Water is essential to the survival of almost every species on the planet. Our bodies use water in every cell and organ to regulate temperature and maintain other bodily functions. A hydrated body is less prone to complications in the joints, brain, digestion and spinal cord. While most people understand the importance of water is for physical health, it is often neglected for its essential role in mental health.
Hydration on Your Mind and Body
Fueling your body with water can affect the size of your brain. The human brain is composed of 75% water, and dehydration can cause the brain volume to shrink. A study found that 90 minutes of sweating without replenishing lost fluids shrinks the brain as much as a year of aging.
Dehydration can also increase your risk of fatigue, anxiety and depression. When you lack the right amount of water, your mood, happiness, perception, and quality of life can shift. Serotonin, a hormone that stabilizes your mood can drop significantly when you are dehydrated.
Signs of Dehydration
- Reduced concentration
- Loss in motivation and productivity
- Headaches and headache symptoms
- Mood swings and irritability
- Enhanced anxiousness and nervous feelings
Water also plays an important role in satiety. Often when people are dehydrated, thirst can be confused with hunger, leading to a tendency to eat more. Unfortunately food doesn't solve the problem.
The next time you begin to feel anxious, down, depressed or short-tempered, consider the role that waster can play in your mood.
How Many Glasses of Water Will Improve My Mental Health?
According to the Mayo Clinic women should drink 11.5 cups of water each day and men should drink 15.5 cups of water each day.
This week measure and track your water intake levels to see if you are well hydrated.
Take good care,
Your wellbeing matters. Take five minutes to learn if you are suffering, surviving or thriving in five essential areas of life and what you can do to improve your wellbeing. Try it now.
About the Author:
Derrick McEachern is a Registered Counselling Therapist (RCT) in Nova Scotia, and a Canadian Certified Counsellor. He specializes in providing mindfulness-based cognitive therapy in the areas of addiction, healthy relationships, grief and loss, and career and life transitions. He offers workshops and webinars and consults with businesses on ways to improve employee wellbeing and mental health.