We’re always told, “drink more water”. However, many of us won’t jump on that bandwagon until we conceptualize what benefits it can bring to us in the immediate.
I did a 30 day water challenge with a friend from work where we aimed to drink more water each day (I ended up taking in about 100 oz. a day). However, before you pull out your jug and start chugging… here are some things to know first:
- Drinking too much water can be very dangerous.
Water intoxication can happen if someone drinks too much water too quickly. In rare cases, it can be deadly so never drink more than medically recommended for you.
- Your stomach may not be able to physically hold a larger intake of water at the start.
I wanted to get in close to a gallon of water on the first day of the challenge. In reality, it took me a week to reach a gallon per day. My stomach wasn’t used to holding that much liquid. Plus, I realized I personally didn’t need a gallon to see results.
These pictures were taken only two weeks apart. As you can see, my face slimmed out because I wasn’t retaining as much water. Also, my skin looked and felt so much more hydrated.
Now, let’s hit on the positives that drinking more water brings to our mental health:
Our brain is made up of about 75 percent water and when we are nurturing it properly, the benefits can be game changing. We can focus better, think faster and have better clarity and creativity.
Feel like your hormones are off? Try drinking more water because it’s a key source for the brain to manufacture hormones and neurotransmitters.
Depression and Dehydration
Being dehydrated can cause serotonin levels to decrease. Serotonin is one of the most important neurotransmitters in our mental health and it impacts brain cells linked to our mood, sleep and social behavior.
So when we are not getting enough water, we are doing our brain a disservice by not allowing it to produce the chemicals it needs for optimal mental wellness.
Studies have been shown that dehydration can dramatically increase our cortisol levels. Most of us know cortisol as the “stress” hormone because it’s released as part of our internal “fight-or-flight”. While that serves us well if a black bear shows up by our camping tent, it does not serve us well when things arise that do not merit constant fear or stress.
Higher cortisol levels can also increase our risk for other mental illnesses, like depression. So, keep the water intake high and the cortisol levels low.
Tips for drinking more H2O
When drinking water isn’t a part of your daily routine – finding that routine can take as much effort as drinking water itself.
Here are some tips straight from the CDC which I love:
- “Carry a water bottle for easy access when you are at work or running errands.
- Freeze some freezer safe water bottles. Take one with you for ice-cold water all day long.
- Choose water when eating out. Generally, you will save money and reduce calories.
- Add a wedge of lime or lemon to your water. This can help improve the taste and help you drink more water than you usually do.”
For me, tracking and drinking more water was much more enjoyable because I used a bottle from Mossy Oak. If you’re wanting a Yeti but aren’t willing to spend $70 to $100 on it, this is a great solution!
This brand does an incredible job keeping water cold, for 24 HOURS. No joke. You can find these two, 17 oz bottles on Amazon for $24.99. I would suggest two because when you are drinking more water, you will have to wash your bottle more frequently.