Wednesday, March 02, 2011 – 10:27 PM
I found out the hard way over the weekend that dehydration causes disharmony on every level of your being. We all have a general idea of the physical and mental toll of dehydration, but have you ever thought about what dehydration does to your spirit? Let me explain.
Dehydration causes an imbalance to the homeostasis of your physical, mental, and spiritual state. No matter the cause of dehydration, whether it is through exercise, hot temperatures, excessive sweating, diarrhea, vomiting, or alcohol consumption, the adverse effects of dehydration is not to be taken lightly; doing so may result in a more serious emergency.
First let’s address the physiological affects of dehydration. What is it to be physically dehydrated? Dehydration is the excessive loss of body fluids and as explained above, can be caused by numerous life situations. What are the effects of dehydration? The physical effects and severity may be different from person to person; the most common signs are thirst, skin flushing, dry mouth, weakness and fatigue, headache, nausea, and muscle cramps. When any of these symptoms becomes severe as in extreme fatigue, decreased sweating, racing pulse, vomiting, difficulty in breathing and chest pains, and unconsciousness, dehydration can be deadly.
Second, dehydration causes electrolyte disturbances which can severely affect the functions of your body systems. Some types of electrolytes in your body are sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Muscles and neurons are activated by electrolyte activity; an imbalance of these types of fluids may not only cause muscle weakness or spasms, but also can affect brain chemicals and cognitive function. Symptoms such as headache, lethargy and confusion may result in the loss of electrolytes.
Using my experience as an example, after 2 days of Bikram yoga (90 minutes of yoga poses in a 105 degree room); I was at an elevated risk of dehydration. Add to that an alcoholic beverage (honestly only had 1 drink), my mind and body went berserk. Not only did the alcohol hit me faster and lasted longer, the next day was awful. In truth, I am not actually too concerned about how tipsy I got after one drink although this is a good note to everyone that Bikram and happy hour don’t mix; my main concern was the recovery debacle. Holy-molly!
First, I woke with joint and muscle pain, a throbbing headache, and slight nausea. More disturbing, I also observed an incapacity to create logical thought, experienced difficulty in making simple decisions (went to Safeway to buy something, water perhaps, and left with nothing), had heightened emotional instability, and the biggest realization—that I was in disharmony with the universe. Basically, everything I was trying to accomplish that next day which was just to get some water, drive to the park, walk my dogs, became a harried effort. The tasks I just listed should have happened without incidence, but under the duress of dehydration, my imbalanced and fluid thirsty body, and my clogged thoughts compromised my usual sanguine spiritual state—I was not in-tune with my spirit and in effect, the universe.
What happens when your not in-tune with the universe? Things like going in a store for water and walking out with nothing happen. Things like driving to a park that is 10 minutes from your house take 30 minutes. And a normally joyful task of walking your dogs becomes a test of your patience. Thankfully, midway through our walk, I came to all these realizations and snapped out of it.
Let’s reflect; dehydration causes disharmony—in every way. We know the physical and mental symptoms, now we have a new idea; hmmm, can dehydration also cause our spirit to suffer symptoms? This connection between dehydration and disharmony with your spirit is not really a big leap, it’s more like seeing the big picture, and that is, your mind, body, and spirit are forever connected and are forever influencing each other.
Here is the practical, what to do when you are dehydrated:
Try to choose natural occurring electrolytes like those found in coconut water, natural 100% fruit juices, and dairy products. Other natural sources of electrolytes are from bananas, avocados, potatoes, and tomato soup. When exercising it maybe inconvenient to down a banana, but coconut water is more readily available. The next alternative would be to have a sports drink or electrolyte enhanced water.
Information and Resources:
TNT (Till Next Tuesday =)
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