Necessity of life

water

Water is an essential element for life. Directly or indirectly, water affects all facets of life. Without it, there would be no vegetation on land, no oxygen for animals to breathe and the planet would look entirely different than it does today. Water is necessary keep people’s bodies and the environment healthy and should be valued and protected as the precious resource it is.

For a living cell, this tasteless, colorless, and odorless nutrient called water comprises more than 80% of its composition. Water enters and leaves the body generally in equal amounts, helping to maintain a delicate balance of fluid requirements necessary for optimal cell and organ functioning. Among its many duties are transporting nutrients and waste products; synthesizing and regulating molecules including proteins and glycogen; lubricating joints and the eyes; comprising secretions such as saliva; regulating and economizing body heat; maintaining blood volume; and acting as a solvent for minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and glucose (Whitney & Rolfes, 1999).

Water, or its lack (dehydration), can influence cognition. Mild levels of dehydration can produce disruptions in mood and cognitive functioning. This may be of special concern in the very young, very old, those in hot climates, and those engaging in vigorous exercise. Mild dehydration produces alterations in a number of important aspects of cognitive function such as concentration, alertness and short-term memory in children (10–12 y), young adults (18–25y) and in the oldest adults, 50–82y.

While vital to humanity, water has a strong social content. It is highly charged with symbolism and is one of the essentials of life. Among the important social characters of water is its role in human nourishment, health and sanitation as well as peace and conflict avoidance.

Right throughout human history water has been looked on as something intertwined with humankind. Human beings live alongside water and are nourished by water. It is a source of beauty, wonder and relaxation and refreshment. Our very contact with nature has a deep restorative power. It is no accident that people chose places associated with water for the holidays, in order to renew and regenerate themselves. Water has an aesthetic value.

Maryam Riaz
Clinical Psychologist
Willing Ways, Islamabad

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