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Tips to Stop Yourself From Crying at a Funeral

Tamsen Butler
Woman Crying at a Funeral

There is nothing wrong with displaying emotion at a funeral, especially for a loved one. Crying can become an issue if you're scheduled to deliver a eulogy or other message or if the culture of your family frowns upon crying; luckily there are some tricks you can use to help your tears to stop flowing.

Focus on Something Else

While it's important to be in-the-moment for the sake of your grieving process if your main goal is to stop crying you can focus on something unrelated to the death of your loved one. While mourning, you likely noticed that certain thoughts or memories elicit more emotion from you than others - a memory of your father teaching you to drive a car or your grandmother's face on your wedding day - so it's best to try not to dwell on these memories while at the funeral. Try to think of neutral things, like what you'll eat for dinner tomorrow or a project waiting for you at work.

A Temporary Solution

It's important to face your grief at some point, so only use any stopping-crying tactic as a temporary fix to keep you from crying at the funeral. If every time outside of the funeral your deceased loved one comes to mind you replace the image with something mundane, you're not facing your grief and won't move past the Denial stage of mourning and will have a harder time moving forward.

Look Away

Other people crying might make you cry even harder, especially if you're close to the people crying. Don't watch your loved ones cry; if you're up at the podium to deliver a message look toward someone managing to remain stoic. Or, if necessary, stare directly at the midline of the back wall, or an item on the wall. From everyone else's perspective, it will simply look as though you're looking into the crowd instead of staring at the wall.

Take a Deep Breath

A deep breath can be a cleansing reset even if you've already started crying and want to stop. Envision your lungs as balloons and fill them with air, then forcefully exhale all the air, deflating the "balloons." This type of breathing can be relaxing, even for those in stressful situations. Relaxing may help you calm your tears as you calm your mind. Try to relax your facial muscles as you do this as this will help calm you.

Clear Your Throat

Body language experts claim that clearing your throat, followed by placing your tongue on the roof of your mouth will halt tears. Of course, if you're delivering a message you can't really do so with your tongue on the roof of your mouth, but this tactic might help you stave off tears while sitting in attendance.

Preemptive Strike

As the funeral date approaches, if your main goal is to not cry, take some time beforehand to allow yourself the opportunity to cry with reckless abandon in the privacy of your own home. If you fight tears for days and then arrive at the funeral where everyone else is grieving, there is a good chance you won't be able to stop the tears from flowing because they've been building up.

Be Prepared

Tears streaming down your face uncontrollably or splatting onto the funeral program in your lap can make you cry even harder. Have tissue readily available, either in your hand, pocket, or purse and wipe away your tears as they come. It's much easier to stay composed when you don't feel as though you've lost control.

Excuse Yourself

If you simply can't get ahold of yourself and crying is unacceptable for whatever reason, excuse yourself temporarily. Go to the restroom or your car and try to calm your breathing and compose yourself. Wipe your tears away and return when you feel ready.

Crying Is Normal

Crying is a healthy, normal response to grief. Unless there's a specific reason why you shouldn't cry at the funeral, there is no reason to stifle this natural emotional response. Calming yourself down can do wonders in not losing your bearing.

Tips to Stop Yourself From Crying at a Funeral