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How does mindfulness help you quit drinking?

Jul 12, 2020

Yoga, meditation and mindfulness has been incredibly helpful for me in my journey with quitting drinking. That's why I created the #sobergirlsyoga 30 day yoga challenge. Yoga served and benefitted me during my journey and I want to provide this support for others. For me, I had a hard time managing my stress and my coping mechanism was alcohol for many years. What helped me a lot when I finally ditched the drink was instead, becoming more consistent and dedicated to my yoga practice. But I didn't really know any of the science behind it - any of the reasons why it's been so helpful - I just know that it works. Today I did some research into why exactly mindfulness is so beneficial for heavy drinkers when they are quitting alcohol.

Surprisingly I found that research has actually been done that shows that mindfulness can be a key tool in quitting drinking! Here's why:

When you feel stressed or anxious or down and do something to feel better, like having a drink of alcohol, your brain learns to create a pattern of this. Habits are really hard to break. But focusing on the present moment and paying attention to your cravings, instead of acting on them, is a key way to intervene. You start to notice the prompts that trigger your craving for a drink - such as driving home from work (if you're in a habit of having a drink after work) or maybe arriving at a party (if you habitually have a drink at a party, this routine could trigger you to want a drink). Other things could be your triggers, like emotions such as being stressed or anxious.

According to this article I read from the University College London, even just practicing mindfulness for 11 minutes can help heavy drinkers cut back. As well, this study shows that experienced meditators can better control their posterior cingulate cortex – the part of the brain related to stress and cravings.

Pretty cool to understand the science behind the magic. I teach short meditations in almost all my yoga classes and I lead guided meditations twice a week for the virtual yoga studio that I founded, The Mindful Life Practice Community ( Come join us sometime and see how it works! Here's a short Mindfulness Meditation for you to enjoy in the meantime!

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