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7 Tips for Mindful Drinking and Why You Should Care

7 Tips for Mindful Drinking and Why You Should Care


10 minute read

The mindful drinking movement isn’t some passing trend. For the last few years, more and more age groups, particularly within the millennial generation, have taken a cold, hard look at their drinking habits.

Some have found that they don’t like what they see or that their alcohol consumption isn’t as controlled as they’d like. 

For many, it’s a byproduct of the sober curious movement as people look beyond Dry January for ways to reevaluate their drinking habits and alcohol use. Others practice mindful drinking as a way to moderate drinking and alcohol intake that has left them feeling less like themselves.

It’s about being reflective about your drinking and becoming more mindful about why you’re drinking in the first place.

Practicing mindful drinking, but don’t want to give up the wine? Try our alcohol-removed wines for an authentic experience without the alcohol.

What is a mindful drinker?

A mindful drinker is someone who is not only aware of how much they’re drinking but aware of why they’re drinking.

Mindful drinking is all about thinking before you start drinking. It’s moderation management done in a way that addresses why you’re drinking and whether that cocktail is necessary at that moment. 

While the strategy has been around for a while, it was popularized more recently by groups like Club Soda, a community that started as a Facebook group but quickly grew into something more. 

The group, led by co-founder Laura Willoughby, wanted to emphasize choice and connection over alcohol and empower people to think more about their drinking habits.

Today, Club Soda has networks worldwide, offering workshops and social outings for those seeking a playbook around how to become mindful drinkers.

How do you become a mindful drinker? You become a mindful drinker by asking yourself why you’re drinking. Before you sip, consider whether it’s worth that sip. 

Put simply, mindful drinkers are aware of the effects of alcohol on the body. That doesn’t mean they live the teetotal lifestyle, but they’re doing the work to cultivate a healthier relationship with alcohol.

The benefits of mindful drinking go beyond getting a handle on excessive drinking. 

Benefits of Mindful Drinking

Fans of the mindful drinking movement have seen the benefits of thinking more deeply about habits that may not be rewarding, even harmful.

What are the benefits to drinking mindfully? The benefits of drinking mindfully include better overall well-being, improved sleep, and a healthier relationship with drinking, among others.

Benefit 1: You Feel Better

A bad hangover the next day isn’t the only drawback of drinking too much the night before. Drinking too much isn’t all that good for you, and we’re not just talking about the empty calories. 

Drinking less can lead to an energy boost, improve your mood, even lead to better overall health outcomes. That includes your mental health.

How does alcohol affect the brain? Alcohol affects the brain immediately, slowing your reaction times, impairing your judgment, and making it difficult to control motor functions.

Alcohol can also cause long-term effects in the brain, including memory loss, cognitive decline, and depressive symptoms over time.

Most of these effects are reversible or improved with less drinking.

Benefit 2: Improved Sleep

It may seem like you’re prone to a deep, heavy sleep after a night out, but drinking and sleep don’t mix long-term.

While alcohol may help you fall asleep faster, it does damage to your overall sleep cycles. 

Drinking delays and even prevents REM sleep. That’s the sleep stage where most dreams happen. Missing too much REM sleep affects cognition, leaving you in that terrible fog the next day after a night of too much drinking.

Benefit 3: You Save Money

Alcohol is expensive. Drinking a few cocktails or glasses of wine with dinner when you’re out can lead to a bill that’s twice as high as it would be without all the booze on the tab.

Being more intentional about when you drink and how much you drink could free up some of your budget for things you’re more passionate about. 

Your social life doesn’t have to be affected by these cost-saving measures, either. Friends can spend time together without drinking together. It’s why the idea of sober bars has taken off in recent years.

Benefit 4: A Healthier Relationship With Alcohol 

When you drink mindfully, you’re more likely to think about why you’re drinking in the first place. You develop a healthier relationship with alcohol, even with the people around you. You can savor the moment rather than seek out that next drink. 

You begin to consider whether you’re drinking for the right reasons or whether you have a purpose to drink at all. Mindful drinking takes mental energy to be a successful lifestyle change. 

