What is Mindful Drinking and How Can it Benefit You?
We all know what drinking culture in the UK is like. Here, it can almost feel normal to consume copious amounts of alcohol on a weekend, with the sole intention to get drunk. But does that really need to be the case?
It seems more and more people are becoming aware of the damaging effects of alcohol, which is why many are choosing to cut down. In fact, recent data from Drink Aware shows that Gen Zs drink less alcohol than any other age group.
But that doesn’t always mean they’re quitting altogether. Many of us are practising ‘mindful drinking’.
What is Mindful Drinking?
Mindful drinking is a conscious and intentional approach to consuming alcohol. It involves being fully present and aware of your drinking habits, choices, and the effects of alcohol on your body and mind.
Rather than drinking on autopilot, mindful drinkers pay attention to the quantity and pace of their alcohol consumption, as well as their motivations for drinking. This practice encourages moderation, responsible drinking, and a deeper awareness of alcohol’s effect on health, both physically and mentally.
Mindful drinking doesn't necessarily mean abstaining from alcohol altogether but rather making informed and thoughtful choices about when and how to indulge in alcoholic beverages to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
Benefits of Mindful Drinking
Mindful drinking is a growing trend and for good reason. It allows us to still enjoy alcoholic drinks, but without all the repercussions of being too drunk. Here are some benefits of mindful drinking:
- Improved health - By reducing excessive alcohol intake, mindful drinking can lower your risk of various alcohol-related health issues (NHS)
- Enhanced mental well-being - Mindful drinking promotes greater awareness of how alcohol affects your mood and emotions
- Financial savings - Cutting back on how much you spend on alcohol can help you save money
- Improved relationships - Communication with loved ones can often hindered by alcohol
- Better decision making - Mindful drinking reduces impulsive behaviour related to alcohol
- Enhanced enjoyment - When you savour and take the time to appreciate the flavours of alcoholic drinks, you can derive more pleasure from them
- Reduced hangovers - By moderating alcohol intake and staying hydrated, you can significantly reduce the severity of hangovers or even avoid them altogether
- Safety - Responsible alcohol consumption reduces the risk of accidents and injuries related to impaired judgement or coordination
How to Practise Mindful Drinking
Mindful drinking is all about cultivating awareness and intentionality when it comes to consuming alcohol. This can be easier said than done, but luckily, there are a few tactics and exercises you can try in order to do so. Here are some of our top tips when it comes to mindful drinking.
- Set clear intentions - Before you start drinking, take a moment to define your intentions. Ask yourself why you are choosing to drink and what you hope to achieve. This step helps you avoid mindless drinking and ensures your choices align with your goals.
- Choose quality over quantity - Instead of focusing on the quantity of drinks, prioritise the quality of what you're consuming. Opt for upscale drinks, savour the taste, and appreciate the drink.
- Sip slowly and mindfully - Rather than rushing through your drink, take your time to savour each sip and appreciate the taste.
- Stay hydrated - Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, like sparkling water or mocktails, to stay hydrated. This not only helps in moderation but also reduces the likelihood of a hangover.
- Learn to say no - Don't feel pressured to drink more than you want to. It's perfectly acceptable to decline another drink or politely refuse peer pressure. Your well-being is the priority.
- Mindful eating - Consuming food while drinking can help slow the absorption of alcohol and reduce its effects (British Medical Journal).
Choosing Drinks for Mindful Drinking
Mindful drinking is all about savouring sips and enjoying the drink, rather than downing drinks with little thought. So, of course, it’s best to choose really delicious drinks. If you’re choosing an alcoholic drink, try opting for a cocktail that lasts a while. If you’re making it yourself, you could even reduce the amount of alcohol and add more mixer instead. This Peace Rose Spritz is a great choice because not only does adding peach sparkling water enhance the flavour of the wine, it’s actually watering down the alcohol too.
It’s also important to remember that mindful drinking is about drinking more mocktails and non-alcoholic drinks too. We’ve put together a full list of wellness drinks for inspiration. DASH sparkling water makes a good swap for alcohol because it’s tasty, super sippable thanks to the bubbles, and it’s zero calories, sweetener and sugar. All the while keeping you hydrated.