One of the best things you can do for your health in 2022

If you are looking to set a health goal for 2022, one of the best things you can do for your health is to reduce the amount of alcohol you consume. I am not anti alcohol - I partook in a number of delicious cocktails at my brother-in-law's amazing home bar over the break but I am mindful about how much and how often I drink alcohol.

Reduce your cancer risk

According to the Cancer Council drinking alcohol is a risk factor for seven types of cancer, including:

  • mouth (pharynx)
  • throat (larynx)
  • oesophagus
  • bowel
  • stomach
  • liver
  • breast.

The risk of some cancer types is even higher for people who drink and smoke. The Cancer Council also notes that breast cancer is the most common cancer in Australian women and while you cannot change some of your risk factors for breast cancer, drinking less alcohol is a change you can make to reduce your risk.

Improve your mental health

In a 2006 study, Mental health and alcohol, drugs and tobacco: a review of the comorbidity between mental disorders and the use of alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs they found the following:

While causal pathways differ across substances and disorders, there is evidence that alcohol is a casual factor for depression, in some European countries up to 10% of male depression. Policies that reduce the use of substances are likely to reduce the prevalence of mental disorders.

And as I wrote about in a previous post alcohol does increase anxiety due to the changes it causes in the chemical levels in your brain. If you missed this newsletter you can find it here.

Improve your sleep

Alcohol is a sedative and as a consequence when we drink alcohol and then attempt to go to sleep it actually sedates us. We lose consciousness but don't fall into our natural sleep cycle. And on top of that it makes us wake up more frequently during the night (even if we don't remember it) so we have greatly disrupted sleep. This 90 second video from Dr Matt Walker, Professor of Neuroscience at UC Berkeley and author of the best selling book Why We Sleep explains in more detail the negative impacts alcohol has on your sleep.

There are even more health benefits to reducing your alcohol consumption like better liver health, improved concentration, more energy, better skin etc but I think the three listed above are enough to make it worth reducing alcohol consumption.

Sober curious and mindful drinking

Many people around the world are taking a serious look at the role alcohol plays in their life, an approach known as being sober curious, or drinking mindfully and it is a rapidly growing movement. What does this being sober curious look like?

This might mean pausing to consider your need to drink, or how much you will drink. Maybe replacing your midweek glass of wine or beers with a non-alcoholic alternative. It’s about stopping to ask yourself why you want to have a drink, and if each and every drink needs to be alcoholic.

This moves away from the extremes of teetotallers vs binge drinkers and opens up the idea of drinking – or not – on any given occasion. {Source}

If you are interested in this concept, a great place to start is following these hashtags on Instagram:

And I can also highly recommend following these accounts on Instagram too:

  • Dry but wet - Amy is fabulous and describes herself as a former boozy tragic, on the hunt for the best alcohol free drinks.
  • The Mindful Mocktail - Nat makes the most amazing non alcoholic cocktails and shares great videos so you can recreate them at home too.
  • Sober in the Country - is a non profit organisation founded by Shanna Whan which is working to create radical social change in the Australian bush booze culture.

Wishing you a 2022 filled with great health and happiness, and a little less alcohol!

Nic