More often than not, when we’re looking to improve our mental health, we first reach for things like therapy, meditation, or yoga. And these are all valuable tools in the fight against poor mental health. However, many of the most effective ways to combat anxiety, depression and PTSD are much simpler – and cheaper! You would probably be surprised to learn that the simple act of staying hydrated is proven to improve our mental health!
Every organ in the body needs water to perform their functions properly and the brain is no different. The brain is made up of 73% water on average. Brain function can be severely impacted by dehydration - affecting not just your physical health, but your mental health as well. It’s unfortunate that hydration is often overlooked as a solution for improving mental health.
Drinking 6-8 glasses of water per day, depending on the individual, is a longstanding medical recommendation. However, people who are struggling with overwhelming feelings of depression or anxiety can often forget to drink water or opt for caffeinated drinks instead in an effort to help improve their energy levels. It’s a vicious circle, because in doing so the depression and anxiety usually worsens!
Here's now staying hydrated can impact your mental health:
Lower risk of anxiety and depression
A 2018 study showed that people who drank less water had a higher risk of depression and anxiety. People who drank sufficient amounts of water daily were more likely to be mentally healthy and happy.
Improved Emotional Health
The effects of hydration on overall mood were studied in 2014. Researchers found that when water intake was decreased, mood was adversely affected. The participants who reduced their water intake were less calm, more overwhelmed and more prone to feelings of dissatisfaction. Participants who continually drank an appropriate amount of water were calm and satisfied.
Decreased risk of dementia
Most people know that dehydration is linked to headaches (and a headache is guaranteed to put you in a bad mood!), but drinking enough water not only relieves headaches, it also comes with a reduced risk of dementia, including illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
So, we know it’s really important for all of us to remember to stay sufficiently hydrated, but we also know that people who are struggling with their mental health might find remembering to drink enough water difficult. Because of this, it’s important that we all recognise the signs of dehydration, so that we can help not just ourselves, but also our friends & family.
The symptoms of dehydration can include:
Whether you are looking to maintain or improve your mental health, next time you’re thinking of ways to do so, don’t forget about hydration!
For a sure-fire way to increase your water intake, talk to one of the team about one of our commercial water coolers.