Water is of major importance to all living things. Approximately sixty percent of our body weight is made up of water. Every cell, tissue, and organ needs water to work properly. We don’t realize how much we need it until we’re really thirsty. Yet it is water that sustains, cleanses, strengthens, nurtures, and heals us. It can calm and relax us as we work and play.
Just as grief impacts us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually – water can also promote healing at each of these levels. Because grief is constant and relentless, excessive amounts of the stress hormone, cortisol, are produced. This can create anxiety-like symptoms that impact our sleep, make it difficult to concentrate, disrupt our thinking, and interfere with our ability to be with others. It’s like we’re in a fog.
It may be difficult to comprehend that a simple intervention of drinking more water can help. It requires that we be intentional about what we take for granted. Drinking water is crucial to clearing the fog and regaining balance, resulting in increased energy levels and one’s ability to focus.
Drinking more water than usual flushes out excessive toxins and wastes. If we don’t rid our body of these excess toxins, we compromise our immune system. Water acts as a shock absorber. It rehydrates us, keeping our body temperatures normal. It also lubricates and cushions joints, and protects sensitive tissues.
Another perspective on water is the value of giving ourselves permission to cry. It has been found that people who resist crying are at higher risk for ulcers, colitis, migraine headaches, and other psychosomatic illnesses. Research also shows that people who are able to shed tears are more likely to better handle stressful situations.
Crying is a natural way of releasing cortisol. It has been shown in research that the chemistry in tears of grief is different from other tears, and that crying in grief actually releases the stress hormone cortisol. That is why when we cry, we actually feel a sense of relief and release.
Both drinking water and “lamenting through tears” nurture and sustain us, promoting physical, emotional, and spiritual healing in the journey of grief.
Celeste Miller, Porter Loring Bereavement Coordinator
Darwin L. Huartson, Porter Loring Community Coordinator