How to Reduce Binge Drinking and Feel Healthier
While binge drinking might be seen as fashionable by some, the truth is that it’s seriously bad for you in the short and long term. There are a lot of negative side effects that come from it, both physical and emotional.
As such, it’s not a surprise that people would want to cut back on their drinking, and if you have made that decision, we commend you, but how exactly will you achieve this goal? That’s where we come in.
In this article, we’ll discuss several meaningful strategies you can follow to help you reduce your binge drinking.
How to Reduce Binge Drinking to Feel Healthier
Slowing your drinking will help you feel better by improving your sleep, mood, and energy levels. Follow these tips to help lower or control your binge drinking:
- Make a List of Reasons
Start by making a list of why you want to reduce your drinking, such as sleeping better, improving your relationships, or feeling healthier. This list will help you when you are struggling with your drinking urges by reminding you why you are trying to drink less.
- Start Slow
You can start drinking less by taking a break from alcohol, but instead of completely abstaining from drinking, strive to limit your consumption to fewer than seven days per week. You could avoid drinking a few days a week or go sober on Mondays or Wednesdays instead. Next, try abstaining from alcohol for a week to see how you feel without it.
- Establish a Limit
You are less likely to drink if you set daily or weekly limits for yourself. To start, drinking should be kept below the recommended guidelines. That is 1 to 2 drinks per day for adults. These limits may be too high for some older adults or people with certain medical conditions. Ask your doctor what an appropriate amount of consumption is for you. You can also use a mindful drinking app to help you establish and keep track of your drinking limits.
- Track Your Drinking
Keep track of when you drink for three to four weeks. Use a tool like Sunnyside and take their 3-minute quiz to build a customized drinking plan for you. Remember to include how much, what you drank, and where you were, then compare your record with your goal. It is helpful to track how many drinks you consume per day to help you understand how much you drink.
- Avoid Having Alcohol at Home
You can limit your drinking if you don’t keep alcohol at home. Keep beer, liquor, and wine out of your kitchen. Although it might seem convenient when you have company, it also facilitates reaching for multiple drinks when you are alone. It is best to store alcohol at home in the back of the fridge or the basement, away from direct sight.
- Eat Then Drink
If you’re full, you’re less likely to drink as much as you would if you were empty.
- Be Aware of Social Pressure
Practice polite ways to say no to peer pressure. Don’t listen to people who urge you to drink, which includes pressure coming from you. You shouldn’t feel obligated to accept every drink offered to you. Don’t feel like you have to drink because you are the only one without a beer in hand.
- Keep Busy
Walking, playing sports, going out to eat, or watching a movie are excellent ways to keep yourself busy.. Consider picking up a new hobby or revisiting an old one when you’re at home. You can replace drinking with activities such as painting, playing a musical instrument, or woodworking.
- Find Support
Reducing your drinking can sometimes be difficult. Speak to your friends and family members about your situation. Additionally, your doctor, counselor, or therapist may be able to help you. Don’t feel ashamed if you need to ask for help. Everything will be much easier when you have people that have your back.
- Drink Water or Alcohol-Free Drinks
Make it a habit to follow up every alcoholic beverage with a non-alcoholic one, like water or juice. You will be able to slow down and pace yourself better, and you will experience the added benefit of keeping hydrated, which helps you avoid hangovers.
- Drink Slowly, No Gulping
Make it a habit to slowly sip your alcohol, and take breaks to drink some water—practice mindfulness when drinking. Take time to enjoy your beer or mixed drink rather than chug it. Try to stick to drinks with low alcohol content if you have difficulty controlling your pace.
- Identify Triggers
To avoid temptation, stay away from people and places that make you want to drink. Develop a plan to manage drinking during holidays and vacations if you associate it with drinking. Be aware of your feelings. A drink may seem like a good idea when feeling sad, angry, or lonely, but finding healthy ways to deal with stress is a better option.
In general, people who have successfully cut down or stopped drinking altogether have made several attempts. That’s because it’s not easy to stop or even cut back. There will probably be setbacks, but don’t let them stop you from reaching your long-term goal. It is common for the process to require ongoing effort, so there is no final point.
- Manage Social Anxiety With Healthier Methods
If you are prone to drinking to calm your nerves in social situations, try these healthier alternatives:
- Breathing slowly and steadily is good for you. Inhale for four seconds, hold it for two seconds, then exhale for six seconds. This reduces stress by stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system.
- Consider what’s happening around you, rather than worrying about how you feel or what people think.
- Challenge your negative inner monologue. Consider the quality of your inner self-talk if you have trouble shifting your focus from internal to external.
You can take many approaches to cut back on your drinking, such as using tracking apps, establishing daily limits, alternating with water, or simply seeking support from your family and friends. Whatever you do, your body will be very thankful for your efforts.
You might not feel it right away, but reducing your drinking will improve your sleep quality, lower your blood pressure, and make you healthier overall. You won’t regret it.