Can mindful drinking improve your mental health?
Although alcohol might make us feel relaxed in the short term, it can help contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety. This is because regular long-term drinking interferes with neurotransmitters in the brain, which are needed for good mental health.
It's a feeling many of us have experienced after too many drinks the night before: stomach-churning anxiety, tinged with regret and despair. Feeling anxious or down is a common side effect of a hangover, not to mention the headaches, tiredness and digestive problems.
But many young people are now shunning alcohol in favour of going teetotal. More than a quarter of 16- to 24-year-olds do not drink, compared to a fifth of the broader adult population, in part, due to concerns over their health and finances.
And now, some people are practising a new concept called 'mindful drinking'.
The idea behind it is to change your attitude and emotions towards alcohol and learn to drink what you want to, instead of what you think is socially acceptable. For example, you might order a large red wine after a stressful day - but it might be better go for a small, or give booze a miss entirely.