As an open-water swimmer and health enthusiast, I love water. Like water, the mind can only reflect when it is still. Mindful hydration refers to being fully present and aware while drinking water or other hydrating beverages. It involves paying attention to the sensations, thoughts, and emotions during drinking. This can be a form of meditation or gratitude practice. Practicing mindful hydration lets you see how water connects us far beyond the glass.
Benefits of Mindful Hydration
My curiosity about water started as an athlete. Learning how to swim was a humbling experience. I had to learn to relax and work with the water to pull my body forward. Water became a curiosity to me. I was fascinated to learn that our bodies are mostly made of water and that the water on this earth, and in our bodies, is over billions of years old! Simply having a curiosity about water began a journey towards mindful hydration.
Here are a few benefits I’ve learned along the way:
Increased awareness. Often times when you think you’re hungry, you’re thirsty. Mindful hydration helps cultivate a heightened awareness and presence at the moment. By focusing on the act of drinking, you become more attuned to your body’s signals of thirst and hydration, allowing you to respond to those cues more effectively.
Improved hydration. Being hydrated lubricates the body’s system. Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, and stomach cramps. When mindful of your hydration, you are more likely to drink adequate water throughout the day and avoid these issues. Many people often overlook their body’s need for hydration, leading to mild dehydration. You can ensure better hydration levels by paying attention to your body’s signals and drinking mindfully.
Enhanced digestion. Mindful hydration can support optimal digestion. Drinking water mindfully can slow down your pace of drinking. When we become mindful of our drinking, we tend to slow down our chewing and swallow food properly. It also helps in the production of saliva and digestive enzymes, which aids in the breakdown of food and nutrient absorption.
Stress reduction. Mindfulness practices have been shown to reduce stress levels, and mindful hydration is no exception. Like swimming in the ocean, mindful hydration can provide a brief mental break from the day’s stresses. It allows you to focus on the present moment and create a sense of calm and relaxation. Having a mantra on your glass or bottle can support this effort.
Improved overall well-being. In addition to stress reduction, proper hydration is essential for optimal body and mind functioning. By practicing mindful hydration, you can enhance your overall well-being. Staying hydrated supports cognitive function, energy levels, mood stability, and physical performance.
Heightened appreciation. Similar to meditation, mindful hydration encourages a deeper appreciation for the simple act of drinking water. It reminds you of the importance and privilege of having access to clean, refreshing water. We live in a fast world, and this gratitude mindset can extend to other areas of life, fostering a greater appreciation for the little things.
Take a dip. In addition to drinking water, cold water plunges have incredible health benefits. Cold showers or ice baths boost immunity to common colds, reduce inflammation, combat depression, and improve circulation and digestion. More importantly, the open water can help us find peace of mind.
Reinforcement of mindfulness habits. You have to drink water to survive. Engaging in mindful hydration can be an anchor that reminds you to be present throughout the day. By incorporating mindfulness into a regular activity like drinking water, you create a habit that can carry over to other aspects of your life, promoting a more mindful and conscious approach to daily experiences.
To experience the stress-reducing benefits, try this simple mindful hydration practice. For the full workshop, contact our friends at Love Bottle.
- Find a safe place without distraction.
- Grab a glass of water and find a comfortable seat.
- Take a deep breath and exhale slowly three times.
- Look at the water. What do you see? Purity, clarity, calmness?
- If your focus shifts throughout the process, that is ok. This takes a little practice.
- Slowly bring the water to your mouth and take a sip.
- Focus on the water and notice the space it fills in your mouth.
- Swallow the water slowly.
- Notice the slow, clear, peaceful water falling down your throat with each drink.
- Between each mouthful, take a deep breath and exhale.
- Focus on the water.
- When your mind jumps around, simply refocus on this simple activity and notice the water – nothing more.
Remember, the benefits of mindful hydration come from the combination of being present at the moment and maintaining proper hydration levels. It’s not just about drinking water but also about paying attention to your body’s needs and the experience of drinking itself.
ZaaS | Zen as a Service offers desk yoga, meditation, and well-being workshops to large organizations and B Corps worldwide. Join us!