HELP FOR STRESS DISORDERS

By Eleanor Eggers, Ph.D., LP, BCB, (Senior Fellow)

                           Water


Drinking sufficient water is perhaps the most important thing you can do for your body.  Your physician will probably tell you that it is essential that you drink eight glasses of water per day in order to keep properly hydrated, but he (she) rarely has the time to talk to you about it and to inquire about how much water you are drinking.  Many physical disorders are simply the result of being dehydrated.  Stress disorders can also be influenced by not getting  enough water.  The nervous system (just like all the other body systems) cannot function properly without sufficient water. 


The amount of water you need depends to some extent on your size.  If you are big you probably need eight or more eight-ounce glasses per day.  If you are small, six may be enough.  Of course, when you exercise you need even more water.  Most people do not drink nearly enough water because they do not get thirsty; and, ironically, they do not get thirsty because they do not drink enough water.  If you start drinking more water, you will probably find that you get thirsty more readily. 


A good way to start the day is to drink one or two glasses of water in the morning when you first get up.  This is especially helpful because you get dehydrated in the night, simply from breathing, perspiring, and urinating.  If you have to get up in the night, that is a good time to remind yourself to drink some water.  Many people find that it works out well to place an insulated pint-size mug of cold water on the bathroom counter at bedtime.  Then in the night or in the morning it is already there looking attractive to you.  If you drink two glasses of water in the morning and one glass with each meal, that goes a long way toward getting to your goal of six or eight glasses.


People ask whether the liquid in juices, tea, coffee, and soups counts as water.   Some professionals say it does and some say it doesn't.  Perhaps the best thing to do is to drink as much water as you can in addition to those other beverages, making sure that your total fluid intake is at least six to  eight cups per day.  You should also remember that coffee and tea have a dehydrating effect because of the caffeine they contain.  Therefore, when you drink coffee and tea you need to drink extra water to make up for the effects of the caffeine.


It is possible to purchase a bathroom scale which gives you information not only about your weight but also about your body composition.  It tells you your weight, percentage of fat, and percentage of water.  This is a very useful tool to have.  If your water percentage is low (below fifty per cent), that will tell you that you need to take measures to improve it.  You will observe that becoming re-hydrated is a very gradual process.  It takes a long time to achieve your goal.  Unfortunately, curing problems by natural methods is always slow.