Exploring the Caloric Impact of Crying: How Many Calories Do You Burn in an Hour?

How Many Calories Do You Burn Crying for an Hour

Emotions are complex and can elicit physical responses that often catch us off guard—crying is a prime example.

The tears we shed during emotional peaks, often referred to as “psychic tears,” serve a deeper purpose beyond simply expressing feelings.

These specialized tears are our body’s way of translating a psychological stimulus into a physical one, engaging a combination of our brain, hormones, and metabolic processes.

The burning question, often asked during times of distress, is whether crying can lead to significant caloric loss.

With meticulous research pointing to modest energy expenditure, crying can indeed burn calories—albeit in small amounts.

While the psychological benefits of crying have long been acknowledged, it’s the physiological impact that begs attention when discussing potential weight loss.

An intriguing comparison can be made to laughing, which burns 1.3 calories per minute, suggesting a similar caloric expenditure to crying.

It is important, however, to keep this in perspective with other physical activities.

A twenty-minute spell of distress translates to about 26 extra calories burned, positioning crying far from a replacement for a brisk stroll or a good night’s rest in terms of weight management.

Understanding the Physical Responses to Crying

When we experience a surge of emotions, crying often acts as a physical release, a phenomenon that extends beyond mere tear production.

The emergence of psychic tears during these intense emotional episodes is a fascinating physiological process that is uniquely human.

While often viewed primarily as an emotional response, crying concurrently triggers an array of physical reactions that touch upon different body systems.

One of the primary components of this physiological reaction is the so-called psychic tears.

Unlike basal tears, which maintain hydration and protection for the cornea, psychic tears are born out of emotional stress and carry with them biochemical substances indicative of that stress, such as cortisol.

1. Brain Signaling: Crying activates certain areas within the brain, specifically those connected to emotion and stress response.

This neural activity signals the endocrine system, prompting hormonal changes.

2. Hormonal Fluctuations: During a crying episode, changes occur in levels of cortisol, a key stress hormone, as well as oxytocin and endorphins that can invoke feelings of calm and well-being post-crying.

3. Metabolic Changes: As the body responds to emotional stimuli, subtle shifts in metabolism arise as part of the broader reaction to stress and relaxation cycles.

The composition of tears shed during an emotional cry includes elements that fundamentally differ from the tears we produce for eye lubrication.

Emotional tears are rich in proteins and hormones such as cortisol, which the body seeks to expel during stressful episodes.

It is this specific composition that lends credibility to the notion that crying can purify the body by eliminating stress-related toxins.

These physical responses, while offering a release of built-up emotional stress, can also have a direct impact on our health.

Crying is known to facilitate a period of stress relief that can be acutely felt in the aftermath of a heavy cry.

The body’s shift back to a state of equilibrium post-release can instigate a stabilization of hormonal imbalances, thereby fostering an environment that may support metabolic processes conducive to weight management.

Engaging in the natural act of crying, then, is not merely cathartic from a psychological standpoint but also holds physiological significance.

The process of emotional tear release encapsulates a complex interaction of brain, hormone, and metabolic responses, with indications that these factors collectively set the stage for somatic calmness and, in some cases, could contribute to weight loss efforts.

Given the intricate nature of crying and its physiological underpinnings, one can begin to appreciate the complexity of how our bodies translate emotional experience into a physical phenomenon.

The release of psychic tears is just one example of the dynamic ways our bodies cope with emotional stress, offering a glimpse into the delicate balance between emotional well-being and physical health.

Does Shedding Tears Lead to Weight Loss?

The idea that we can burn calories through our emotional responses is both intriguing and a bit misleading.

Let’s dive into the physiological nuances to unpack the calorie burn of crying and explore the associated emotional and hormonal changes.

The Calorie Equation of Crying

It’s established that laughter—much like crying—burns about 0.2 calories per minute.

Drawing parallels between these two expressions of emotion, an hour of crying is believed to expend approximately 12 calories.

In the context of caloric burn comparison, these figures are often seen as insignificant for those aiming to lose weight.

· Minor Caloric Burn: With evidence pointing to a mere 12 calories burnt from crying for an hour calorie burn, the numbers are simply too low to affect one’s weight loss journey.

· Emotional Stress: Stressful crying might contribute to weight gain due to hormonal changes and a potential increase in comfort eating.

Crying and Calorie Burn: Myth vs.


The pervasive myth that crying at certain hours can lead to enhanced weight loss holds no water in the scientific community.

What minimal caloric expenditure occurs is akin to the weight of a cup of chopped carrots or a slim slice of bacon—hardly a cornerstone of any serious weight management regimen.

1. Crying contributes only marginally to overall calorie burn.

2. The concept of strategic timed crying for weight loss is unfounded.

3. Acting as a minute supplement to daily caloric expenditure, crying shouldn’t be regarded as an effective weight loss method.

The Emotional and Hormonal Effects of Crying

While shedding tears may not significantly lower the numbers on the scale, the act of crying offers profound emotional release and hormonal shifts.

It’s a vehicle for excreting stress hormones like cortisol and inviting in the soothing presence of oxytocin and endorphins.

· Hormonal Release: Extended crying sessions can trigger an outflow of oxytocin, providing a sense of relief and tranquility.

· Social Signal: As a natural expression, crying communicates our emotional state to others, eliciting empathy and support.

· Emotional Regulation: The cathartic release may facilitate emotional wellness, although persistent excessive crying warrants professional attention.

Viewing crying as a path to weight loss is to misunderstand its true function in our lives.

It is an emotional and hormonal response, serving a role far more profound than the mere burning of calories.

Conclusion: The Reality of Crying and Caloric Burn

In summary, crying’s role as an avenue for calorie loss is minimal at best.

The amount of calories burned through crying is so trivial that it pales in comparison to more robust forms of physical activity.

To put it into perspective, one hour of tears might shed a number similar to the calorie content in a serving of vegetables—hardly a dent in one’s daily caloric balance.

It’s important to note that despite its limited impact on weight loss, crying serves as an essential emotional outlet offering notable health benefits such as stress relief and hormonal regulation.

When considering crying as part of our daily caloric expenditure, it’s clear that it cannot substitute the effectiveness of traditional exercise or nutritional approaches to weight management.

While the release of tears might be coupled with a sense of psychological alleviation and the balancing of certain hormones, it’s essential to view crying in its proper context—as a natural, therapeutic response to emotional stimuli rather than a weight loss method.

Ultimately, if one’s goal is to achieve significant weight loss, relying on the act of crying is far from an efficient strategy.

Practices that involve deliberate physical movement, mindful eating habits, and overall lifestyle changes offer far more tangible benefits for health and well-being.

Moreover, if instances of excessive crying occur, it may signal underlying psychological distress and professional consultation is advised to ensure emotional and mental health support.