Crying is something your body does when you feel very strong emotions. Some people cry easily, while others don’t cry as much. When you cry because you’re overwhelmed with human emotions, your body produces tears that are called “psychic tears.” These tears turn your psychological response into a physical one.
When you cry, it affects your brain signals, hormones, and even your body’s processes, like metabolism. Researchers have become interested in whether these effects impact your body long after you cry.
Some people think that crying could help with weight loss because it helps burns calories, releases toxins, and it also helps balance hormones. But let’s learn what scientists know about whether crying can make you lose weight.
How Many Calories Does Crying Burn?
So, how many calories does crying burn? When we feel sad because we lost someone we love, go through a breakup, or have symptoms of depression, we often cry a lot. Sometimes we also notice that we are losing weight during this time. However, the main reason for weight loss in these situations is usually because we lose our appetite rather than crying.
Although crying uses up some calories, you would have to continuously cry for hours and days to burn the same amount of calories as you would during a single fast-paced walk.
Research suggests that crying burns about the same number of calories as laughing, which is around 1.3 calories per minute. So, during a 20-minute crying session, you burn an extra 26 calories compared to not crying at all. It’s not a significant amount.
Does Crying Burn Calories? Does Crying Have Health Benefits?
Yes, crying is actually good for your health. While it may not burn many calories, crying has other health benefits. Shedding tears help to relieve stress and stabilize your mood, making you feel more relaxed. Crying is a natural way for your body to restore calmness when you feel loss or helplessness.
Frequent crying helps to detoxify your body. Tears produced to protect your eyes contain cortisols- a stress hormone. When you’re experiencing intense emotion and started crying, you’re flushing out stressors and regulating cortisol levels, which can aid in getting rid of stubborn fat and reducing emotional stress.
Moreover, crying occasionally assists in recovering from grief and pain. When you cry for a while, your body releases hormones like oxytocin and endorphins, which create a soothing and comforting feeling.
These emotional stress hormones are associated with relief, love, and happiness and can help manage strong and negative emotions related to loss. They can even alleviate physical pain, which is why your body triggers tears when you’re hurt.
When to Seek Help If You Think You Cry Too Much or Too Often
Knowing when to seek help if you cry too much or too often is important. It’s normal to cry sometimes, especially after a traumatic event. However, do you often find yourself crying more frequently than usual? Well, that could be a sign of depression or other mental health issues.
Frequent crying may impact your life negatively, even if you don’t think you have depression or don’t want medication. Taking care of your mental health is still important. Talk to a doctor or a mental health professional about your symptoms and create a plan to address your excessive crying.
It will help if you are aware of the signs of depression, which can vary from one person to another. Some common symptoms include loss of appetite or weight loss, losing interest in daily activities, sleep problems, thoughts of self-harm or impulsive behavior, lack of interest in the future or maintaining relationships, feeling tired all the time, and difficulty concentrating.
Why Do We Cry?
Crying is something only humans do, unlike other animals who make different sounds when they’re upset.
We don’t know much about crying, but it’s believed that it helps us connect with others.
People usually cry during important moments in life, like happy occasions (weddings, having a baby) or sad times (death, losing someone).
But sometimes we can cry during ordinary situations, like arguments, when we’re annoyed, or when we watch movies or commercials.
Crying isn’t always a bad thing and can actually be helpful. When we have a good cry, it might release a hormone called oxytocin, which helps reduce stress.
A study from 2008 looked at 3,000 crying experiences and found that most people felt better after a good cry.
People who received support from others while crying were more likely to feel better afterward.
The Connection Between Crying, Stress, and Weight
When we cry, it’s usually because we’re feeling emotional stress, and this sets off reactions in our bodies. The American Heart Association suggests that our body releases a hormone called adrenaline. Hence, that makes our heart beat faster. On top of that, our breathing quickens, and our blood pressure increase. It prepares us to deal with the situation causing the stress.
But shedding tears itself is not a form of exercise. It doesn’t burn more calories and won’t help you lose weight. The only “muscle” that emotional stress affects is the heart. Even though your heart rate increases when you shed tears due to grief or sadness, it’s not enough to significantly impact your metabolic rate or result in weight loss.
It’s important to note that mental and emotional stress can actually lead to emotional eating, where we eat more because of negative emotions. This adds more calories instead of burning calories. A study published in the Journal of Eating Disorders found that emotional eating contributes to weight gain and makes it harder to lose weight for some people.
To maintain a healthy weight, focusing on exercise, mindful eating, managing emotions, and having a positive body image is beneficial. These approaches can positively impact individuals who struggle with emotional eating and weight management.
In summary, if your goal is weight loss, overwhelming yourself mentally or emotionally won’t give you the desired results. It may even lead to overeating or make you too tired to engage in healthy forms of exercise.
Fun Ways to Burn Calories Without Feeling Like Exercise
The physical act of crying and doing everyday activities, known as NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), burns calories, but the results are slow and minimal. You can easily undo the calories burned from NEAT and crying by eating just a few Oreos. However, regular exercise allows you to eat more without gaining weight and facing health risks associated with obesity.
So, how can you stay active without feeling like you’re doing a boring workout? Here are some enjoyable and relaxing activities that can get you moving without feeling like traditional exercise:
Gardening: Spending time in a garden, whether it’s a big one or just plants on your apartment window, gets you outside in fresh air and keeps you moving. You can easily lose track of time while gardening and enjoy the benefits of being active.
Crafting: Instead of fidgeting, try crafting activities like crochet, embroidery, or woodwork. These hobbies involve small movements and can help you burn calories while providing a break from screen time.
Hiking: While hiking requires some effort, it can be a more enjoyable alternative to going to the gym. Being surrounded by nature, enjoying the view, and hiking with a group can make your workout feel like a sightseeing adventure.
Pilates: Consider trying beginner-level Pilates routines, which offer gentle exercises that can make you feel like you’ve had a massage and improved your posture. You can find helpful pilates videos on YouTube for beginners.
Once you develop a regular active habit and spend time outdoors, you might discover that it feels good. However, remember that consistency is key even if crying becomes a consistent part of your workout routine. Don’t stress if you can’t commit to more intense activities. The important thing is to find activities that you enjoy and keep moving.