Hydration for Happiness

Hydration for Happiness

Posted on May 16, 2024

I’m sure you’ve already heard more than once that staying hydrated is important for your physical health—flushing toxins, lubricating joints, replacing what you sweat, and all that good stuff. But did you know that hydration plays an important role in your mental health too? This Mental Health Month, we’re diving into how drinking water can make you happier, and help you form habits that will keep you refreshed and recharged for the rest of your life.

Let’s start out with some science to back us up. One 2014 study tested what happens when people who drink a lot of water start drinking less, and vice versa. In the first case, less water led to lowered contentedness, calmness, and positive emotions. When the second group started drinking more water, they saw much less fatigue, confusion, and sleepiness. Seems pretty conclusive, right?

We can guess that at least some part of this is related to what we already talked about: your physical health. Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating—it’s no surprise that any of these things might make you feel grumpier! But it’s also important to know that even mild dehydration can cause these symptoms, and we don’t feel thirsty until we’ve already hit that point. So, make sure you’re drinking water regularly, even if you don’t feel like you need it.

There’s a little more to it, though. Hydration is also associated with issues like depression and anxiety. Another study conducted in 2018 found that people who drank less water (two or less glasses per day) had a significantly higher risk of depression than people who drank at least five glasses of water per day. The same study also showed an association between lower water intake and anxiety, although this connection isn’t as clear, statistically speaking.

So now that you’ve got yet another reason to stay hydrated, will that lead to you refilling that glass more than usual? If not, here are a few things you can try to build up that habit:

  • Keep water handy! Make it as easy as possible to get those sips in. We recommend getting a water bottle or tumbler to leave on your desk or bring on the go.
  • Make it fun! Some people (especially kids) find water boring compared to juice or soda. For the little ones, drinkware featuring their favorite characters might get them excited about hydration. You can also try flavoring water with add-ins or fresh fruit.
  • Chill out! Even a little bit of ice might make a big difference, since many people prefer the refreshing taste of iced water to room temperature water. If your ice is melting and making your drinks unpalatable, insulated drinkware will hold temperature and keep beverages cold for longer.
  • Don’t stress about it! If you beat yourself up every time you don’t hit that 8x8 daily intake goal, you’ll turn hydration into a chore. Instead, try figuring out how much you drink on average, and celebrate whenever you surpass that amount to build up your intake slowly.

Remember: hydration is good for both your mind and your body, and you’ll want to keep it up even after Mental Health Month ends!

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