Alcohol has deeply ingrained itself into people’s daily lives and even culture, but the consequences of a lifestyle that includes alcohol a little too much can be too great. Relying on alcohol to be closer to the night or just to have a good time is dangerous as it can very easily and quickly turn into a crutch.
One of the biggest reasons alcohol is so hard to let go of is the quick escape it provides from unpleasant feelings like anxiety and sadness. But the easy way out from the harder feelings can snowball into an ugly cycle. As a result, the person further needs immediate gratification that can only be fulfilled by alcohol. In this way, a dangerous coping mechanism can become an addiction.
Even for those that consider themselves to be casual drinkers, experts consider the danger of a ‘boomerang effect’ on negative feelings like anxiety is too great for the person not to consider limiting their alcohol consumption. Several studies in the US have shown that alcohol consumption during the pandemic has increased significantly.
For those who may be worried about their alcohol consumption (or even those that can’t imagine a weekend without getting drunk), the good news is there are several alternatives to drinking that are proven to be efficient.
Spend Time with Loved Ones
There’s nothing like spending time with friends or family. That is both a cliché and a scientifically proven fact. Feel-good hormones such as oxytocin and serotonin are released whenever a person spends time with those they love.
Oxytocin, in particular, calms stress, and there is evidence that suggests it can help with the urge to drink from stress. Studies even show that spending time with friends can lengthen a person’s lifespan. So scheduling some good quality time with loved ones is highly effective.
Pick Up Hobbies That Require Physical Movement
Exercise has been proven with a copious amount of scientific evidence to curb stress and release happy chemicals called endorphins. Several studies have shown that those who engage in physical activities of any sort are less likely to be heavy drinkers. Exercise does not necessarily have to mean getting a gym membership. Picking up hobbies like biking or cycling can be a wonderfully effective way to get some rejuvenating time in the outdoors and give one’s body the much-needed release of some feel-good chemicals that can curb a more unhealthy habit like drinking.
One good physical activity to consider picking up is dancing. The combination of music, which is known to release dopamine, and physical movement is good for the body. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2019 revealed that dopamine is the same chemical released in the brain when a person drinks alcohol.
Learn and Incorporate Relaxation Techniques into Your Daily Routine
Relaxation techniques such as meditation and progressive muscle relaxation can regulate hormones released as a result of experiencing negative emotions such as stress and anxiety. Stress, in particular, can trigger the release of a steroid hormone called cortisol. This hormone pushes the body into a fight or flight mode that worsens stress and strengthens the urge to pop open a bottle. A study in the Substance Abuse Journal showed those recovering from alcohol experienced significantly reduced urges and cravings when they were regularly practicing mindful techniques.
Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique often used in behavioral therapy. Simply put, one part of the body is voluntarily contracted or ‘squeezed’ for a limited number of seconds and then ‘let go.’ This is then done with another part of the body.
For instance, one can start by squeezing the muscles in the forehead for 10 seconds. They spend this time focusing on the tension built up in the area. After the 10 seconds are up, they slowly release the tension in the muscles while paying attention to the feeling of letting go. All the while, they make sure to keep breathing slow and deep. After the forehead, they move on to the muscles in the jaw, the shoulders, and so on.
Progressive muscle relaxation release oxytocin and serotonin, both feel-good chemicals that can improve mood and alleviate stress.
Another great way to practice mindfulness is through meditation. Countless meditation videos on the internet serve as great starting points for anyone confused about how to go about it.
Different people have different tendencies to experience mindfulness. For one person, it might be meditation, but for another, it could simply be a long walk.
Adopting a Substitute
After the legalization of marijuana, increasingly more people have turned to reap its benefits. It is known to be effective in fighting anxiety and stress, and for those that are recovering from alcohol abuse, it can relieve the urge to turn to alcohol. It can be a great way to unwind for those that want to end the day on a high note.
There are many different types of cannabis. There are options for fine, expertly crafted products that use pure cannabis terpenes free from harmful additives. Solventless concentrate in Los Angeles or THC concentrates in Los Angeles, like live rosin, can give a relaxing high. Live Rosin in Los Angeles is a Los Angeles solventless concentrate that has been around for over 20 years but has only recently grown in popularity. Rosin is a popular option as the absence of solvents, and solvent exposure avoids the serious health concerns that long-term exposure to solvents can cause.
Pre-rolls in Los Angeles are another option for those new to it all. These come rolled and ready to use, removing the burden of preparing a joint off of the user.
Whether it’s a more conventional method of going for a walk or a more unconventional one like ordering a pre-roll in Los Angeles, there are countless options for those determined to live a healthier lifestyle. Fighting the urge to fall back on the comfort of old ways can be challenging, but with determination, it gets easier.