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September 2020 (Vol. 5 Issue 6)

Meditation can help you drink less
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

Meditation can help you drink less image

Worried about your drinking? If you fear you're hitting the bottle a little too much, just a few minutes of mindfulness meditation every day could help you cut back, new research has found.

People who start the meditation are often drinking around nine units of alcohol less a week, and that could be enough to take them below the maximum 'danger' threshold set by health agencies.

The best thing is that it takes just 11 minutes to learn the mindfulness techniques, say researchers from University College London.

The researchers tested it against a relaxation programme on a group of 68 heavy drinkers, but who weren't 'problem' drinkers or alcoholics. Half were taught relaxation techniques, while the rest had the 11-minute training in mindfulness meditation, where the focus is on the present moment, and our feelings, thoughts and sensations.

They were encouraged to meditate for short periods every day for the week the group was being monitored. At the end of the week, the meditation group reported they had drunk 9.3 fewer units of alcohol than they had in the week before beginning meditation, while there was hardly any difference among the relaxation group.

The meditators may have been more aware of their cravings, and so didn't automatically reach out for a drink, said lead researcher Sunjeev Kamboj.


(Source: International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2017; doi: 10.1093/ijnp/pyx064)

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