What is mindful drinking? The 7 Habits

Mindful drinking is an attitude.

Club Soda is all about changing the way you think and feel about drinking. Changing your relationship with alcohol. When you drink more mindfully, you become more aware of how your body and mind are affected by it. You learn. You take control of your drinking habits.

But what is mindful drinking exactly? For many, mindful drinking is about moderating their drinking habits. For example choosing lower alcohol drinks, drinking fewer drinks each day, not drinking on weekdays, doing a longer sober sprint, or even going completely alcohol free. People’s motivations are different too. You could have a slimming or fitness goal, want to save money, keep your mind sharp, or just not be up for drinking tonight.

Just remember one thing – drinking alcohol is never compulsory. No matter what.

Mindful drinking is all about deciding what is right for you, today, at this moment. You are in control.

The seven mindful drinking habits

We think mindful drinking involves a few habits or behaviours that will help you achieve your goals, and stick to your resolutions.

1. Plan ahead

Just winging it and mindfulness don’t go so well together. So take your time and plan, plan, plan. Look for pubs and bars with great low and no alcohol drinks, so that you can choose to drink or not to drink. Tweet or call the venues in advance and ask about their choice, or find a new local that cares about you and what you want to drink.

2. Don’t panic at the bar

“Erm, erm, erm! White wine!” Stay strong at the bar. Don’t let a flash of indecision make you fall back on ‘the usual’. Take your time. Stay mindful. Chat to the bar staff about what you want to drink, and what they have on offer. Many of them will love the challenge of whipping you up a mocktail.

There are plenty of people who never drink and who are cutting down (one in five people, actually). So you can take a few minutes to decide on your order.

3. Fake it if you have to

Sometimes you just don’t want another boring conversation about why you are not having a ‘proper’ drink. So fly below the radar. Here are three sneaky tips:

  • Arrange a ‘usual’ with the bar staff. They love helping you fake a Gin and Tonic (aka a Tonic & Tonic, or T&T) or putting a fizzy elderflower in a dressed up champagne glass.
  • The never-ending shandy. Start with the lowest alcohol beer you can find, and just keep topping it up with lemonade or soda at each round.
  • Pimp your water. Not sure if the pub you’re going to has something you like? Smuggle in a bottle of your favourite cordial and pimp your fizzy water all night

4. Assess your mood before acting

Drinking when you’re happy can be great. But drinking when you’re lonely, tired and emotional? You know how that ends, probably not a good idea… Rather than add a hangover to your problems, face them head on. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.

Think ‘HALT’: am I Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired? or Thirsty? If you are any of these things, do something about that first, rather than try to hide it with a drink. Listen to what your body really needs.

5. Stick to your guns

Make your decision, put it into words, and practice saying it out loud. For example: “I have decided not to drink tonight, as I’m saving myself for the weekend.”

If your friends try to bully you into drinking, shift the spotlight onto them. Ask them something. How was their day? What’s the best cat meme they’ve seen on Facebook? Just move the discussion away from your drinking choices and onto something else.

Remember, you don’t need anyone’s permission to make a decision that is right for you. No one has the right to persuade you otherwise.

6. There’s safety in numbers

Everyone else is drinking, right? Well, not really. When you start to look around, you realise just how many people aren’t actually drinking. Your pregnant friend, your friend on a health kick, your Muslim friend, and even your friend who just had too much last night and is nursing a wicked hangover. Seek them out, and go out together. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a crowd of people drinking alcohol, a crowd of your own can really help.

7. Be an active customer

If we want our pubs to stay on the high street, we need to stay friends with them. We want them to stock a great tipple; they want to know what drinks will keep you coming back. So ask them to stock your favourite non-alcoholic beers or craft sodas. Before they know it, those non-alcoholic drinks will be flying off the shelves.

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