Crying is an important part of life, but tears don’t always come when you want them to. Sometimes, they come at the worst possible moment, and other times, they won’t come at all, making it hard to get an emotional release. If your tear ducts are feeling backed up, you might be wondering how to make yourself cry. Luckily, experts say there are ways to make it happen.

There are many benefits of crying, and shedding tears is one of the best ways to release feelings of anxiety, frustration, or stress—which is necessary to our well-being, says Olga Karasina, PsyD, a therapist at Midwest Counseling. “Not having a release when we are feeling strong emotions is akin to trying to keep a beach ball underwater; it is exhausting and eventually will come up and in a much more unpredictable and undesirable manner,” she says.

Although crying is a natural human experience, there are many reasons you might have trouble actually doing it. Conditions like dry eye syndrome, where an insufficient amount of tears are produced, and Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease characterized by dry eyes and mouth, can make it difficult to shed tears. Antidepressants, antihistamines, birth control, and blood pressure drugs can do the same. In some cases, you may also not be able to cry because you are avoiding it (which, BTW, makes the uncomfortable feelings and thoughts more difficult to cope with later on).

If you need to make yourself cry but can’t figure out how, here are expert-approved tips to get the waterworks going.

Meet the experts: Olga Karasina, PsyD, is a licensed clinical psychologist at Midwest Counseling. Lena Suarez-Angelino, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and founder of LIGHT Collective and Co.

10 Ways To Make Yourself Cry

1. Avoid Blinking

One of the easiest ways to make yourself cry is by not blinking. “Your body’s natural instinct is to blink to produce moisture and prevent any debris and dirt from lingering and risk causing an infection,” says Lena Suarez-Angelino, LCSW, a therapist at LIGHT Collective and Co. “When you go against nature, your body will try to do everything in its power to recalibrate.”

Try staring at a blank wall for 20 to 30 seconds, or as long as you can tolerate. Your eyes will most likely start to burn and a tear or two will fall. If you do that *and* think about something that made you feel hurt or sad, the tears will likely come.

2. Engage In Breathwork

“Breathwork elicits your parasympathetic nervous system and helps to bring you back into balance emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually,” notes Suarez-Angelino. “Many people report they have cried, along with other healing experiences, as a result of breathwork sessions.”

You can try breathwork on a platform like Open or attend a local meditation studio, if you have one. If you’re new to the practice, try the techniques on a weekly basis and allow space for yourself to implement and process the healing that may come up during the sessions, Suarez Angelino says.

3. Go For A Walk

Walking on a daily basis is beneficial for various reasons, but heading outside—especially without any distractions—allows you to go inward and reflect, which could get tears to start falling. “Reflect on things you feel you have been ignoring or sweeping under the rug. Allow them to surface and tune into your feelings and thoughts about these situations,” says Suarez-Angelino. Maybe remember to bring some tissues, too.

4. Listen To Music

Music is a great way for people to tap into their emotions. Some songs make you cry because they’re just outright sad, but many have the power to elicit emotions by bringing you back to specific moments in your own life. Play a song of your choice and think about a time that brings up emotions for you personally, Karasina recommends. (If you can’t think of one, there’s always “Champagne Problems” by Taylor Swift.)

You can also pair sad music with another activity like spending time in nature or doing yoga in your favorite outdoor space where you feel comfortable and safe, Karasina adds. This combo may help you connect with yourself and offer you the opportunity to fully embrace your feelings in the moment.

5. Move Your Body

Moving your body mindfully (think: stretching, yoga) can also help shuffle any stagnant energy throughout your body to facilitate an emotional release. “Certain poses in yoga are known to help heal trauma and process emotions, which often results in tears,” says Suarez-Angelino.

And on other occasions, high-intensity movement can cue tears. “Sometimes a vigorous workout that involves hitting or punching, such as kickboxing or regular boxing can help get out some of the frustration you are experiencing, which helps break down the barrier and allow tears to flow.”

6. Read Or Watch Something Sad

Similar to listening to music, reading a book or watching a sad movie can help bring on the tears. “Some book titles are notorious for having people repeatedly cry time and time again, regardless of the number of times they have read them,” says Suarez-Angelino. The same can be said for particularly heartbreaking movies and TV shows. If you think you need some practice with this method, Suarez-Angelino recommends trying it once a month, or if you feel like you need to cry more often, once a week.

7. Take A Shower

Some people need privacy to have a good cry or don’t like the feeling of tears rolling down their cheeks. If that is the case for you, try taking a shower. “Try taking a shower and use your senses to muffle the outward sounds of crying while also being able to blend the water on your face with the tears streaming down,” says Suarez-Angelino.

However, she cautions not to take too much time trying to turn on the waterworks. “You could try this every time you are in the shower for no longer than about five minutes, so as to not waste any water,” she says. A sauna or steam room works, too.

8. Talk To A Friend Or Loved One

If you’re having a hard time getting in touch with your emotions, Karasina recommends opening up and sharing your feelings with someone you trust like a family member, good friend, or partner. “A therapy session or good vulnerable talk with someone you trust can sometimes bring about feelings and allow us to have a good cry,” she adds.

Group therapy or online support groups can also offer another way to process your emotions since you can let yourself cry with people who can support and hold space for you, Karasina adds.

9. Write About How You’re Feeling

If you are upset and want to cry it out, Suarez-Angelino recommends writing a letter to the person or situation that is upsetting you. “Sometimes, being able to write down your feelings and thoughts helps your emotions rise to the surface and make themselves known,” she says.

The purpose of writing the letter is to allow for expression without judgment, so you don’t actually need to share it with someone—and simply writing in a journal can do the trick, too. When you carve out time to open up—even if it’s just you and your journal—the tears may naturally come, says Suarez-Angelino.

10. Yawn

Another simple way to help get the tears flowing is by yawning. “Try yawning a few times in a row to wake up the tear ducts. This may be helpful to get your body to cry,” says Suarez-Angelino, but note that this method may not work for everyone.

The good news is, yawning does not cause any harm if you do it too much. However, forced yawning can quickly turn into actual yawning and you may start to feel fatigued or tired.

The bottom line? When trying to make yourself cry, the most important thing is to not feel any pressure to cry. “Let go of the expectation that you need to have tears in order to feel. The moment you let go of the pressure of forcing yourself to have tears, you are able to take a breath and start to process your emotions,” says Suarez-Angelino.

    Headshot of Ashley Martens

    Ashley Martens is a wellness writer based in Chicago. With a lifelong passion for all things health and wellness, Ashley enjoys writing about topics to help people live happier and healthier lives. With a foundation in fitness, food, and nutrition, Ashley covers it all including sexual health and travel topics. Ashley is also a NASM-certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor.

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    Olivia Luppino is an editorial assistant at Women’s Health where she covers health, wellness, and fitness.

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