I would like to curb my tendency to cry and become mentally stronger

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company employee in my 20s, and I’m concerned because I cry so easily.

If something bad happens at work, I’ll cry in the bathroom or on my way home. When I get into an argument with my boyfriend, and he raises his voice, I’ll cry when I’m alone — if I don’t cry right there. Even when I’m talking to my parents, and they don’t agree with me, I get so angry that I start crying.

Recently, I find myself empathizing with others a little too much. Sometimes, I can’t stop crying when I think about characters on dramas or about victims in incidents I see on the news and imagine how they must be feeling.

Ever since I was young, I would always cry whenever something bad happened. But since I started working, I’ve become more stressed and I feel like my tendency to cry has returned.

I don’t like that I cry over little things. Please let me know if there is a way for me to hold back my tears or to build up my mental strength.

—A, Chiba Prefecture

Dear Ms. A:

I don’t think crying itself is a bad thing. I cry as well when I hear about someone going through a difficult situation, but that is only when I don’t have a “role” to play. When my role as a doctor requires me to deal with various situations, I need to stay objective and think about what I should do rather than be subjective and think “I want to cry.” So, in these situations, crying is not an option.

In your case, I think it’s fine to cry when you’re watching a show or get into a fight with your boyfriend. However, at work, how about staying objective? When something bad happens at work, as a professional, think objectively about how to deal with that situation and figure out how to resolve it. How about viewing it that way?

If you just cry after having a negative experience at work, you might not be able to overcome it the next time something similar occurs. There are situations in which crying will solve the problem, but I think it’s important for you to improve your ability to see things objectively and understand your role in a situation. By doing so, it can prevent your tendency to cry from becoming a way for you to run away from your problems.

—Junko Umihara, psychiatrist