The importance of water cannot be denied. There has been tons of research of the impacts of water on our physical health and its benefits. But what it boils down to is that we need literally need it to live. (We will die after three days without water). Today is World Water Day, a day held each other meant to raise awareness of the need to tackle the global water crisis. Did you know that 1.8 billion people currently use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio? Also, 663 million people still lack improved drinking water sources, especially in developing countries. This year for World Water Day, the UN is educating people about the opportunities for using wastewater as a resource. You can read some great blog content on it here.
I was thinking about what I could do on my part to contribute to World Water Day. For one, I need to be thinking about the issue more than just one day a year. But today is a great opportunity to start a conversation. Therefore, I wanted to use my platform, Slay Girl Society, to do so. So I thought – why not write a blog post on water and its relationship to mental health? People worldwide suffer from a myriad of mental health issues and water is just another resource to help tackle them.
So what are the impacts of water on mental health? Well for one, drinking water has a big influence on our physical health, affecting everything from our kidneys to our muscles. Our mind/body connection is so strong, such that when we are physically healthy, our mental health is improved. As well, even mild dehydration has been shown to negatively impact our mood, drain our energy and shrink our brain tissue, causing us to lose focus. It can also impact our short-term and long-term memory. Dehydration also causes headaches and sleep issues, which can significantly impact our mood during waking hours. Dehydration can impair our cognitive function so severely that it can even lead to delirium.
Besides the effects of drinking water, being in or near water also has an impact on our mental health. Researchers have shown that warm baths and showers can make people feel less lonely. The sounds of water flowing are soothing and can have therapeutic effects, while the act of swimming has been shown to reduce depression. And although I do have a friend who doesn’t like the taste of water, most people can’t argue the incredible feeling of a nice cold glass of water at the end of a long day.
So how can we take action to ensure that people have easy access to clean drinking water? There are many ways. If you are financially able, you can make a donation to a non-profit like charity:water. You can also raise awareness with your friends and family by sharing stories online and discussing it in person. You can also volunteer your time, resources or skills to the cause. Here is a list of a bunch of charities who are dedicated to providing clean drinking water.
So what about you? What action are you going to take today on World Water Day? Tell me in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!