The Power Of Water
If someone suggested to you that a simple glass of water will help you reduce your stress and anxiety from building to noticeable levels you would probably dismiss that notion.
After all, it’s far too simple, right?
But science and research has proven that if you are even slightly dehydrated it can increase your level of the stress hormone cortisol.
And what’s amazing is that it doesn’t take a lot to increase your stress and anxiety levels.
What About The 8 Glass Per Day Rule?
I’m sure you’ve heard somewhere in the past that you should be drinking at least eight glasses of water each day.
- But who came up with that?
- Do you actually try to hit that mark every day?
- What about when you exercise or when the weather is warm?
- Do you increase your water intake during those times?
- By how much?
According to a survey in 2018 carried out by Quench.com, a United States corporate water solutions provider, 77% of those surveyed said they did not think they consumed enough water on a daily basis to meet their health needs.
“The national survey of more than 1,000 employed Americans found that the most frequently cited cause for not drinking enough water was lack of thirst (43 percent). While that might seem logical, experts say that thirst is not an on-time indicator of dehydration because the thirst sensation doesn’t appear until after people are dehydrated.”
Further, according to the American Psychological Association, the majority of Americans are suffering from some type of stress. CEO Norman B. Anderson, Ph.D. is quoted as saying “America is at a critical crossroads when it comes to stress and our health.”
And since the global COVID-19 pandemic, this stress problem has only gotten worse.
The link between drinking the right amount of water and your daily stress levels is well documented. In other words, not only do our bodies need adequate water to survive, it also needs water to keep our stress and anxiety levels at an acceptable level.
Dehydration can lead to many types of problems including loss of strength and stamina, mood swings, stress and anxiety, fatigue and lightheadedness.
The power of water cannot be underestimated.
Exactly How Much Water Should You Be Drinking?
So what’s the truth about the recommendation of eight 8oz glasses of water per day?
The reality is that there is no correct amount of water you should drink every day that works for everyone. Everyone’s water intake requirement is different and depends upon many factors including age, body weight, overall health, climate, level of activity and lifestyle – just to name a few.
However, there are general guidelines that have been established.
The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is:
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
Note that they used the phrase “fluid intake” and not water.
Many of the foods we eat during the day contain high levels of water and contribute to around 20 percent of our total daily fluid intake. Water, coffee, juices, sodas, tea, and even alcohol make up the rest.
Yes, alcohol counts too – but with a caveat. Alcohol is not only a depressant, but it also leads to dehydration. In fact, in another article, I will discuss why alcohol may the worst thing you can turn to for stress relief.
How To Know If You Are Drinking Enough?
Your fluid intake is probably good enough if:
- Your urine is colorless or light to clear yellow
- You rarely feel thirsty during the day
- You have soft bowel movements
- You have persistent bad breath
- You have hydrated healthy skin
Action Plan: Hydration For Stress Relief
#1 – Determine how much fluid your body needs by using the simple formula from The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine mentioned in the above section.
#2 – Start tracking your fluid intake daily until you get into the habit of getting enough water each day. There are free apps for your smartphone that can help you keep track of how much you are drinking on a daily basis.
#3 – If you work out and/or experiecing warm weather, you’ll need to increase your fluid intake. Try to drink and extra cup of fluid for every 15-20 minutes that you exercise.
#4 – Remember that water is great, but you can also get your daily fluid intake by including coffee, sports drinks, sodas, juices, and teas, etc. in your daily routine.
#5 – Keep up a steady intake of fluids throughout each day to reach your target rather than drinking large amounts of liquid in a short period of time.
The benefits of water to reduce stress are nothing new. In fact, it’s well documented.
Keeping hydrated with water during the day increases your cortisol levels and cortisol is a stress hormone. Continually putting fluids in your body keeps you from becoming dehydrated which leads to higher stress.
Track your daily water intake and keep notes in a journal, Track the amounts you consume and how it impacts your stress levels. After a few weeks you’ll know the right amount of water you need each day to keep your stress in check.