Mindful drinking refers to the practice of being self-conscious about why and how much a person drinks. It can promote a healthier relationship with alcoholic drinks and reduce consumption.
The concept of mindful drinking is based on having a healthier relationship with alcohol without giving up drinking completely.
Mindful drinkers do not have strict rules about how much they are allowed to drink — instead, they practice a long-term mindful approach. This helps them to be aware of how much and why they are drinking without feeling the pressure of having to drink alcohol when involved in social events and activities.
Read on to learn more about how mindful drinking works and its benefits.
Mindful drinking is a mindset that people can develop. It may help a person reduce the quantity of alcohol they consume.
Drinking mindfully consists of self-asking questions about whether a person wants to drink or not and the reason behind their choice, without judgment.
This practice can help people become more aware of the quantity of alcohol they consume, and how drinking affects their body and mind. It may also foster a healthier relationship between people and alcohol, and it can decrease the social pressure that people may feel about drinking.
The first steps to becoming a mindful drinker include paying attention to the feelings a person experiences and how this may affect their behavior and tendency to drink.
For example, a person may ask themselves why they feel the need to drink and become aware of their choices while avoiding self-judgment. They may notice they drink more often when in the company of certain people or at certain times of day.
People who are trying to become mindful drinkers may also start noticing their emotions and feelings when drinking and how they interact with the other people around them. Becoming aware of how and when a person drinks may help them understand what part alcohol plays in their life.
Several exercises can help people become mindful drinkers. These may include:
Plan in advance
Planning how much alcohol a person is going to drink may help them switch to a nonalcoholic beverage after they have reached the limit they set before going out. A person can also find alternative activities to do with friends instead of going out for a drink.
Recognize triggers for unhealthy drinking habits
Recognizing if social events and other stressful situations trigger the need for drinking can help people prevent this from happening and make conscious choices about their drinking habits.
Remember that drinking is a personal choice
People should always remember that no one should influence their choice about drinking alcoholic beverages or ordering an alcohol-free option.
Change the perception of drinking restrictions
Being a mindful drinker does not mean a person cannot drink. Mindful drinking is about reducing the intake of alcohol and being aware of their personal choices while drinking.
People who are trying to become mindful drinkers should avoid setting strict drinking limits and rules as this may cause an opposite effect making them want to drink more.
Some people may feel the guilt or pressure of not ordering an alcoholic drink when everyone else in their group has. Ordering first can prevent this feeling when people want to have water or a nonalcoholic drink.
Take time to taste the drink
Taking time to savor a drink can help people be mindful and live the moment. People should try to appreciate the flavors of what they are drinking and enjoy the experience.
If a person has concerns about their drinking habits or if they have signs of alcohol use disorder or binge drinking, they should contact a doctor.
Healthcare professionals can help people overcome their drinking problems and refer them to several specialists, including therapists. They can recommend the most appropriate treatment for alcohol use disorders.
Some well-known nonprofit associations include:
Mindful drinking consists of being self-aware about the reasons why someone wants to drink and the quantity of alcohol a person drinks.
Mindful drinking can help decrease the amount of alcohol a person drinks and help ease the pressure of drinking in certain situations, such as social and work events.
Mindful drinking aims to help people understand if any triggering factors push them to drink.
This may also help prevent the development of alcohol use disorder and other health conditions linked to the excessive use of alcohol.