What Is Mindful Drinking? How It Can Help Your Mental Health
A new concept has captured the attention of people looking for a healthier relationship with alcohol but who don’t feel like completely giving up drinking is right for them.
It’s called mindful drinking.
It skips the strict rules of other trends like Dry January in favor of a long-term approach based in mindfulness, not restriction.
What is mindful drinking?
“Mindful drinking is about awareness and being present in your choices. The goal is having a healthy relationship to alcohol,” Wendy Bazilian, a public health and nutrition expert, told Healthline.
“We’re not talking about abstinence unless you choose that,” Bazilian said, clarifying mindful drinking isn’t for people with alcohol use problems.
“Mindful drinking is the concept of being intentional with your decisions around alcohol. It empowers you to make an intentional decision instead of being swept along with the current,” explained Eliza Kingsford, a psychotherapist who specializes in mindfulness.
“It’s all about changing the conversation with yourself. Culturally, drinking is socially acceptable — and almost socially expected,” Kingsford said.
Benefits of mindful drinking
Bringingmore awareness to your decision to have each drink, which likely means consuming less alcohol, has many benefits.
According to Bazilian, mindful drinking can result in more energy for exercise, better sleep, a better heightened immune system, and a feeling of confidence from being in control of your decisions.
While many people fear cutting back can decimate their social lives, Bazilian says mindful drinking could actually enhance your social life.
With more energy and the incentive to explore new activities that don’t culturally encourage binge drinking, Bazilian believes you could become more tapped into the community.
“Anyone seeking a healthier relationship with alcohol, or even deeper self-awareness, could benefit from mindful drinking,” Kingsford said.
Additionally, Kingsford says that people who are using alcohol as a coping mechanism to numb or avoid feelings or situations might be served by being more aware of when and why they’re drinking.