Your brain is 75% water and on days when you are stressed, it is very easy to not take care of your physical body and drink water.

When you are dehydrated your brain shrinks in volume. Even mild or temporary dehydration can alter your brain function and impact your mood, this in turn makes you more stressed.

Fortunately, within 20 minutes of drinking some water, effects such as these are reversed. Headaches caused by dehydration rapidly go once you rehydrate. Research has found cold water is absorbed into the body 20 percent faster than room temperature water, so to increase the speed of recovery, it is best to drink cold water.


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Over half of American children are dehydrated according to a Harvard University study, and half of this group, often not drink water on some days. Instead, they drink high sugar laden soft drinks. The study found boys were 75 percent more likely to be inadequately hydrated than girls. Stress is becoming an increasing problem with children and teenagers.

The dramatic rise by teenagers often in the consumption of energy drinks laden with glucose and caffeine is leading to health problems. These drinks are often chosen to help individuals to destress. The main concern is their potential to cause extreme dehydration, because caffeine acts as a diuretic causing the body to lose water. Also, the high concentration of sugar in energy drinks slows the body’s ability to absorb water.

For adults, excess alcohol consumption can cause dehydration in a variety of ways. Initially, alcohol decreases the body’s production of anti-diuretic hormone, which is used by the body to reabsorb water. With less anti-diuretic hormone available, thebody loses more fluid than normal through increased urination.

Alcohol is mistakenly seen by many as a great destress tool.

Dehydration and stress symptoms are listed below.

Physical Symptoms

  • increased muscle tension
  • fatigue
  • poor concentration and foggy thinking
  • poor sleep
  • shortness of breath
  • pounding heart
  • nausea and upset stomach

Emotional Symptoms

  • restlessness
  • mood swings
  • irritable
  • feelings of apprehension or dread

A simple key tool to use as a destress strategy, is to drink between 8 and 13 glasses of water per day. Men need to drink to the higher number of glasses.

Most healthy people can stay hydrated by drinking water whenever they feel thirsty.

The Stress Management Institute® conducts training for those individuals who wish to become a qualified Stress Management Practitioner or Stress Management Facilitator and in 2018 we are launching a new short course, the Stress to Strength System Advocate. We invite you to embark on one of these exciting career courses for supporting people who are struggling to cope with stress. If you are looking for a career change, or you wish to add a Stress Management and Emotional Resilience specialty to your current career, please call us on +61 1 300 663 979 or email

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Comment ( 1 )

  • David Macfarlane

    Great message I have been banging away on my computer for 3 hours without a break and doing some challenging mapping and thinking I am not getting through this as fast as I should..and then realised I haven’t had a drink of water for hours..3 glasses and I am immediately functioning better. .

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