7 Tips for Mindful Drinking

Deciding to drink less one morning because you’re tired of feeling hungover all the time may sound like a solid plan. If you want to be mindful about your decision, though, there are a few tips to make your path a bit smoother.

Keep in mind that mindful drinking isn’t a replacement for an alcoholism program. If you have a problem with alcohol, feel like you need to drink to get through the day, or can’t stop yourself from drinking, seek help immediately. Mindfulness isn’t a cure for addiction.

For those on the path to becoming more mindful about their drinking, you may already be using some successful strategies.

Tip 1: Practice Reflection

It’s important to ask yourself tough questions if you’re embarking on the journey of mindful drinking. Most importantly, ask yourself: “Why are you drinking?”

Is it because you have a hard time drinking less alcohol around certain people? Is it certain situations, like a happy hour, that are the problem?

Are you bored? Are you using alcohol to keep up with your social circle?

Pay attention to how your answers make you feel. The point here is to think about your drinking in a way you may not have before. If drinking has become reflexive for you, think about why. If you’re into meditation, introduce this way of thinking into your practice.

Once you understand why you’re drinking, it’s easier to cut back and anticipate situations where drinking may become a problem. 

Tip 2: Set Goals

It’s hard to decide that you’re just going to drink less when you don’t really know what that means. Be specific with what you’d like to do with your habits, and adjust as needed based on your goals and needs.

Your goal may be to drink on fewer days. Some adopt a “Rule of 3” approach by drinking only 3 days per week. 

If you want to see how you feel with a month off of drinking, your goal may be a Sober September, Sober October, or whatever month you choose to abstain from alcohol. A longer period of abstaining from alcohol may feel great or even easier than you thought.

You may find that you’d rather join the sober celebrities out there and quit drinking altogether.

Tip 3: Sip With Purpose

Mindful drinking isn’t necessarily about wholly cutting drinking out of your life, but finding the best time to drink. It’s about being more intentional about the act.

Sip slowly when you do drink. It’s a good rule of thumb in general, by the way, especially if you’re a woman worried about blood alcohol levels. Women, unfortunately, get intoxicated faster.

When you do drink, turn that drink into an experience. 

Appreciate what it is that brought you to that drink in the first place. Maybe it’s seeing your friends for the first time since a pandemic started or a glass of bubbly to celebrate a big win. Savor the drink, but savor the moment more.

Tip 4: Monitor Your Drinking

Mindful drinking may not come naturally to you at first. 

To build intentional habits, you may want to physically write down what you’re drinking and how often you’re drinking until you see those patterns in a more obvious way. 

That can be in the form of an app on your phone or diary, like you might do with a new diet or mindfulness programs.

Once you feel like you’re in the groove, check in with yourself from time to time. Give yourself a mini progress report on how you’re doing with any goals you’ve set for yourself. Keep yourself accountable.

Tip 5: Find Alcohol-Free Activities

If you find that most of what you’re interested in both personally and socially involves drinking, it may be time to find healthier alternatives to drinking.

If you drink because you find yourself bored, find new ways to beat that boredom. That can be getting into 15-minute yoga or texting your funniest friend. Take the dog out for a walk or read that book that’s been collecting dust on your shelf.

Connect with friends open to the changes you’re making to your lifestyle. Friends should be supportive of healthy habits.

Tip 6: Share Your Plan

It’s easier to commit to a lifestyle change if you have the support of friends or family while you’re doing so. Share your intentions about mindful drinking with those you spend the most time.

Friends who won’t take the new you seriously or pressure you don’t sound like friends you want around.

Tip 7: Embrace Alcohol Alternatives

There are various options out there when it comes to alcohol alternatives, and you don’t need to swap that bottle of wine for grape juice just yet.

Creative mocktails and wine alternatives without the alcohol are easy swaps when you’re looking to cut back on drinking. 

If you’re seeking a wine replacement that tastes more like the real thing, Surely’s alcohol-removed wines are a natural choice. Try a non-alcoholic sparkling white if you’re feeling festive, or our canned Brut for easy portability. 

Get your friends together for wine night over a bottle of non-alcoholic rosé

Alcohol substitutes like ours at Surely are here for your mindful drinking journey. 

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