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Drinking Habits

Mindful Drinking: The Rise of Intentional Alcohol Consumption

March 22, 2022
7 min read
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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.
March 22, 2022
7 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.
March 22, 2022
7 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.
March 22, 2022
7 min read
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Reframe Content Team
March 22, 2022
7 min read

You’re at a lively happy hour, and everyone’s having a blast. You down your first drink, and your colleague soon offers you another — although you only planned on having one. Instead of instantly reaching for that second glass, you take a moment to ask yourself, "Do I really need this drink? How will it affect my body and state of mind? And how can I prepare for a night of drinking in a way that allows me to stay in control?" This self-assessment illustrates a basic tenant of mindful drinking: taking an introspective, thoughtful approach toward alcohol consumption.

What Is Mindful Drinking?

Many people view alcohol as a cornerstone for social bonding, but mindful drinking supports a different perspective. Rather than advocating for complete abstention or vilifying alcohol, drinking mindfully promotes a healthier, more conscious relationship with alcohol. 

Mindful drinking encourages us to be deliberate and thoughtful about our drinking choices. It demands that we question why we’re reaching for that second glass and reflect on how it might impact our physical and mental well-being. Mindful drinking is about truly experiencing the act of drinking and paying attention to alcohol’s effects on our bodies and minds.

Unraveling the Science Behind Drinking Mindfully

The concept of mindful drinking isn't just a fad; in fact, it's backed by solid scientific research. Studies indicate that mindfulness-based interventions can remarkably reduce excessive drinking, leading people to be more responsible drinkers. According to a research paper published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, participants who engaged in brief mindfulness exercise before drinking consumed fewer alcoholic drinks than those who didn't engage in a mindfulness activity.

For those of us who are wondering how to drink less alcohol, this might be the answer. Mindful drinking helps us recognize and change our alcohol-related behaviors and routines. By fostering mindfulness, we can better understand our body's signals, distinguish between the need and want for a drink, and recognize when we're drinking out of habit or stress rather than a genuine desire to savor a drink.

The Potential Impact of Mindful Drinking

The benefits of mindful drinking extend beyond curbing alcohol consumption. Embracing this approach can potentially transform our well-being. By reducing the quantity of alcohol we consume, we can mitigate the risk of health conditions associated with heavy drinking, such as liver disease, heart problems, and certain types of cancer.

Additionally, mindful drinking can encourage healthier stress management strategies. Instead of automatically resorting to alcohol to unwind after a demanding day, we might opt for healthier alternatives: a rejuvenating walk, meditation session, or a heartening conversation with a friend. Over time, these positive choices can morph into healthier habits that aid our mental health and increase our life satisfaction.

Navigating Social Scenarios With Mindful Drinking

Social gatherings involving alcohol can be challenging when we’re trying to drink mindfully. But mindful drinking doesn't ask that we reject every drink or avoid every social event. It's about empowering ourselves to make choices that align with our personal health and happiness.

Choosing to drink mindfully means we can decide to enjoy a drink if we truly want one, or we can confidently refuse an alcoholic beverage. Should we choose to indulge, we can stay attentive to our body's reactions, savor the taste of each sip, and know when to stop as responsible drinkers.

Mindful Drinking as an Evolving Journey

Perfection isn’t the goal of mindful drinking; it's more akin to an ever-evolving journey that encompasses learning, growth, and occasional setbacks.

There’s no “one-size-fits-all” approach toward mindful drinking, and that flexibility makes it ideal for everyone. Each person's mindful drinking journey will be unique, reflecting their own distinct experiences, challenges, and goals. The key is to walk your own path with openness, patience, and a willingness to explore.

And although the path toward mindful drinking may include trials and tribulations, the rewards are plentiful. We can experience better physical health, improved mental well-being, and a richer, more satisfying social life with reduced alcohol consumption. Mindful drinking could also mean waking up after a night out feeling clear-headed and rejuvenated, instead of nursing a hangover.

Above all, mindful drinking suggests that we can enjoy alcohol without it taking over our lives.

Drink Less and Thrive 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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