Being aware of the impact of alcohol on our mind and body, both short term and long term, allows us to drink and socialize more mindfully. Essentially, drinking with a sense of balance, sipping, savoring and developing a sense of awareness.
Inserting a sense of ritual when consuming alcohol can help you ease into a mindful drinking mindset and put the theory to practice. How do you do this? Here’s a few steps and tricks to play with next time you go for a drink:
- Start by figuring out your own threshold – at what point are you still happy and having a good time? Stick to that and don’t go over.
- Plan your week: do you have events daily? If so, will you drink alcohol at all the events or can you choose to drink at the two you think will be most worthwhile?
- Think about how the quantity of alcohol might affect your sleep – sipping, having a little less and drinking water before you sleep will all help this.
- With every drink you have, drink a glass of water. Alcohol, just like coffee, can be dehydrating, so this will help you to stay hydrated and mitigate the next day’s hangover.
- Take a moment before you sip your drink to smell it; take a deep breath and make a conscious note that you’re savouring and sipping a drink.
- Be conscious of the flavours you’re drinking.
- Avoid shots because you will drink those within seconds when an actual drink could be nursed for half an hour.
- If alcohol was once your way of numbing real life situations, then journal about alcohol, what it does, what you do and why you drink it. This will help you understand your own relationship with alcohol and bring about a new sense of awareness.
Understanding why you drink alcohol brings about a sense of awareness and realizing that drinking can be a pleasure to be enjoyed changes the way you perceive it in general. It starts with choosing the right drink for yourself, “quality rather than quantity” mindset or conscious reduction, making mindful choices and looking at how many events, parties, celebrations you have and how the rituals around those occasions can benefit your new lifestyle.
By becoming more mindful of drinking alcohol, we can start looking at alcohol as cultural sophistication, as something to be enjoyed and savoured, the way it should be. By knowing our own thresholds, understanding at what point we feel our best and won’t feel exhausted the following day, we can also enjoy it without feeling the negative mental and physical effects. Finding the process joyful, feeling good before, during and after, may take a little planning to start with, but this will soon become intuitive.