We are breath. We are alive because we breathe, and we breathe because we are alive. Without any air we will die in mere minutes.
We are water. We are alive because we take in water. No matter what we choose to drink it is primarily water. And we consume water because we are alive. Every living thing on this planet is mostly water. It is in our blood – and it is how the air we breathe moves from our lungs to every inner part of us. The average adult human body is between 50% to 65% water – for an average sized human that is about 45 litres of water.
Without clean fresh water we will die within days. The usual factoid is “a human can go 3-days without consuming water.” This of course all depends on many factors like the environment, age, health and what activity that human is doing. The more your work, the faster you breathe, the quicker you will need to drink water.
Not drinking enough water also has an impact. Water is important for your digestion and circulatory systems to function correctly. Even if you do not feel thirsty your physical and mental performance will become impaired from a lack of water. If you are dehydrated your blood will be thicker and your heart will have to pump harder. As your body slows down from a lack of water – it will mean you are getting less energy and less oxygen transported to your vital organs. Waste products will not be filtered – and the natural toxins of living will build up throughout your body.
Sucking, drinking and swallowing are some of the first skills we develop as infants. This activity is so core to our survival that even as adults we are soothed and mellowed by engaging in sucking activities. Giving aggressive adults lollipops (and to a lesser extent hard candies) has been show to calm individuals quickly. Even a kiss is really a variation of the basic sucking activity.
Drinking water isn’t just good for us because of our physiological need for water – the activity of drinking is also pleasurable. Our bodies and our brains provide us with positive feedback as part of the physical activity of drinking. This explains why so many of our social activities and rituals revolve around the drinking of liquids. A party is not a party if people have nothing to drink – even if that drink is only water. And any party is so much better when the drinks are more complicated than water.
By understanding the psychological pleasure associated with the physical activity of drinking (and not just drinking alcohol!) we can see how socialization and human interaction is enhanced by the sharing of a drink. The simple act of offering someone a glass of water, or a cup of coffee, goes beyond just meeting a physical need – and offers the potential for creating an emotional connection between individuals.
In the end having a drink meets a need – and sharing a drink with another human makes it so much better!