How to Argue Without Crying
The first thing to keep in mind is that there is nothing wrong with crying. On the contrary, crying is a natural and healthy process in which we release endorphins that have proven to help ease physical and emotional pain. Crying can also stimulate empathy from others and help strengthen bonds with other people. However, there are certain situations where we wish we could control our urge to cry, especially during an argument. Whether it's because we don't feel safe nor comfortable or because we don't want to appear weak or sensitive in front of others, being able to control the urge of crying can come in handy in certain situations.
In this oneHOWTO article, we explain how to argue without crying and how to remain calm and in control of your emotions even in highly stressful situations.
Why do we cry?
Everyone cries at some point in their lives, even if only when children. Crying plays a critical role when we are newborns because it is an effective way of soliciting care and attention from the adults around us. Crying can also be a physical reflex to a foreign substance that could be irritating our eyes such as dust, smoke, onions or allergies. However, hen we talk about crying, we are mostly referring to the production of tears that is triggered by a wide range of feelings. These feelings can vary from anger and sadness to happiness and joy.
The reasons why we produce tears in such situations, besides eye lubrication, are still a mystery. Humans are the only animals that do such a thing. Although there is little research on the subject, people have been trying to answer this question for centuries. The only thing that is certain and widely understood across all cultures is that crying sends an unmistakable message: you are temporarily experiencing a situation that has gotten out of your control.
Having an argument can be very stressful and it is not uncommon to feel like you are losing the grip of your emotions, which makes it the perfect breeding ground for crying. Even though some people seem to have it easier than others when it comes to holding their tears, everyone can learn how not to cry while having an argument.
Keep in mind that in this article we will talk about strategies to prevent crying if you are having an argument. If you find yourself crying way more often than you usually do, or if you are excessively crying for no apparent reason, you should consider other options. You should talk about it with your doctor in order to rule out a mood disorder or you could reach out to someone you trust and share what you are experiencing.
If you feel the crying might be hormonal-related, you can read this oneHOWTO article on crying while being your period.
Remember to breathe
Concentrating on your breathing can help you manage all sorts of stressful situations that might lead to crying. When we feel tense or stressed, we tend to breathe wrongly by taking shallow and small breaths that can lead to hyperventilation and worsen the symptoms of stress and anxiety. By controlling our breathing we can control our emotions and ultimately, the need to cry. Conscious breathing reduces stress hormones in the blood and increases the feelings of calm and wellbeing in our minds.
If you feel like you are losing control in the middle of an argument, try to stop for a second and pay attention to the way you are breathing. If you notice that you are breathing too fast, make an effort to consciously slow down the rhythm of your breathing. The slower, the better. If you have the opportunity, try placing a hand between your ribs. This will help you to concentrate on your breathing faster while also making sure that you are breathing from your diaphragm and not from your shoulders.
Check out this article if you want to know more about the benefits of breathing through your nose.
Pay attention to your muscles
If you feel you are about to cry, try relaxing your facial muscles in order to make your expression seem neutral. Showing a neutral face can also help to calm down the person you are arguing with and the argument can begin to de-escalate. Generally speaking, neutral faces don't stimulate our minds as much as faces that exhibit emotion.
You can also try to tense up the muscles of your body. This easy technique can help you to be more aware of your body and, therefore, less likely to wander off in your mind towards negative thoughts that can lead to crying. Additionally, tensing up the muscles of your body can help you feel more confident and ultimately, more in control.
Try thinking of something else
Try thinking of something else to counteract the negative thoughts that usually build up when we are mad and lead to the urge to cry. Do not underestimate the power that positive thoughts can have in stressful or overwhelming situations. Aim to think of happy moments, a funny scene in a movie or a tv show, someone or something that makes you happy, or something you have done that has made you proud.
If all of this fails and you are still not able to think of happy thoughts, try thinking of repetitive things instead. It can be a song or a poem. The important thing is to break away from any negative thoughts that could increase your urge of crying.
Practicing meditation can help you have more control of your thoughts in general, and it can also teach you to silent your mind when it starts racing. In the following article, we explain the best meditation techniques that you can put into practice to regain control of your mind.
Learn to physically control your tears
In case you already feel the tears forming in your eyes, you can always tilt your head back in order to prevent them from falling down your face until you can take back control of the situation. Additionally, tilting your head back slightly can give you off the impression of confidence since is a posture we usually associate with aplomb.
Another way to prevent the tears from falling down your face is to avoid blinking. If the tears have already been formed and have accumulated in the bottom of your eyes, blinking could make them fall down. Try to avoid blinking as long as you can until you can discreetly wipe out the tears from your face.
If the tears have already begun to fall down your face, try blinking faster in order to clear the tears away from your face.
Consider leaving the argument
If all the steps mentioned above have failed and you still feel that the situation is too stressful and overwhelming, you can always step back and physically leave. Even if it is just for a few minutes, removing yourself from the argument can have an immediate positive effect on your general wellbeing. Taking a walk, washing your face, or even drinking a glass of water should be enough for you to regain control of your feelings. Once you have calmed down, you can resume the argument from a more manageable position.
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