Water is one of the four elements of life (also, fire, water, earth, and air) that is necessary to survive. We are made up of nearly 60% water therefore if we don’t ingest water for approximately 3 days or so, we die.
It is more important than food and is vital to every function in the body down to the cellular level.
Water is the solvent that transports all nutrients to cells and removes toxins from those cells. It also regulates our body temperature by storing water in cells if we are dehydrated, and if we are too hot, it’s released through sweat.
Detoxification of our blood and body happens with the elimination of water via kidneys, sweat glands, lungs and bowels.
Stress response and dehydration can elicit the same types of feelings:
Stress causes dehydration and dehydration causes stress.
Get off the cycle by staying hydrated throughout the day.
This is essential to keep your entire body (organs, muscles, etc.) functioning optimally, and can therefore ward off the feelings listed above. Sometimes when we get caught up in a busy day, we can’t tell if we are stressed or just dehydrated. Making drinking water a priority will allow you to be more aware and connected to your mind and body and be able to decipher feelings of dehydration versus stress.
When dehydrated, the adrenal glands (located on top of the kidneys) produce cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone responsible for the fight or flight response, which if chronically stimulated, will create feelings of anxiety, stress, overwhelm and panic.
When you’re feeling stress whether in your mind (too many thoughts) or your body (muscle aches), you are creating more metabolism. This increase in energy is initiated by an increase in heart rate, pumping the blood faster throughout the body, requiring more water to detoxify the blood.
This increase in heart rate also increases your rate of breathing, thereby losing water through the lungs and your breath. The adrenal glands (on top of your kidneys) produce cortisol and thereby increase the response on the kidneys through association.
Staying hydrated encourages the body to stay in a balanced state: body and mind by maintaining levels of the feel-good hormone: serotonin. Serotonin is essential for feeling happy and full of joy. Stress and joy are on two different ends of the spectrum so when you are joyful, you can’t possibly be stressed.
Have you ever felt sluggish and after drinking coffee, you didn’t get that boost you were looking for? It was more than likely that you were too dehydrated to create anymore energy, and therefore actually need a glass of water more than coffee.
The metabolism that is created when drinking caffeinated drinks requires water. Scientifically, to create one molecule of metabolism, water (H2O) is required to remove a Phosphate (P) from the initial molecule Adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Once the P is removed from ATP, it is now ADP (Adenosine DiPhosphate) and energy has been created!
The misconception of caffeine being dehydrating isn’t because caffeine removes water, it’s actually the metabolism that caffeine creates that is dehydrating. It is always best to consume water WITH coffee or caffeinated teas, to ensure you get the energy boost that you are looking for.
Eating carbohydrates increases the need for more water intake as well, as carbs create energy in the body.
The more carbs you eat, the more water you must drink because carbs create energy and as said before, you need water to create that energy – from a cellular level – energy is ATP and to release a phosphate for energy the water break the ATP to ADP releasing the third phosphate molecule.
Because water is one of the 4 elements, it is very grounding, meaning it helps us to connect with the earth, and brings awareness to our body and consciousness. Water balances us by replenishing that 60% of water in our body (as it is eliminated throughout the body during the day).
I recommend bathing to encourage the grounding and mind-body connection. Having a bath with Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) encourages a relaxation of mind and body through quieting the mind and slowing down the body. Having a bath rather than a shower really allows you to connect with your body.
The awareness that is noted when you see your body at its most vulnerable and caring for it creates a special bond that is necessary to really connect with your consciousness/intuition. This is also a perfect time to practice your breathing exercises, after a busy day. Trust me, you will appreciate it more than you know. Also, I recommend sweating at least once per day, and a hot bath in the evening is a great way to detoxify some sweat out of your pours.
Bathing also helps to reduce muscle tension, especially when Epsom salts are used (see above). (Magnesium is a wonderful mineral that is essential for metabolism, muscle repair, and relaxing muscles. It leaches out of the bones when our body becomes too acidic/pH is too high (pH balance – normal is around 7.4).)
Muscles also need water to decrease tension, increase elasticity and movement, as well as creating metabolism (as noted above).
Because water reduces muscle tension, it is essential to get adequate amounts throughout the day to ensure a quality night’s sleep. With adequate water intake, the body is able to regulate heart rate, thereby preventing tachycardia (fast heart rate) throughout the night- which can lead to a restless sleep.
Our bodies heal and repair throughout the night, therefore go through a lot of metabolism, and as stated above, water is required for all metabolism. (Adding magnesium before bed is important for muscle relaxation, and removing RLS (restless leg syndrome.)