 11:48am
Try to calm yourself down by taking deep breaths. Splash cool water on your face to clean yourself and calm you down! Try and talk to somebody who you trust about anything upsetting you.
July 11th, 2018 2:28pm
it might help to lye down and take deep breaths, think of positive things that brings light into your mind, crying increases cortisol which is the chemical that creates happiness. it is serious when you can't breath so relaxing or taking a nap may help
July 12th, 2018 5:09am
Breathe in for four seconds, breathe out for four seconds. I will be okay, Focus on my breathing, because I have to be careful not to pass out. Call someone. Sit down or lie on your side to avoid choking on saliva if I pass out. Breath slowly. Stop crying by thinking of someone or something I love. Call someone for emotional support
July 15th, 2018 7:03pm
Focus on breathing. Slowly draw in your breath, hold it for a few seconds, and then slowly release it.
July 18th, 2018 5:32pm
just take deep breaths. It’s going to be OK, we’ve all had cries like that before. Are you have to do is just take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. If you find yourself to start to feel better try and do things to distract yourself like if you like reading,read a book. or if you like listening to music, listen to music. just try and it’s going to be OK, we’ve all had cries like that before. Are you have to do is just take a deep breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. If you find yourself to start to feel better try and do things to distract yourself like if you like reading, read a book read a book distract yourself.
July 23rd, 2018 9:42pm
You have to do meditation ....or take deep breathe ... Drink water . It helps a lot to clam down by yourself...
July 25th, 2018 12:22am
Take a deep breath out while bringing your stomach inwards, I always find this helps calm me down when I can't breathe when crying
July 25th, 2018 1:05pm
Breathing exercises are useful in situations like this. Even if it's difficult, taking a deep breath can be helpful.
July 27th, 2018 4:00pm
try to find a safe space in your home or a place in which you feel your best, then focus on your surroundings. what color is the carpet/ flooring? how many windows are in that room? etc... then focus on your feet, and slowly but surely gradually move your attention all the way up to your head. all the while doing this breathe in for 8 seconds, hold it for 2, and let it out for 10 seconds.
July 27th, 2018 6:59pm
Just cry it out and your breathing will catch up with you. Sometimes, all you need is a good cry. It doesn't mean that you're weak, just means that you're human.
August 9th, 2018 3:29pm
I close my eyes and count. I imagine a sky full of shining stars, and I count. I think of how crying may ease the pain, and how relieved I would feel after I let 1% of what I'm feeling. I focus on my breath and count.
August 15th, 2018 1:55pm
It is important to breathe in and out deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth. This will make breathing easier
August 18th, 2018 6:31pm
if you are having trouble breathing because you are crying, try taking deep, slow breathes. do something that might help you calm down, like hug a stuffed animal or pillow, basically something you can squeeze. breathe into a bag if you have one around. try to distract yourself from whatever is making you cry, watch a funny video or play with a pet, or even hug a friend or family member, or even a pet if the pet doesnt mind you hugging them. not being able to breathe while your crying can be scary but it will pass on its own eventually
August 22nd, 2018 5:25am
Take deep breaths in and out. Count as high as you can as you breathe in and count as high as you can as you breathe out. This is something that they have you do in a yoga class, and it helps in the fact that it takes your mind off what is making you so upset, and making you focus on something that isn't causing you any harm. You can also try taking a hot shower. Taken a hot shower has been proven to help relieve stress and help with depression, also the steam from the heat will help clear your sinuses and make it easier to breathe.
August 23rd, 2018 11:26pm
When this happens to me, depending how deep in the panic I am, I try to focus on something, anything. Touching something to focus is especially good because it puts you back in the current moment and grounds you. Try to get the deepest breath you can but don’t stress if you can’t get as deep as you want, we’re working on that. When you breathe out pretend you’re blowing out candles across the room. Exhale for a good 6 second. Now hold it. Repeat. Now that this is temporary and you WILL breathe ok again. Take it one second at a time until you feel you are stable.
August 25th, 2018 4:44pm
Try to do the 4-7-8 exercise. Inhale for 4 seconds, then hold the air in your lungs for 7 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat this exercise as many time you want. This helps you to calm down and to breath. It can also help you before a test or a important event, it helps you to feel more secure and confident about yourself. If you feel like it could help close your eyes while doing the 4-7-8 exercise, so you can fully relax and concentrate. After this exercise try to control you breath for a couple of minutes.
September 3rd, 2018 4:49pm
Close your eyes, and slow everything down. Use a counter beat of four, and slowly breathe in and out, at least try. In, one two three four. Out, one two three four. Keep repeating until you can at least breathe a little bit. You can also use this method to calm you down. To keep you from crying and not being able to breathe again, occupy yourself with something. When I’m upset, and I’m done with my breathing exercise, I listen to music on my phone and clean. Or I color and draw. There is many different things to do.
