The most important learning I took from a class on nutritional interventions for mental health and wellness is that WATER IS FUNDAMENTAL to our mental health and wellness.
We all know that we should keep hydrated. Sounds easy, but for so many of us, it’s hard to do. Water can seem SO BORING when there is soda, delicious iced coffee drinks, and sports drinks so easily at hand.
The neurotransmitters (like serotonin and dopamine) needed to support mood & stress management are produced in our guts. Our gut biome needs to be as healthy as possible and water is absolutely needed to flush out the toxins of stress hormones like cortical and adrenaline, chemicals found on our foods, and the processed sugars we consume.
Knowing we need to change and making change are two different things. We each need to find our own reasons for making positive changes. No amount of convincing of data that I can present will make you or someone you love, change if they are not ready.
If you know your “why” and are ready to make the change of adding enough water to your daily life, here are some suggestions:
- Calculate in ounces what 30-50% of your body weight is. That is the amount of water you should aim to drink every day.
- Start slowly. You don’t have to suddenly drink a specific larger amount, right away.
- Start at a time or place where you can be close to a restroom. Your body will be working overtime for a few days, happily flushing toxins out of your system. After a few days, you’ll reset.
- Place glasses of water in each room of your home or workplace. Take a sip when you enter a new room.
- Buy yourself a nice water bottle, as a gesture and very visible symbol of self-care and self-worth.
- Add a slice of lemon, lime, orange, cucumber, and/or mint to your water. It not only looks appealing; it takes good.
- Take 2-5 deep breaths every time you begin to drink your water.
The good news is only about 70% of our daily water consumption needs to come from drinking water. Several vegetables and fruit are high in water composition and will support increasing your water intake.
- 97% water: Cucumbers
- 96% water: Celery
- 95% water: Tomatoes, radishes
- 93% water: Red, yellow, green bell peppers
- 92% water: Cauliflower, watermelon
- 91% water: Spinach, strawberries, broccoli
- 90% water: Grapefruit
Have fun experimenting with what works for you to keep yourself hydrated and well.
Jan Kwiatkowski is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) practicing in the State of WI and has a passion for working with women experiencing Postpartum Depression, Anxiety or OCD, or relational challenges related to becoming parents. She is dedicated to whole person and family wellness, and growth and resilience. Her approach assumes the dignity and resilience of every human being and that each person is truly the expert in their own lives. Call (414) 485-0700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a FREE 20-minute consultation. Visit Jan Kwiatkowski’s Profile.