There are many reasons for cutting alcohol out of your daily routine. The reason to not drink alcohol or limit alcohol intake will vary for each individual and it can be a very personal choice.
Regardless of the reason, cutting back on alcohol or eliminating it completely can have huge benefits. If you are not quite ready to stop drinking alcohol completely, you may want to consider practicing mindful drinking.
What is Mindful Drinking?
Mindful drinking is a movement that has been gaining lots of traction recently. The premise of mindful drinking is to be more aware of how much alcohol you are drinking. Keeping conscious track of each drink you consume may help you drink less. When you starting counting each drink, you may find they may add up quickly!
Mindful Drinking skips strict, trying rules that other abstinence drinking trends may require. For example, if you choose to participate in Dry January, you can’t drink alcohol at all. This means a full month of complete abstinence. While this can be good to “reset” your body, it is a hard and also temporary method of learning to limit alcohol intake.
When you choose to try mindful drinking, you are allowed to have a drink or two when you consciously choose to. This can be a much easier and more sustainable way to limit your alcohol intake.
Mindful drinking also involves asking yourself why you are drinking. When you pause and think about the reason behind your desire for alcohol, it may lead you to drink less. Why are you reaching for that second glass of wine? Is it just habit? Do you really even want another drink?
Thinking and assessing the reason why you drink alcohol may automatically make you cut back. When you realize you don’t need it, you won’t drink it!
Why Choose Mindful Drinking?
Why choose to limit alcohol anyway? Well, there are hundreds of reasons why drinking too much can be harmful. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to numerous chronic diseases including liver disease, high blood pressure, stroke and even certain kinds of cancer.
Drinking alcohol can also have a big effect on your emotional health and your personal relationships.
If you aren’t ready to fully stop consuming alcohol, mindful drinking may be the way to go. Being aware of your drinking and present when making the choice to drink can really help change your relationship with alcohol.
When you make the intentional choice to drink, it empowers you rather than letting the alcohol control you. You are in charge of your drinking.
Drinking alcohol can be socially expected. When it is the norm to go out and drink excessively, you can lose control all too easily. It is easy to get swept away in the current endless alcoholic drinks. Not only is this very unhealthy physically and mentally, but it also may not even be something you want.
Mindlessly drinking can lead to so many problems. So it’s time to switch it up. It’s time to try mindful drinking instead of practicing mindless drinking.
Benefits of Mindful Drinking:
There are lots of benefits to choosing mindful drinking. Here are a few of the advantages you may experience when you choose to drink mindfully.
When you begin to drink less, you may find that you have more energy during the day. Your body no longer needs to rest after a night of binge drinking. Instead, you will wake up feeling energized and ready to conquer the day.
Alcohol has a negative effect on rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is the deepest form of sleep and the kind of sleep your body needs. When you drink alcohol excessively, you may have a hard time entering REM sleep. Instead, your body falls asleep quickly but then wakes up after just a few hours.
You may have a difficult time falling back asleep after waking and experience insomnia. When choosing to drink mindfully and consume less alcohol, you should have no problem falling asleep, entering a deep REM slumber and waking up refreshed!
When drinking less alcohol, you will be more in control of your choices and words. This can definitely have a positive impact on your social life. You will be able to communicate better, feel more confident and also make better social choices.
Better Immune System
Alcohol compromises the body's immune system. This means that drinking alcohol will make you get sick easier and have a harder time overcoming illness. When you choose mindful drinking, you will boost your immune system and become a healthier you.
Still Enjoy Your Favorite Drinks
Mindful drinking encourages drinking less alcohol. However, it still allows for one or two drinks when you choose wisely. You get to enjoy your favorite non-alcoholic beverages but in a much more responsible and healthy way.
Mindful Drinking: How to Drink Mindfully?
If mindful drinking sounds like something you want to try, it is quite easy to start. Here is how to practice mindful drinking.
1. Think About Each Drink
Before you take a sip of alcohol, pause and think about if it is something you really want. Don’t order alcohol automatically but rather try ordering beverages intentionally.
2. Make a Game Plan
Have a drinking plan before you go out. Make a conscious decision to have one alcoholic drink and then decide in advance what other non-alcoholic drinks you would enjoy. Consciously planning to drink alternatives will greatly help you cut back on your alcohol consumption.
3. Be Flexible
Hard, strict rules can sometimes backfire. Sometimes, aggressive restrictions may make your rebel brain want to do the opposite. Let yourself be flexible in your choices. If you plan to have one drink but it ends up being two, relax. It is okay! Just be aware and mindful of each decision you make.
4. Be Confident
When you choose to drink mindfully, be proud. Order your non-alcoholic drink first when in a group setting. You may be surprised by how many people follow suit and also order non-alcoholic drinks.
You also should be confident in telling your peers why you choose not to drink alcohol excessively. You do not owe anyone an explanation but not drinking alcohol should make you feel empowered. Share your truth and smile!
5. Enjoy Your Drink
When you do choose to have an alcoholic drink, enjoy it! Mindful drinking is all about being in the moments, savoring your beverage choices and being happy. Appreciate the flavors of your drink and enjoy each sip. If you do not love what you’re drinking, then don’t drink it! There are so many options out there to choose from, why drink a beverage you do not enjoy?
Mindful drinking is a wonderful, flexible movement that allows you to enjoy alcohol in moderation. It is a great place to begin when starting trying to cut back on your alcohol consumption. There an abundant amount of benefits to mindful drinking and is certainly something everyone should try!
Are you a mindful drinker? Tell us about it! Share your story and you may help inspire others to choose mindful drinking as well. Cheers!