September 21st, 2018 1:30pm
Go to a quiet and safe place, have a glass of water. Take deep steady breaths, continue a steady breathing rate and don’t hold back the tears. Let it all out the first time, put some calming music on try and hum along maybe to take your mind off of it. Get some paper and write down words in bold that you are feeling then rip the paper up and get a new piece and write down positive words. Make a cup of chamomile tea. Get someone that you trust and talk it out. Go for a walk outside and don’t forget to breathe
September 30th, 2018 12:32am
Struggling like that can be very difficult. I’ve found that taking deep breaths can really help. Try and use your deep breaths to slow your mind, and in turn calm yourself. Try to focus on your breaths. There are tons of breathing exercises you can find to help you really help you relax. I find that guided meditation exercises can really help in situations where I’m crying and I can’t breathe. They can help guide you especially since maybe you are too upset to help yourself. Find things that work for you and relax you. That way when you get to this point next time you are better equipped to help yourself.
October 1st, 2018 11:56pm
Whenever that happens to me, I usually think about things that calm me down. I have a chant that I repeat whenever I feel that way. My favorite color, My best friend and my favorite animal. I just think about that and keep repeating that and it helps me calm down. You can think of any 3 things that make you happy and keep repeating it. And focus on your breathing. You can use the 47, 8 method. Close your mouth and inhale through your nose to a mental count of four. Hold your breath for a count of seven. Exhale completely through your mouth, to a count of eight. Repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.
October 11th, 2018 12:59am
First try to ground yourself. Find five things you can see and three you can touch, to start. Then inhale for four seconds, hold for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds. When you repeat this process, it helps reset your breathing back to a more stable rate. Another important thing to note is if you can help it, not to try to stop the crying, but rather allowing it to run its course and your body to purge the emotions. Remember, after a crying or panic episode to hydrate with lots of water (though don’t down a bunch! You might get a stomachache), and maybe have some orange juice to boost your system. Stay safe everyone!
October 13th, 2018 1:57pm
I would tell you that your tears are like unstopping rain that eventually will bring a rainbow after it, take a deep breath and it’s all okay. The happiness is in you, you’re strong and nobody can tell you otherwise. You were okay and you will be okay. There is one way I use to feel better when hard situations appear, try to imagine myself giving someone else an advice but write it down and read it over and see how good of a friend I am will not only make me feel like a good friend but also better.
October 14th, 2018 6:37am
The most important thing is to understand that there is nothing wrong in crying. It just a way to let out a lot of vented emotions. Crying may help you cope with all the stress that you are feeling at the moment. While crying if you find yourself struggling for breath, the best way to deal with the situation is to slow things down. I follow a 3D method - Deep Breathing - > Drinking Water -> Distraction. Start with slow deep breathing. Breath in for 5 counts , hold the air in for 2 counts , exhale for 7 counts. Do it for 2 - 3 minutes. Next go and gulp 500 mL of water. Gulping the water down is the key. It helps settle down you anxiety. Now the last step is to distract yourself for a while. Do it consciously. Say to yourself, "I know I have a problem, but I will give it a rest for now. I will go for a mindful walk and tackle it after I am back."
October 17th, 2018 12:43pm
well first of all, if you have someone you can talk to, that should be the first thing you should find. If not, try clearing your mind. it sounds difficult but it's a good coping strategy of mine. Clear your mind and just count your breathing. I will count 8 counts when I breathe in, 4 counts when I hold it there and 7 counts when I breathe out. This also works for when you're trying to sleep! It calms me down and gets me situated again to think clearly and overcome my anxiety. I hope this helps :) :)
October 20th, 2018 5:00pm
As someone who is autistic and who experienced abuse as a child, I find it especially comforting to have a stuffed animal on hand to squeeze. I have always imagined my stuffed animals to have personalities and sometimes I have conversations with them in my head that help me to feel safer and become more calm. I like to discretely carry one in my bag and hold the bag tightly if I am in distress. If I'm at home, I like to use my weighted blanket if I can manage to get to it in time because the weight of it makes me feel safer.
November 4th, 2018 2:11pm
It is a good things to try to distract yourself from negative thoughts by focusing on neutral objects thoughts or even better replaying fond memories. Furthermore, distracting yourself with task is very effective. For example, counting to a specific number that you choose like 55. Concentrating on simple tasks can help you compose yourself. Another option is to try find objection around you that fit a specific criteria. Round. Yellow... so on. In addition, you can lean/ hug (on) your family members or someone you trust (friends, lover and etc.). However, if this isn't an option try hugging a pillow, make sure it is soft so that you can grab it if you need. This kind of motion can provide leverage. Try to focus on the sensations on you palms and all your body.
November 7th, 2018 1:52pm
You just need to relax and give yourself a moment or so, try not to take deep breathes but look from a window if possible. You don't need to be okay just out of nowhere, what you are dealing with is truly normal. Taking fresh air always helps. If you don't have any window around you, just look up and stay laid. You don't need to stand up right away. Take it easy, do not try to remember why you were crying, that will make everything worse. Just be quiet for a moment and focus on yourself, your well being.