Drink water! What dehydration does to your mind

We all know water is good for us, and it’s certainly easy to get hold of it, but we don’t often stop to think about how beneficial it can be, not just for our physical health, but for our minds too.

Recent research shows that dehydration not only affects our physical wellbeing, but also our mood, and our ability to think clearly.

Studies carried out at the University of Connecticut in 2012 showed that even mild dehydration – approximately 1.5% below normal body water levels – caused participant to experience fatigue, tension and anxiety, and difficulties when working on mental tasks. The adverse effects on mood were particularly prominent in women, both at rest and during exercise.

Mild dehydration can be as little as 500ml less than you need – the equivalent of one small bottle of water. Even this small amount can make a big difference.

They also found that staying hydrated is as important for those who work in an office sitting down as it is for those who are physically active. Negative effects of dehydration are experienced whether one is resting or walking on a treadmill for 40 minutes.

So make sure you drink enough water during the day. It’s an easy and effective way to help prevent low moods, tension and poor mental ability. Experts recommend drinking 2 litres, or 8 standard glasses, of water a day, to stay hydrated and keep yourself mentally effective (though bear in mind you will also get water from the food you eat too). So drink more water! It’s free!

Learn more about your mind in our illustrated guides, The Mind Manual and A Mind for Business, published by Hamlyn Press and Pearson/FT.


Money can buy you happiness, new research reveals

Research published today has revealed that money is much more useful for making people happy than was previously thought. Despite the popularity of books like The Spirit Level and Happiness, and a large body of recent studies across the developing world suggesting that economic performance does not in fact correlate with wellbeing or life satisfaction, new research…
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Why taking care of our feelings matters

“Positive emotions are worth cultivating, not just as end states in themselves but also as a means to achieving psychological growth and improved well-being over time” – Barbara L. Fredrickson Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions, 2001 According to recent psychological research, the experience of positive emotions such as joy, interest, contentment and love, not only…
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Why having fun is good for you

We all know that leisure time makes us feel good, but now scientific evidence shows that taking time out and engaging in activities you enjoy really does lead to both psychological and physical wellbeing. It’s a well-established fact that physically healthy actions such as eating well and getting enough sleep make us feel better, it…
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Happiest Helping Together

“John Helliwell, emeritus professor of economics at UBC and co-director of a CIFAR panel looking into Social Interactions, Identity and Wellbeing, was at Harvard yesterday summarizing his and others’ recent research on happiness research, with special attention to the social context of well-being. He observed that the amount of data and experimentation regarding happiness research is…
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Exercise Builds a Calmer Brain

We’ve known for a long time that exercise reduces stress … but new research on rats
described in The New York Times
 is showing that exercise actually builds calmer brains.

“It looks more and more like the positive stress of exercise prepares cells and structures and pathways within the brain so that they’re more equipped to handle stress in other forms,” says Michael Hopkins, a graduate student affiliated with the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory Laboratory at Dartmouth, who has been studying how exercise differently affects thinking and emotion. “It’s pretty amazing, really, that you can get this translation from the realm of purely physical stresses to the realm of psychological stressors.”


Happy Tapper

gratitudeappHappy Tapper have launched an iphone application which is a Gratitude Journal.  Gratitude keeps coming up in studies as a major source of long-term wellbeing and happiness.  The application just gives you another way to keep track of the good things, people and events in your life on a daily basis.

A new study shows that the positive effect of gratitude on signs of well-being such as mastery, relationships with others, and self-acceptance happen over and above personality factors. Similar to the study of gratitude journals, this study by Alex Wood and his colleagues suggests, that regardless of one’s personality, taking time to notice and appreciate the good things in life can help all of us.