Week 2: Drink Up—Often

When we think about stress reduction, we usually think of yoga or meditation (or a nice, long vacation!). But there’s one underrated, or oft-forgotten stress reduction tool: H20. The link between water and stress reduction is well-documented.

All of our organs require water to function properly. Without enough water, we can become dehydrated, which causes both physical and psychological stress. (Side effects of even minor dehydration include ulcers, constipation, digestive issues, headaches, and fatigue.) The body is made of about 60-75 percent water (depending on your age), after all. So drink up!

How do I start drinking more water?

As soon as I wake up I drink one 16-ounce glass of water. If I have a meeting or a yoga class, I drink another 16-ounce glass when I get there and another 16-ounce when it’s over. That’s about a half-gallon in total by midday!

Incorporating a conscious water-drinking plan (maybe you drink one glass every workday hour, or before a meeting and then after a meeting) helps sustain our health practice and support our mindful living. Water is also representative of serene flow, which is a key part of the healing journey you’re on!

What kind of water should I drink?

I prefer natural spring water (not all bottled water is spring water, so take note). One of the key benefits of natural spring water is that it comes from water that flows to the surface from a clean underground water source. This water is considered to be free of most contaminants, and it also contains health-boosting minerals (like calcium, magnesium, and sodium).

Also, drink your water at room temperature. Why? 98.6 degrees is the average human temperature. At this temperature, we break down foods and our metabolism functions at a higher level.

Mineral-rich water usually has a neutral or slightly alkaline pH level. The pH level is a number that measures how acidic or alkaline (non-acidic) a substance is on a scale of 0 to 14. For example, something with a pH of 1 would be very acidic, and something with a pH of 13 would be very alkaline. Alkaline water, which is mineral-rich, has a higher pH level than regular drinking water.

A note: The body is capable of buffering any changes in pH (our bodies’ pH, 7.4, is tightly controlled for a very good reason) on our own. Normal drinking water generally has a neutral pH of 7. Alkaline water typically has a pH of 8 or 9.

How much water should I drink?

Whatever your weight is, aim to drink half of that in ounces. So if you’re 225 pounds, like me, drink 112 ounces of water per day for optimal health.

From here on, make water part of your daily health goals. Aim to get all your ounces in and start feeling the benefits of hydration!

Hate the taste of plain water? Infuse with ginger, fruit (add fresh slices of lemon, lime, cucumber, orange, strawberry, or watermelon to a jug of water, and refrigerate), or drink some bubbly water.