Alcohol and Mental Wellbeing

Many of us enjoy a glass of wine or a bottle of craft beer now and then, but moderation is important when it comes to drinking alcohol. In fact, giving it up over time can lead to improved mental health and wellness. While it’s not something many folks want to do, this is one habit that’s worth kicking. While it may appear that light or moderate drinking is relatively harmless, the truth is that leaving it behind may be what’s best for you.

We Drink for a Reason, Even if We’re Not Aware

Drinking alcohol, even moderately or lightly, is often a coping mechanism. There’s a misconception that addiction is only tied to heavy drinking, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, we all turn to alcohol in hopes that it does something, much the same as medical marijuana or otherwise. Perhaps that glass of wine during dinner serves as your reward for a long day taking care of the kids. Or, maybe that bottle of beer is the refreshing way to unwind after a tiring shift at the office. Regardless, it’s likely that you don’t turn to a glass of orange juice or water in the same sort of dependence!

What’s Familiar and Comfortable May Not be Good for You

Ever heard of the term “nostalgia trip?” This references a desire to revisit or cling to something that you have happy memories of in hopes that it can create more memories in the future. Well, the same principle applies to alcohol consumption and our wellbeing – if we have a history of casual drinking, we’re more likely to continue it because it’s comfortable and familiar, like an old friend.

That’s the issue: Alcohol is inherently addictive even in small quantities, including among those who don’t have a history of “problem” drinking. Various studies, including one in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, indicate that positive mental health changes are possible when kicking the habit, particularly in women. It can even approach the wellbeing of those who go their whole lives without touching a drop of alcohol – that’s really saying something!

We use alcohol as a sort of tether to our everyday lives without knowing it, whether for coping or a means of relaxation. Therefore, it can more easily affect our mood, perception of the world around us, and reactivity to unexpected or unwanted circumstances. By finding the strength within ourselves to leave it behind, we can lead happier and healthier lives!

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