Mental Health and Water
Water. Everyone needs it and it’s probably earth’s most abundant resource. But do we really understand how critical water is to healthy living? Drinking enough of it each day is a critical part of proper nutrition and most of us do not get anywhere close to the recommended daily amount. This is probably something that we know but we overlook because we don’t understand that proper hydration is essential for our physical and emotional health.
You are what you eat
We’ve probably all heard from a young age that roughly 60% of our bodies are made of water. We’ve also heard the saying, “you are what you eat”. I think there are some reasons for this, as our bodies replenish deficiencies with what we feed ourselves. Water is a critical fluid that our bodies need to thrive. It can help also with things as simple as giving us more energy and better digestive health.
Recently, there have been a number of scientific studies that have shown that drinking enough of it can also decrease depression, increase mental alertness, improve your mood and give you energy. Blogs and other media seem to have raised the issue as well.
In the book “Eat This and Live! For Kids”, which serves as a healthy eating guide for parents, the author mentions first treating his patients by evaluating their water intake.1 He also spends some time explaining the importance of water and mentions some symptoms that come from dehydration, including depression.1 What a quick fix that could be if many depression symptoms were simply aggravated by dehydration.*
*Please note that if you are struggling with depression, do not wait. Contact a therapist today.
Tips to help you drink more water
As a society, we’ve grown to appreciate quick fixes so much that we’ve seemed to lose sight of such an easy remedy for so many ailments…drinking enough water. Between busy lifestyles and the availability of so many drink options, I’m guessing that most of us are not drinking nearly enough. Below are a few tips to help you get in those 8* glasses of water per day.
- Carry a refillable bottle with you wherever you go.
- Add a flavored enhancer to improve the taste. It’s important to look for appropriate ingredients and no artificial sweeteners. For a more natural approach, simply add a lemon or an orange.
- Substitute your daily can of soda for a tall glass of water. Not only will it nourish your body, but it can also help you to maintain a healthy weight.
- Purchase a filter to keep in your fridge. This way, you’ll have clean water ready to drink at any time.
- Drink a glass with every meal.
- Make drinking a glass part of your normal daily routines. For example, you could drink a glass every time you wake up.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Many fruits and veggies are a great source of water. While this won’t provide you with enough to meet your daily needs, every little bit helps!
- Use your phone as a reminder. There’s plenty of tracking apps out there, or you can simply set up alerts on your phone.
- Find someone to keep you accountable. Challenge a spouse or close friend to drink a certain number of glasses per day and be sure to check in with each other.
- Make it a rule to drink a glass before drinking any other type of beverage.
*Please note that 8 glasses is a commonly known average. Daily water intake needs may vary by individual. Please contact your doctor to discuss exactly how much water you should be drinking each day.
Take the time to evaluate your daily water intake
I’ll admit that drinking water has not always been very high on my priority list. After all, it takes time to drink a healthy amount, not to mention the inconvenience of all the extra bathroom trips. However, if a medical doctor sees enough value in first treating patients with water, wouldn’t it make sense to evaluate how healthy our own water consumption is on a daily basis?
What if our lethargic, achy, depressive symptoms could be dramatically decreased if not all but eliminated by simply drinking more water? It’s worth some personal research and a talk with your primary physician.
1Colbert, D., & Cannizzaro, J. A. (2010). Eat This and Live! For Kids. Lake Mary, Florida. Siloam.
– Mike Ritter, Managing Partner – Live Wellness Center
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This article should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any condition or illness. At no time is a professional relationship established with anyone by reading this article. Live Wellness Center has a team of caring professional therapists to help you find restoration, mental health and overall wellness. Call us for an appointment at 614-437- 9910.