Thursday, February 7, 2013

Halting the Tears

I have this tendency to get teary quite easily.  It's fine to cry when I'm legitimately sad about something but it's awkward and weird when I'm at work and I worry that it appears to be a ply for attention at other times. I also cry when I'm angry.

So I asked a psychologist friend the other day if she had any ideas for what I could do to stop myself from crying.  First, she pointed out that I shouldn't try to stop myself from crying when I'm sad.  Second, if I'm angry I need to let myself stay in that moment and feel angry rather than crying.

But it's the third aspect of her advice that was so awesome, which dealt with getting myself to stop crying when it wasn't really warranted.  I tend to get teary when I think about things from the past that are meaningful (like my own First Reconciliation) or things in the future (like how happy Beezus will feel after her First Communion).  So what happens is that we are sitting at a meeting with the First Communion parents talking about the potluck but I'm thinking about these other things and then it makes me teary so then I look like I'm crying about the potluck plans which is so very, very awkward.  So, my psychologist friend suggested that at those moments I try to stay present in the moment without letting my mind wander.  Part of the way to do that is by focusing on my five senses and activating them.  I rub my shirt or pants with my fingers; focus on the grain of the wood table; listen for the hum of the florescent light or fan; kind of sniff my shirt to smell my laundry detergent, etc.

Let me tell you, I had lots of opportunities to practice it yesterday and it totally works.  I'm so excited !  I got so good at it that I practiced my letting my mind wander to a sad place and then pulling back.

So, if you are looking for a way to stop crying or getting teary, try this and let me know if it works for you.  But remember, only use it when it really isn't necessary to cry - it's still important to cry when you are legitimately sad !

Updated a couple weeks later to add:

I was able to serve as a Eucharistic Minister at Beezus' First Communion and not cry through it.  I got teary once and was then able to pull myself back.  This is huge for me people, HUGE !!!


Aimee @ Smiling Mama said...

So interesting. I need to tuck this in the back of my head!

AwwwTrouble said...

THis month's Oprah mag has an article on stopping unwanted tears. I'll put it aside for you - not sure if you can get it online. BUt there were some specific physical suggestions.

Janel Brennan said...

I am tearing up just reading this ;) No, really - I find myself getting choked up at very awkward times as well. Ugh.

Korinthia Klein said...

That's lovely. I think any advice that helps to keep us in the moment we are actually living is a good idea. Glad it's working!

Marya said...

What great advice. I make sure both my feet are flat on the floor and pick an object in the room to focus on when I need to remember that I am in the present and not the past.

{sue} said...

Oh gosh. We should sit together. We could be the Awkward Twins.

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