Our brains are 75% water. That water is essential for delivering nutrients to and removing toxins from the brain. Dehydration can cause your brain to function inefficiently or even shut down. Your brain functions optimally when you are properly hydrated.
Because mental health is driven primarily by your brain's activity, social stresses such as anxiety, fear, and insecurity — and ongoing emotional problems including depression — can be tied to not consuming enough water, says Solara Mental Health. "In short, dehydration causes stress, and when your body is stressed, you experience depression and anxiety as a result. Therefore, you want to ensure you are properly hydrated daily, especially if you are naturally anxiety-prone."
Dehydration impedes your brain's production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood. Serotonin is created from the amino acid tryptophan; the brain requires sufficient water for that production. Dehydration can also negatively impact other amino acids the brain requires to produce functions that impact mood. The result may be feelings of dejection, inadequacy, anxiety, and irritability.
If you struggle with anxiety, it is important to limit the consumption of caffeine, sugary drinks and alcohol. All of these liquids cause dehydration because the body takes even more water to remove it from your system.
Drinking sufficient water can help reduce both the negative psychological and physiological impacts of stress. Stress can result in many of the same responses as dehydration, including increased heart rate, nausea, fatigue, and headache. If you can remain hydrated you can reduce the magnitude of those responses, says WebMD.
When you're under stress your heart rate goes up and you breathe more heavily: You're losing fluid. When stressed, you're also more likely to forget to follow healthy habits. Ensuring you are properly hydrated daily can help to reduce the impact of daily stress factors in your life.