How To Stop Yourself From Crying In A Flash

Do you hate crying as much as I do? If you answered yes, I am about to make your day: There is a life hack out there that promises to help you stop crying in less time than it takes you to put in your lunch order at Chipotle. I'm not kidding when I say I hate crying, by the way. I don't mean I hate it just a little bit — I mean I have huge, giant balls of “UGH WHY IS THIS HAPPENING” hate residing deep in my soul for the activity. Crying is quite seriously one of my least favorite things in the world, mostly because it doesn't solve whatever issue I have going on, and it never makes me feel better afterward. But hey, I guess that's never going to be a problem again, right? No more pity parties for me — just regular joyous shindigs all day long!

Writer Joanna Goddard recently re-posted a trick on her blog that she first published on Glamour's website a few years ago. Both unexpected and rather surprising, it'll stop your tears when you feel them coming on — and you know what the best part is? You can do it at any time, anywhere. Seriously. Are you ready for this? Here it is: According to Goddard, all you need to do is “pinch the webbed piece of skin between your thumb and pointer finger. Hard. It will immediately stop you from crying every time.”

That's it. Interesting, no?

In case you're skeptical of random advice you read on the Internet, though (and it would be perfectly understandable if you are), science can back this one up. Melissa Dahl at Science of Us spoke to Ad Vingerhoets, a Tilburg University scientist who studies emotional tears, about this wacky little life hack — and according to Vingerhoets, the pinching thing will probably help keep your crying at bay. First off, the physical pain will provide a distraction from your emotional pain, thus enabling you to get those tears in check; furthemore, wrote Vingerhoets in an email, “I can imagine that, more generally, increasing muscle tension and moving may limit your crying response, because it seems that crying is in particular a passive and helpless reaction.” So, tensing up your muscles, either because your pinching that little piece of webbed skin or because you're doing something else, gives you something to do; this action, in turn, makes you feel less helpless, which might aid in squashing the impulse to cry.

So: Now that we know this useful method to hack your tears, when might be a useful time to deploy it? The short answer is “pretty much whenever” — but more specifically, I can imagine it coming in handy during these situations:

1. When you feel a sobfest coming on at work.

Of all the places one could possibly start crying, work is definitely the worst. It's the one place where you absolutely don't want anyone to see you do it — but there are virtually no hidden places to go and get it done in private. And even if you do manage to snag a stall in the bathroom at a time when no one else is in there so you can bawl your eyes out, you're always positive everyone knows from your face what you were you just doing when you finally get back to your desk.

2. When you become an emotional drunk during a night out, but still have a stupidly long subway ride home before you can cry nicely in private.

As far as I'm concerned, there's no shame in crying in front of strangers on the subway (after all, you're probably never going to see them again in your life); if, however, you would really rather not have to deal with a bunch of randos giving you weird looks on top of your wet, miserable tears, then go ahead and do the pinch-your-webbing thing. It should hold the waterworks off just long enough for you to get home.

3. When the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back kicks in during the worst day ever.

You know those days when everything just seems to go wrong? And you know how there's always one seemingly tiny thing that happens that pushes you totally over the edge? I call those moments “grilled cheese moments,” owing to one particularly memorable experience I had in college. The short version is this: Everything was awful; I was stupidly stressed out; I had exactly 15 minutes between the hours of 9 AM and midnight that day during which I actually had time to eat; I used those 15 minutes to make a grilled cheese… and then I burned the damn thing.

I may or may not have scooped the charred mess up with a spatula and flung the whole thing across the kitchen. Then I started to cry.

Luckily I had some really awesome roommates and friends around to help me get a handle on myself; if I'd known this trick at the time, though, I probably would have also given it a shot as well. Maybe I would have stopped short of actually pitching my burned grilled cheese across my kitchen. And maybe it might stop you for having your own grilled cheese moment (even if it doesn't involve any grilled cheese at all).

4. When you watch Up for the eight millionth time and start sobbing during the opening montage.


5. When you read those “20 Photos Guaranteed to Make You Cry” posts that pop up on the Internet every so often.

To be fair, crying is what you signed on for when you clicked the thing; it's right there in the headline. But if you really can't deal with the tears, go ahead and pinch your webbing. Maybe it'll make you feel better.

6. When you're traveling and homesickness suddenly takes you by surprise.

Even the most seasoned traveler is occasionally struck down by homesickness — for friends, for family, for pets, and more. Doing this little trick might not magically make any of your favorite people appear in front of you; it might, however, help remind you where you're at, how far you've come, and how far you'll go.

7. When you just feel discombobulated for no reason at all.

To me, the most frustrating kind of “upset” feeling is the one where you have no idea why you feel so hellish. Got that going on? Pinch away. At least it'll give you something else to worry about for a while, right?

Images: Fotolia; Giphy (8)