You’ve heard it time and time again, you need to drink more water but what may surprise you is that there is a strong link between anxiety and hydration. In fact, taking in sufficient amounts of water can actually help decrease anxiety and improve your overall health and wellness. The most surprising thing is that those terrible anxiety symptoms you’re feeling may not even be your anxiety. Instead, it may just be signs of dehydration as it can cause symptoms anxiety also causes. So, pour yourself a full glass of H20. It’s time to drink your anxiety away. Cheers!
Understanding Anxiety and Dehydration
Can Dehydration Cause Increased Anxiety?
In short? Absolutely! Signs of dehydration can present similar to the symptoms anxiety causes, resulting in you getting those anxious jitters, racing heart, and other uncomfortable sensations that feel like an anxiety attack.
Now, I’m not saying that dehydration has caused your anxiety diagnosis. That’s an entirely different scenario, as there are many factors that come into play when determining the causes of anxiety. Everyone’s story is different; some are triggered from public settings; others are triggered by public speaking; some are triggered by childhood trauma and others are triggered by an irrational fear that no one else understands. We all have a story.
However, what I am saying is that yes, being dehydrated can cause increased anxiety, and boost symptoms anxiety is known for. In other words, being dehydrated can feel like an anxiety attack and it can also trigger symptoms similar to anxiety.
say anxiety is caused by dehydration would be inaccurate. As you’re about to learn throughout this post, dehydration can trigger anxiety symptoms but the cause of this mental illness is never ruled down to simply needed a glass of water.
How Does Dehydration Make Anxiety Worse?
Water is a huge component to healthy living. You need it to survive and you need even more of it for your mind and physical body to thrive and function properly. Plenty of research has linked dehydration to depression and anxiety, because your mental health is mainly driven by your brain’s activity. When you’re dehydrated, your brain functioning slows down resulting in it not functioning properly.
When it comes to anxiety specifically, being dehydrated can induce anxiety attacks and even present symptoms anxiety is also known for.
Here are some of the things that can happen when you are dehydrated:
- your hormones aren’t able to reach their destination as efficiently as your blood flow is poor
- your muscles can tense up or feel weak
- your brain can start to respond less quickly and feel weak
- your mouth can become dry which can trigger gagging sensations
- you can become nauseated which can trigger the anxious cycle
- your body can start to experience chills
- you may begin to feel light-headedness
- you may begin to feel like you’re fainting
- your heart rate can increase
Signs of Dehydration That Feel Like Symptoms Anxiety Also Causes
One of the many ways dehydration can negatively impact your anxiety is by created symptoms anxiety is known for. In other words, when you’re dehydrated, your body can begin to experience those uncomfortable sensations that feel exactly like anxiety. And even though the symptoms may not be an oncoming anxiety attack, it can certainly feel like it which can also make you feel more anxious and send you into a full-blown anxiety attack.
For example, being dehydrated can present symptoms anxiety is known for, such as:
- tense muscles
- feeling weak, dizzy or lightheaded
- brain fog
- dry mouth
- body chills similar to that of a fever
- feeling like you’re going to faint
- racing heart rate
- heart palpitation
- feeling disoriented or disconnected from your body
… And that’s only to name a few. Needless to say, you need to stay hydrated! It’s one of the easiest ways to reduce anxiety and keep your mind and body healthy.
Benefits of Hydration for Anxiety
Let’s flip the dialogue here and focus on the benefits of hydration and how it can be a key factor for reducing anxiety. Hydration can help anxiety in many ways and I have personally found that anytime I have anxiety or an anxiety attack out of the blue, it’s usually because I haven’t had enough water.
Staying hydrated allows your body to function properly
Your mind and body need water to work efficiently. Staying hydrated can help deter dehydration symptoms anxiety is known for causing, as well as many other uncomfortable side effects. It’s also essential for keeping your physical, mental and emotional health happy and functioning properly, which will benefits all aspects of your life. So, drink up!
