What happens in our body and mind when we drink water? Are the effects of showering and bathing the same? Why does it feel good to spend time by the water? Before you start reading this article, I recommend that you have a glass of water with you and even fill the bathtub if you have time, because you will want to drink water or be in the water soon.
A few years ago on Valentine’s Day I asked myself “Selen, what can I do for you? Where do you want to go?”. My inner voice replied “Take me to the water!”. I have been delaying this wish for a long time… If my friend wanted to, I would have cancelled my plans, jumped in the car and taken him/her for a swim, but when it came to myself, there was no time, the lake was too far, or it was not “that necessary”. But that day I said – Alright, let’s go! It was cold, I was in Scotland, it was February. I took the car and started driving. My heart was pounding like crazy when I got there. Parked the car, walked out, faced the lake… and tears start pouring down my face! Crying loud out from happiness! I walked into the water and gifted this moment to myself. Since then, I have been taking myself to nature, spending time by the water and swimming every week.
Contact with water brings us into a meditative state that makes us happier, healthier, calmer, more creative. Research shows that; Living or spending time by the water increases our physical health and well-being.
Water is a source of life for all of us, almost an elixir of life!
Water covers more than 70% of the earth’s surface, makes up about 70% of our body and covers more than 70% of our heart and brain. If you like even more detail; the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are watery: 31%.
There is a deep biological connection between water and our body. When we’re close to water, or even just exposed to the sight and sound of water, neurochemicals that induce relaxation, promote wellness, increase blood flow to the brain and heart are triggered.
If you can’t go to the sea or the lake, don’t worry; there are alternatives. For example, taking a shower is perfect for increasing creativity. Taking a shower means removing most of your day’s visual stimulation . At the same time, in a similar way, you are moving to a new experience where you are free from external noises and just hear the sound of water. It’s like taking a little vacation inside the house.
If you have the time and opportunity, taking a bath can also greatly affect your mood. Research suggests that bathing can make you feel less moody and help you enjoy more, soothe muscle problems and depression, as well as help you sleep better.
What about cold water?
There’s a reason a cold shower wakes you up in the morning, because lower temperature increases oxygen uptake and heart rate to release blood from the body. You are probably used to hearing that a warm shower relieves aches and pains, but a cold shower, especially after exercise, continues to have a positive effect on the body even after about one to four days.
Large and sudden increases in temperature strain the heart, so if you have heart problems, avoid hot baths, especially on cold days, and avoid jumping into cold water after an activity that raises your body temperature.
Mind cleansing with the sound of water
The sound of running or moving water is from the ‘white noise’ group, famous for soothing babies. White noise refers to sounds that mask other sounds that may occur naturally in an environment. For example, if you live in a city, white noise can help block traffic-related noise. Certain sounds can be used to induce sleep regardless of environmental noises. Listening to the sound of water gives a meditative action that purifies your mind.
In a 2008 review of studies on happiness and longevity, Dutch sociologist Ruut Veenhoven found that happiness appears to protect against illness. Satisfied people have been shown to extend their lifetimes 7.5 to 10 years.
One of the easiest ways to be satisfied with ourselves is to show care to our body and not to leave ourselves dehydrated in the first place! A study of 2000 Americans found that 67% of respondents who said they drank “regular and adequate amounts of water” described themselves as “very happy” compared to those who admitted they did not consume enough water.
I hope your week flows with the ease of water and all your wishes come true! If you haven’t read it yet, enjoy the other articles of this series: “Joy and Food“, “Joy and Nature“, “Joy and Sleep“. See you next Sunday.
Pross, Nathalie et al. “Effects of changes in water intake on mood of high and low drinkers.” PloS one vol. 9,4 e94754. 11 Apr. 2014, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094754
Liska, DeAnn et al. “Narrative Review of Hydration and Selected Health Outcomes in the General Population.” Nutrients vol. 11,1 70. 1 Jan. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11010070
Benton D, Young HA. Do small differences in hydration status affect mood and mental performance? Nutr Rev. 2015 Sep;73 Suppl 2:83-96. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuv045. PMID: 26290294.
Masento, N., Golightly, M., Field, D., Butler, L., & Van Reekum, C. (2014). Effects of hydration status on cognitive performance and mood. British Journal of Nutrition, 111(10), 1841-1852. doi:10.1017/S0007114513004455
Goto, Yasuaki et al. “Physical and Mental Effects of Bathing: A Randomized Intervention Study.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2018 9521086. 7 Jun. 2018, doi:10.1155/2018/9521086
Leesa Costello, Marie-Louise McDermott, Purvi Patel, Julie Dare,
‘A lot better than medicine’ – Self-organised ocean swimming groups as facilitators for healthy ageing,Health & Place,Volume 60,2019,102212,ISSN 1353-8292,