But this tendency to suppress emotions could be harming mental health, according to a charity, which suggests that crying more could make people feel better.
One in four 18 to 34-year-olds admit they think showing emotions is a sign of weakness, compared with just one in ten over-55s, researchers found.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental health charity Mind, which commissioned the research, said it is important not to keep emotions bottled up.
He added: “Many of us lead busy, stressful lives and sometimes it can feel like things are spiralling out of control. Although it may seem tempting to put on a brave face, it really is okay to cry.
“It’s time for us all to stop holding back the tears and reach out for support.”
The Populus poll of 2 063 adults found women were three times more likely than men to have cried because they felt anxious in the past week.
They were also twice as likely to say that crying had made them feel better.
Half of the women surveyed also said they turned to comfort eating to cope with negative feelings, compared with two-fifths of men.