What is Mindfulness
The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘mindful’ as being ‘conscious or aware of something. According to Greater Good Magazine mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surrounding environment.
When mindfulness is practised, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than reshaping the past or imagining the future.
Mindful drinking, therefore, is the practice of being aware of and present with your physical and mental sensations including your thoughts and feelings while drinking.
It involves paying attention to our body and mind while we are being mindful of what we are drinking and realising how it is affecting us.
Although it doesn’t necessarily have to relate to alcohol, the expression is now synonymous with alcohol, and a mindful drinker tends to be someone who is aware of the effect alcohol has on them and is interested in finding ways to minimise it
It is therefore by association with being healthier both physically and mentally.
Drinking too much alcohol is one of the biggest global health problems today.
Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49-year-olds in the UK.
24% of adults in England and Scotland regularly drink over the Chief Medical Officer’s low-risk guidelines.
The main focus of mindful drinking is to help people cut down on alcohol intake slowly and gradually, rather than completely abstain.
There are many benefits to mindful drinking, including improved health, reduced stress, and increased enjoyment and awareness of the present.
This empowerment and control is what makes the practice of mindful drinking so appealing to so many people and is the reason why the movement is gathering traction so quickly.
Benefits Of Mindful drinking
There are many benefits to mindful drinking for our overall physical and mental health it may also lead to:
- Less Anxiety: Excessive alcohol causes imbalanced hormones. Mindful drinking can help reduce this imbalance and combat the anxiety they produce.
- Easier Weight Management: Without the calories in the many pints of hard drinks being consumed, losing and managing weight may be much easier.
- Better Liver Function: Without the added load of having to get rid of all the alcohol, our liver can finally catch a well-deserved break.
- Improved Social Awareness: Cutting down on alcohol means a clearer head. This will make it easier to practice mindfulness in other areas of life.
Mindful drinking promotes the idea that being aware of yourself and your drinking choices translates not only to better health but better relationships and overall a more contented life.
How To Be A Mindful Drinker?
Being a mindful drinker might be hard as we aim to change deeply entrenched drinking habits and behaviours.
However, there are a few principles that can help us along the way.
- Have a game plan: There is no progress without a plan. At least have a goal in mind. Going into mindful drinking without a clear knowledge of what we want might set us up for failure.
- Give yourself room: Don’t set rigid rules. It’ll suck all the fun out of trying mindful drinking and make it feel like a chore. Just have the general goal of a healthier lifestyle in mind.
- Question yourself: We should all ask ourselves why we are drinking? Is it just to fit in?
- Feel Free to experiment: Now that we’re resolved to looking into low and no-ABV drinks, make it an adventure. We can be confident and go out there, and try new things. It’ll make the process of reducing our alcohol intake easier.
- Be the first to order: Order first in order not to be pressured into a drink we weren’t planning on having just because everyone else is having it
Pitfalls On The Journey To Mindful Drinking:
Nothing worth having comes easy. The transition to mindful drinking is no exception. Below are some of the pitfalls that we may encounter.
Once we are aware of them, it becomes easier to manage them.
- Old habits die hard: Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies. drinking habits become such an inextricable part of our daily lives that it can become challenging to change them. Therefore, we can’t expect our drinking habits to change overnight.
- Be wary of peer pressure: Peer pressure can be very compelling, especially in social situations. It may be best to avoid certain situations altogether, at least at first.
- Temptation is everywhere: There will always be occasions that call for a drink or two. Remember, it may not be our aim to give up alcohol completely. Therefore it is fine to have a glass or two. Start slow but be consistent in reducing the intake of alcohol and other harmful drinks.
What’s With All The Buzz?
The hype currently surrounding mindful drinking is because of its perceived benefits which align with an increased interest generally in our health and wellbeing.
This in turn goes hand in hand with the rise and rise of the No & Low Drinks category as a growing number of us look for alternatives to alcohol that are made with the same craft and served with the same style and sophistication as that of any alcoholic drink.
Research by the Portman Group (2021) shows that almost “one in three (32%) of UK drinkers consume low and no alcohol products on a semi-regular basis compared to one in four (25%) in 2020”.
A fifth (20%) of those who have tried low and no alcohol say they are more likely to drink these products now compared to a year ago, a figure that has almost doubled from a year ago (11%).
The Mindful Drinking Movement
Club Soda is a pioneer and leader in mindful drinking.
From small beginnings, it has led the way to what is now a global movement. The team provides information, courses and techniques to help change people’s relationship with alcohol all within an upbeat supportive community.
Club Soda has also promoted the widespread availability of non-alcoholic drinks. The community regularly organises Mindful Drinking Festivals, which have lots of non-alcoholic brands and events, showing the vast array of choices there is out there for those interested in mindful drinking.
This year’s event is in Brighton from 9 -10 July at the Open Market.
Camile promotes the benefits of mindful drinking, illustrating the benefits of a healthier and hangover-free lifestyle.
She is also a skilled mixologist developing and mixing up lots of interesting and great tasting alcohol-free cocktails.
Live Well Cocktail
- 50ml Sea Arch Coastal Juniper
- 20ml Fresh Cucumber Syrup
- 20ml Coconut Water
- 20ml Fresh Lemon Juice
- 2 Fresh Basil Leaves
- Shake in a cocktail shaker, strain into a highball glass
- Top up with Lemonade Kombucha by No1 Living Drinks.
- Garnish with Fresh Lemon and Basil
Mindful drinking can help us all to enjoy a healthier relationship with alcohol which can really enhance our lives.
And with so many amazing alcohol-free drinks out there, we don’t have to miss any of the fun!
We can all raise an AF toast to that!