6 Great Reasons To Give Up Alcohol
By Janet Early
Happy hours, celebratory drinks, girls night out, girls night in, TGIF…
Whatever the occasion, sharing alcoholic beverages has become a common pastime in social culture. While it can be fun when used responsibly, drinking also does a number on your body and mind.
Here are the best reasons to put down the pinot and ban the beer!
Many people drink to “lift their spirits.” But the pleasant intoxication of tonight can transform into the ruthless hangover of tomorrow. Many times, especially as you get older, the blurry memories from last night just aren’t worth the pounding headache, nausea, muscle pain and exhaustion that comes next.
When you feel terrible, you can’t bring your A-game to the things that truly matter. Abstaining from alcohol for even just one month can do wonders for your mood. You will wake up feeling your best and ready to take on the day.
Why do hangovers happen?
In one word: dehydration.
Alcohol is a diuretic, which basically means that it makes you pee more often and therefore, dehydrates your body and reduces its sodium levels. Since ⅔ of your body is made of water, not having enough causes some nasty side effects.
Key organ systems require water to operate, like your heart and brain. When you’re dehydrated, your body shuttles its water resources to these places, taking them away from less vital body operations, such as temperature regulation (sweating) and detoxification (urinating).
Dehydration can cause:
- Tension headaches
- Muscle stiffness/pain
- Extreme thirst
- Dry skin
When you’re recovering from the night before, it’s much harder to make progress on important projects in your life. If you’re hunched over in bed, you can’t reach that fitness goal you set for yourself or catch up on work emails like you planned to do.
People who wake up feeling good have endless possibilities for their days. Cutting out hangovers is an easy trick you can use to further your goals.
You’re likely familiar with the connection between drinking and weight gain – alcoholic beverages typically contain lots of calories and no redemptive nutrient payoff. Cutting out alcohol can also cut out useless calories and help you trim your waist.
Additionally, alcohol consumption is linked to serious health concerns, like increased risk for breast, colon and other cancers. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health:
“There is convincing evidence that alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer. In a combined analysis of six large prospective studies involving more than 320,000 women, researchers found that having two or more drinks a day increased the chances of developing breast cancer as much as 41 percent.”
Long-term health risks from excessive alcohol use can cause:
- Digestive disorders
- High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke
- Liver disease
- Cognition and memory problems
- Mental health diseases, such as depression and anxiety
#4. Deeper Relationships
Taking a break from drinking gives you more time and energy to focus on the important relationships in your life. Turning down an invite to a bar opens up the night to have dinner with a potential beau or a movie night with girlfriends. It gives you more opportunity to build up lasting, meaningful bonds.
While conversing with strangers at the bar may seem fun and new, it’s fleeting. The people in your life on a daily basis are the people who count and the people worth investing time into.
#5. Better Choices
We’ve all said or done something while under the influence that we wish we could undo. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, but it also significantly deters your better judgment.
Alcohol use is linked to problems like:
- Bodily injuries
- Sexual and physical violence
- Risky sexual behaviors
- Alcohol poisoning
When you are sober, you have your wits about you. Plain and simple, you’re less likely to make bad choices that could have disastrous, permanent effects on your life or someone else’s.
Alcohol ain’t cheap. It comes with high bar tabs, bar covers, bartender tips and an expensive Uber ride. A night out at a decent bar can end up costing you upwards of $50.
There are much more valuable things that you could be spending your money on, like a household appliance you need, high-quality meats and veggies, or a nice dinner out with friends. Alcohol can get old fast, but its impact on your wallet lasts for a long time.
Many people subscribe to the belief that they can only have fun going out if they are tipsy. This just isn’t the case.
Knowing that you can have a good time without relying on booze can seriously raise your confidence in social situations. That’s a benefit that will last much longer than one night out at a bar!
Plus, you can always still go out with your friends who are drinking and opt out of doing it yourself. Be the sober, clear-minded one and avoid the potential pitfalls of blurry judgment.
Perhaps you indulged a bit too much over the holidays or just want a healthy change. Whatever the reason, if you decide to do a drinking detox, you will reap some serious benefits. Even a short-term alcohol break can do wonders for your energy, mood and lifestyle.
If you’re ready to take the month-long pledge or have a past experience to share, please tell us below!
Janet Early is a health enthusiast living in Los Angeles and working as a researcher for a major television company. An aspiring writer, Janet discovered her passion for wholesome nutrition and natural healing while navigating the struggles of balancing food sensitivities in a modern world. In addition to nutrition, she enjoys traveling, storytelling and embarking on daily adventures.
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