What is mindful drinking? Everything you need to know

What is mindful drinking? Everything you need to know

As an adult, you’ve probably realised how activities with friends tend to center around drinking. But when one drink leads to another, you might wake up regretting the decision. Mindful drinking can help you enjoy your time out without worrying about hangovers the next morning.

Understanding mindful drinking

Mindful drinking differs from traditional drinking habits in many ways. It involves being intentional about drinking, including savoring the experience and flavours of each beverage rather than drinking solely to get drunk. 

The core principles of mindful drinking include:

  • Setting clear intentions.
  • Being present.
  • Consuming drinks consciously.

Mindful drinking prioritises moderation and listening to your body’s cues. This means setting limits and knowing when to stop. It’s also about exploring your emotional relationship with alcohol and why you may choose to drink. Most importantly, mindful drinking emphasises health and well-being, helping you make healthier choices without completely abstaining from alcohol.

Benefits of mindful drinking

Mindful drinking offers various physical and mental health benefits. It often leads to healthier relationships with alcohol and less consumption. The practice is popular in the UK, and recent studies show a rapid decline in drinking among young people across the nation. Other benefits include:

  • Improved energy: Mindful drinking can help you avoid binge drinking, which can help you sleep better and boost your energy. Instead of dealing with the usual hangover symptoms of tiredness or achiness, you’ll wake up feeling rejuvenated and excited to start your day.
  • Healthier lifestyle choices: Mindfulness is associated with healthier choices, including being more physically active. It can also help curb unhealthy habits like smoking or eating excess junk food.
  • Weight management: Mindful drinking involves being aware of how much you’re consuming. Since alcohol can contain a significant amount of calories, cutting back may help with weight management when coupled with a healthy diet and exercise.
  • Reduced anxiety: While many people may drink to calm their nerves, excessive drinking can have the opposite effect by making you more anxious. Mindful drinking can help you drink less and reduce anxieties. Plus, it opens the door to fun and creative opportunities to calm your anxiety that don’t involve drinking.
  • Improved moods: Mindfulness has been used for centuries to enhance self-awareness and improve moods. By practicing mindful drinking, you can feel more in control of your decisions and emotions.

Tips for practicing mindful drinking

Here are suggestions for practicing mindful drinking.

Plan in advance

First, set your intentions. Plan how much alcohol you will drink so you can switch to a non-alcoholic beverage once you reach your limit. You might even tell a supportive loved one about your choice to help you focus on your intentions.

Savor each drink

Avoid drinking too quickly. Instead, take time to savor each sip of your drink. This can help you be more mindful and live in the moment. Appreciate the flavours of your beverage and enjoy the experience.

Listen to your body’s signals

Remember to listen to your body’s signals when drinking, paying attention to how alcohol affects your coordination, speech and judgment. Stop drinking if you feel intense dizziness or lightheadedness and stay hydrated while drinking.

Try alternative beverages and mocktails

When you’ve reached your limit or you decide to forgo drinking altogether, try an alternative beverage, such as seltzer, tea or coffee. Mocktails can also be a flavourful and satisfying alternative to sip on while out with friends.

Recognise triggers for unhealthy drinking habits

Note if social events or stressful situations are triggering the need to drink. By gaining awareness of yourself and your feelings, you can start making more conscious choices about drinking.

Practice self-care with mindful drinking

Complementing mindful drinking with other healthy choices can create a more balanced lifestyle. Mindful eating, regular exercise and maintaining strong social connections can all contribute to better physical, mental and emotional well-being.

Written by Mia Barnes

Mia is a freelance writer and researcher with a passion for women’s health and wellness. Mia is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the healthy living online publication, Body+Mind Magazine

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