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How to Make Mindful Drinking Your New Year's Resolution

Mindful drinking was one of the biggest health trends of 2021 and health experts forecast that it will continue into 2022.

Mindful drinking comes with multiple health benefits and I passionately believe that it's the only new years resolution you'll need. To better explain the practice of mindful drinking, I spoke to psychotherapist Eugenie Pepper (pictured below).

What is mindful drinking?

Eugenie tells me that the essence of mindful drinking is being mindful about your relationship with alcohol. 

Eugenie Pepper   Psychotherapist

"It is the practice of being aware of why you drink alcohol, how much alcohol you drink and becoming aware of what it is doing to your brain and body," she explains. 

When you participate in mindful drinking, you build a healthier relationship with alcohol. This will look different for different people, but it will include drinking less, drinking less often or slowing down. 

The mindful drinking health trend

Mindful drinking (sometimes described as the 'sober curious movement') has become a huge health trend over the last few years and has helped drive the huge rise in non-alcoholic drinks.  

But where did the trend originate? Eugine notes that we are now more aware of the negative consequences of alcohol. "People are more focused on feeling good and being healthy. There are many reasons to drink less and so many benefits on our short term and long term health," she adds. 

In the past, a lot of people have seen alcohol as all or nothing. The joy of mindful drinking is that it is an easy way to enjoy the middle ground. "There are times when we want to enjoy a drink but we don’t want the negative consequences. Being mindful helps us to stay in control, plan, slow down and monitor, Eugine explains. 

How do non-alcoholic drinks help establish mindful drinking habits? 

There are lots of ways that non-alcoholic drinks make mindful drinking easier. For a start, they are delicious, grown up drinks that taste like their alcoholic counterparts - so you won't feel like you're missing out. As Eugenie says, "we can get the same association of celebration without the actual alcohol." 

And, as a Sans Drinks customer shared with me recently, non-alcoholic drinks make it much easier to socialise when you're not drinking because you can still have a drink in your hand. 

Eugenie also notes that non-alcoholic drinks are also a great way to stop that annoying friend from pressuring you to 'go on, just have one' - "They don’t need to know you are not actually drinking alcohol," she laughs. 

What are the benefits of mindful drinking? 

There are so many benefits to mindful drinking that it's hard to know where to start. But, the big ticket items are all related to wellness - improved sleep, more energy, increased motivation and better concentration. 

Related: Drinking, Calories & Snacking - Everything you need to know

If you are interested in losing weight, getting fitter, completing a challenge or even starting a new hobby, then mindful drinking is a practice that will support you. And since all these things are common new year's resolutions, mindful drinking is the only new years resolution you need!

How to drink mindfully

Eugenie's advice is to begin by spending a little time thinking about your relationship with alcohol and asking yourself some questions to better understand your pattern of behaviour. 

"Ask questions such as, why do I drink? What do I like about drinking? What is the downside and the negative consequences of drinking? How much do I drink?," she suggests. 

The next step is to create a set of new rules for drinking alcohol. "You can pre-plan your drinking schedule. You choose your alcohol-free days, choose the number of drinks you'll limit yourself to prior to social events," explains Eugenie. 

New Years Resolution List

Eugenie tells me that it's a good idea to write your set of rules down somewhere. "When you put something in writing you are much more likely to stick to it, so write down you goal and keep it with you," she explains. 

She also notes that it's really important to be honest with yourself, especially when considering what your 'tipping point' is. "That is the point when you stop caring. For some it can be 1-2 drinks, while others can get away with more. If you don’t establish your tipping point all of your planning can go out the window," Eugenie warns. 

Mindful drinking strategies that work 

Here are some of Eugenie's top mindful drinking strategies. 

Delay Drinking Alcohol

Experiment to see how long you can delay your first alcoholic drink. If your trigger is social anxiety see how long you can go at a party. You may be surprised to discover that you don’t need to drink alcohol or you don’t need to drink as much. 

Stay in the moment 

When you do start to drink, savour every sip. Take small sips, noting the taste and texture of the liquid." 

Slow down 

Drink lots of water before and during drinking. If you are thirsty you are more likely to drink too much too quickly.

Plan ahead 

Plan to have only one drink per hour and drink water in-between or decide that 1-3 drinks is all you will consume at an event." 

Switch to alcohol free drinks

And of course, my number one tip, switch to non-alcoholic drinks. They are an easy alternative and you never know, you might end up enjoying them so much you end up up choosing them more often than not! 

Related: The best non alcoholic swaps for summer

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