Water is an amazing calming tool
Water is a natural calming agent. Simply taking a sip of water can instantly help anxiety by soothing any signs of dehydration or anxiety you’re experiencing.
“I’ve been using water as my go-to calming tool ever since I was diagnosed at the age of 7. I won’t leave the house without a full bottle of water. Over time, I have been able to do things without white-knuckling my water bottle, but to this day, I still will not go anywhere if I can’t have my water. Even when I am traveling through airport security, I come prepared with a full water bottle that I can drink up until the point where I am forced to throw it out, and an empty bottle that I can fill up as soon as I get through security. Water is my life line.”
– Chantal McCulligh
Staying hydrated can decrease your stress hormones
You’ve likely heard of the big, bad ‘C’ word – cortisol, and that’s because it’s a stress hormone that plays a fairly significant role in your stress and anxiety. After all, the higher your cortisol levels, the more stressed or anxious you feel. What may surprise you though is that studies have shown that being dehydrated even by half a litre, can increase your cortisol levels,. So, reduce anxiety in one of the simplest ways by drinking a minimum of 8 glasses of water a day.
Drinking water helps decrease anxiety symptoms
Since dehydration can cause symptoms anxiety is best known for, drinking water can help reduce those uncomfortable sensations. This is particularly true when you wake up in the morning and feel the unbearable anxious jitters. Chances are, you’re dehydrated from the night. Start every morning with a big cup of water and you’ll be surprised at how quickly this helps reduce anxiety symptoms.
Easy Tips for Staying Hydrated Throughout The Day
I get it – not everyone loves drinking water, and if this sounds like you I want you to ask yourself: do you loathe drinking water or anxiety more? Chances are, you dislike having anxiety far more than you dislike drinking water. So, let this be your motivator the next time you start to experience signs of dehydration. Remember, drinking water and staying hydrated is the easiest anxiety tip that can drastically help anxiety and so much more. Here are some awesome ways to help keep you hydrated throughout the day:
- Grab a couple of cute, reusable water bottles to bring with you throughout the day
- Use a hydration reminder, whether it’s a set reminder on your phone or a Ulla device attached to your water bottle
- Decrease your intake of sugary and caffeinated beverages
- Never leave the house without a water bottle. This simple act will encourage you to drink more.
- Toss in some fresh fruit slices for an extra treat when you’re craving something more
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Watermelon and cucumber are high in water content
- Enjoy chia seed pudding (they soak up 10 times their weight in water)
Benefits of Using a Hydration Reminder
Let’s take a moment to bring attention to the benefit of using a hydration reminder. At first, we didn’t really think we needed one. After all, we drink regularly throughout the day… Or so we thought.
As soon as we started using our Ulla Hydration Reminder, we quickly noticed that there are several hours throughout the day where we don’t even take one sip, as it sends a flashing reminder if you haven’t taken a drink in the past hour. Because of this, we quickly became advocates – so much so that it lead us to writing this post on how hydration helps anxiety.
What is a Ulla Hydration Reminder?
If you aren’t familiar with the trending hydration reminders that are floating all over social media, you’re likely wondering what the heck is a hydration reminder?
Well, Ulla Smart Hydration Reminders is a smart device you attach to your water bottle that sends you a reminder to take a sip of water every hour. The smart hydration reminder blinks a flashing light when you haven’t lifted your water bottle to take a drink, which means that you are dehydrated!
The really unique thing about Ulla specifically is that the blinking system follows the optimal hydration cycle, helping you keep dehydration and all the anxious symptoms that follow, at bay. It also detects when you drink, so you won’t be getting reminders unless you need them.
Oh, the wonders of technology! It’s pretty awesome and it instantly turns any of your water bottles into a smart water! So, I highly recommend getting a Ulla Smart Hydration Reminder to stay on top of your hydration to decrease those signs of dehydration that can feel exactly like symptoms anxiety is best known for.
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