Monday, April 5, 2010


Perhaps you have heard the phrase, "If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated." As a former soccer player, hydration was very important. It was necessary to drink sufficient water every day and especially the 24 hours before a game to prevent dehydration during the competition, for it was difficult to replenish fluids quickly enough while running around for two hours. The more hydrated I was, the more apt I was to play at peak performance; the less hydrated I was, the more likely I was to become fatigued, ineffective, and perhaps even have my muscles cramp up.
Even now, although I am not playing sports at the same intensity every day, I can see the importance of drinking enough water (the same could be said for getting enough sleep). I find the more water I drink - especially in place of coffee, soda, beer, etc - the better I feel, the more sound I sleep, the more energy I have, the easier it is to fend off colds, etc. And the better I feel, the healthier I am, and the more energy I have leads to being more productive at home/work, easier exercise, and generally enjoying life more. (Now, I'm not saying that drinking water leads to happiness like some magical fountain, but I am saying it is one of many factors that I have noticed that makes a difference in my quality of life.)

Now that I know this and have experienced this correlation, I have been able to be more intentional about how much water I drink. Most of us have heard that people are supposed to drink a doctor-recommended minimum of 64 ounces of water each day. (That's eight 8-ounce glasses, or more than the equivalent of 5 cans of soda.) Its one thing to know how much to drink; its another to be intentional enough to actually drink that much. Every day. And more on the days that require it. Every week. Every month. Every year. For the rest of your life.

Sounds like a lot of work - a lot of being intentional. But if that's what it takes to be healthy - which can help lead to happiness - isn't it worth a little effort on the front end and a little effort each day, one day at a time? Isn't it worth it to avoid thirst at the very minimum? Fatigue? Weakness? Sickness? I know this is extreme, but what if we never drank at all? We would die... eventually.

And so it is with communication and relationships.

Water is to our bodies, as communication is to our relationships. Instead of thirst, fatigue, and illness, without proper or adequate communication we can experience misunderstandings, frustration, and loneliness as symptoms that appear.

Like our bodies, our relationships require a certain level of communication to maintain themselves. Each relationship we are in requires a different level (quality, depth and quantity) of communication. My relationship with my spouse requires much more and much better communication that my relationship with my mail carrier. Some days communication comes naturally and easily because we're around each other and nothing is going on to distract us. Other days/weeks, communication is more difficult because of work, kids, other responsibilities, etc. Being intentional about communicating is so important because otherwise life will get in the way. I would say this is true for ALL relationships, not just for people living in the same house.

If you're not communicating well with your employees, co-workers, or superiors, how effective would you be as a company if you didn't know what/how each other was doing?

If you're not communicating well with friends, are they going to feel as connected and feel those positive feelings that made them want to be friends with you in the first place?

If you're dog didn't communicate with you, would you know when to let him outside or would you be cleaning up messes?

Again, my recommendation - for whatever its worth - is to be intentional about your communication with others. Set aside time on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Make a covenant with yourself to make communication a priority. If you are not a communicative person, and you are living with a spouse/partner, then use helpful tools like "3 things that happened today and how you felt about them" or describing how each of your five senses were stimulated that day or buy a book or questions (even "would you rather" books). Plan date night for the first Monday of every month. Read a chapter from a book each night and discuss. Even with non-partners, set aside time to call, text, email, write, meet with, or talk to those people.

I'm just sayin... intentional about communication - get your daily allotment in - before your relationships get thirsty.

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