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Alcohol and Mental Health

5 Simple Activities To Boost Your Mental Health

July 5, 2023
10 min read
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Written by
Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
July 5, 2023
10 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
July 5, 2023
10 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
July 5, 2023
10 min read
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Reframe Content Team
July 5, 2023
10 min read

Imagine a gardener pruning the branches of a tree to help it grow stronger. It’s necessary to cuT back those deadened branches prohibiting growth. Like the gardener and the tree, cutting back on drinking allows your mental well-being to flourish.

While it can be challenging, cutting down on drinking is a crucial step towards a healthier mind and body — and a more fulfilling life.

If you’re wondering how to improve mental health and well-being, you’re in the right place. In this article, we'll explore five empowering activities that can boost your mental health while you're cutting down. 

1. Create Mindful Moments

Mindfulness isn't just a buzzword; it's a powerful tool for rewiring our brain's reward system, traditionally activated by alcohol. If you want to know how to fix mental health, mindfulness exercises, like deep yogic breathing and meditation, are some of the best tools that can help curb cravings and stress.

Mindful breathing is an effective tool to reduce stress and improve mental health. When we're stressed, our breath becomes shallow and rapid, signaling our brain that something is wrong. By consciously slowing down and deepening our breath, we activate the body's relaxation response, calming our nervous system and reducing anxiety.

To practice mindful breathing, take a few minutes each day to do the following:

  • Find a calm place to sit comfortably.
  • Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Remind yourself there’s no wrong way to do this.
  • Inhale deeply through your nose, feeling your belly rise, and exhale slowly through your mouth.

As you do this, notice any sensations or thoughts that arise, and gently let them go. Regularly practicing mindful breathing can help us feel more centered and grounded, even during challenging times.

2. Cultivate Gratitude for Positive Mental Health

Gratitude is a powerful tool for boosting mental health and cultivating a healthier mindset. Research has shown that regularly expressing gratitude can increase happiness, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being.

Each day, take a moment to reflect on three things you're grateful for. They can be as simple as a warm cup of coffee in the morning or a kind gesture from a friend. By focusing on the positive aspects of your life, you shift your attention away from stressors and train your brain to seek out the good.

Consider keeping a gratitude journal to track your daily reflections and remind yourself of the abundance in your life — and all the successes you’re achieving, big and small!

Ways To Improve Your Mental Health

3. Connect With Nature

Nature has a remarkable ability to calm our minds and reduce stress. Research has shown that spending time in nature can lower blood pressure, decrease anxiety, and improve mood.

Lace up your shoes and head outside. Take a leisurely stroll, breathe in the fresh air, and let the beauty of nature wash away your worries — while you’re soaking in the vitamin D. Whether it's a hike in the mountains, sitting by the ocean, or having a picnic in the park, connecting with nature can be a powerful tool in your mental health toolbox.

Odds are you’ll get a little exercise while you’re at it. This is another great tool — beneficial not only to our physical health but our mental well-being as well. When we engage in physical activity, our brain releases natural mood boosters called endorphins.

4. Reconnect With a Friend

We are social creatures: meaningful connections with others are essential for our mental health. When we feel isolated or lonely, our stress levels increase, and our overall well-being suffers.

Alcohol often serves as a social lubricant, yet it's essential to remember that genuine connection and support come from people, not drinks. Reconnecting with friends, family, or joining new social groups — like those found by volunteering or joining a local book club — can provide us with the emotional support we need during this transition.

Make an effort to reach out to friends, family, or support groups, and engage in activities that foster connection. This could be as simple as having a phone call with a loved one, joining a community of like-minded people, or volunteering in your community. Nurturing relationships and building a support network not only reduces stress but also creates a sense of belonging and purpose.

From something as simple as a video call, to experimenting together with a new mocktail, getting a walk at a nearby park, or venturing out with a new crafting hobby — there are plenty of ways to have fun without alcohol.

5. Prioritize Sleep for Good Mental Health

Quality sleep is a cornerstone of mental health, helping to consolidate memory, regulate mood, and recharge our brain.

Some of us drink because we think it helps us sleep — although the research shows the opposite is true. Drinking actually disrupts our sleep quality.

Revamp your sleep routine. If your nighttime often includes a nightcap, try these adjustments to establish good sleep hygiene:

  • Avoid screens 1 hour before bedtime.
  • Ditch the alcohol for a fun mocktail or a nice cup of herbal tea.
  • Steer clear of caffeine 3 to 7 hours before bedtime.
  • Give yourself a bedtime. There’s a reason it works for kids!
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment: keep it dark with blackout curtains, invest in comfortable bedding, and use a white noise machine if you need it. Studies show between 60°F and 67°F (15.6°C and 19.4°C) is the ideal sleep temperature
  • Leave your laptop — and work time — for somewhere other than your bed. Consider bringing a book, magazine, or crossword puzzle to bed with you instead.

Reclaim Your Health With Reframe

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol.

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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