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Tag: alcohol

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Five great reasons to stop drinking alcohol

1. You will have more money

 

You’ll probably be very surprised if you add up how much money you are currently spending on alcohol each month. Imagine if you had that much extra money each month – what would you do with it? Maybe you wouldn’t have to worry so much about money or maybe you could start looking at other things you would enjoy. Joining a class to learn something you’ve always wanted to try, learn to climb, paint, study a language or start another hobby. With the savings you would make over a year, you may well be able to take a holiday or buy a car. Many people are afraid to stop drinking alcohol because they think it would make life less fun, but the truth is it can give you a chance to do more of the fun things in life instead. 

Exercise: Add up your average spendings on alcohol over a month, then imagine what other things you would like to do with that money.

People happy without drinking alcohol

 

2.  You will look healthier and younger!

 

Drinking alcohol ages you, we often see people of 30 who actually look about 50. Alcohol produces toxins in the body that accelerate the ageing process.  If you take steps to stop drinking alcohol, the damage can be reduced or even reversed. People often find their faces clears of any acne and their complexion improves. Imagine how much happier you will feel when you’re able to look in the mirror and enjoy the contrast of how much better you look. Your confidence will grow and the knock-on effects of feeling better about yourself are far-reaching.

Exercise: Imagine feeling really confident about yourself and your looks. What would be different for you? Would you say different things? Would you go to different places? How would it change your life?

 

3.  Your relationships will improve

 

Often a social setting is the catalyst for drinking alcohol, it may be where the habit started and many people associate it with having fun with friends. However, alcohol can also be the cause of fights and arguments with friends and loved ones, it can even ruin relationships. Many drinkers find themselves having to apologise for the ‘drunk them’ time and time again, they end up lying to loved ones or have ended friendships over something that happened when they were drunk. 

The fear of having to change their social life can be tricky for those who drink, but the rewards are great, and you don’t always have to change friends when you stop drinking, you can try creating different environments to enjoy socialising. Try spending a night out with friends or loved ones without drinking. Instead of going to a pub, go to a show or have a meal out so you can really appreciate and enjoy each other’s company.

Exercise: Think about and write down how at least three relationships would improve if you stopped drinking. Then add yourself – how would your relationship with yourself improve? What would like more about yourself?

People enjoying relationships without alcohol

 

4. You will feel and be much healthier

 

The majority of people when asked, say that they would like to feel healthy and live a long life. The reality if you engage in heavy bouts of drinking is that this is not likely to happen. Liver disease, heart problems, obesity, kidney issues and cancer are a few of the conditions caused or greatly exacerbated by moderate to heavy drinking. Not only are you potentially destroying your life, but you may impact the lives of those you love as well. 

If you cut down, or preferably stop drinking, you will quickly notice a difference in how you feel. Often aches and pains decrease or go away, your chances of getting cancer decrease sharply and your liver will begin to rejuvenate. You are likely to lose weight and start to feel much better about yourself and your life. 

If you drink to de-stress and relax, try alternatives. Take up a pastime you have always wanted to do, you could learn meditation or mindfulness exercises, join a gym or get together with friends to do something healthy for you.

Exercise: How would you like to be healthier? What would be different in your life if you felt better physically, were stronger, fitter, brighter and happier? Write down some of your answers so you can come back to them. 

 

5. You will stop damaging your brain and feel clearer and brighter

 

Many people don’t even think about the effect alcohol is having on their brain because it doesn’t immediately show up. If you have been drinking for a long time, you may not be aware that your brain is ‘foggy’ and you are only able to feel and function in life at half mast. Continued drinking can cause depression, anxiety, memory loss and even permanent brain damage. To quit drinking allows your brain to begin healing and clear the ‘fog’. Your mind becomes clearer and sharper, you are less like to suffer with mental health issues and your senses will improve so that you can see, feel, hear, smell, and taste more of the good stuff in life. It’s worth it!

Exercise: Write down five things in your life that would improve if you had a clearer mind, were more content, free from hangovers and your senses were sharper.

Happy man who has quit alcohol

When you do these exercises and write down your answers, keep them handy and read over them each night. As you read, make sure to feel how the ‘new and different you’ would feel if these things were true.

If you would like help with quitting alcohol or you would like an assessment of your alcohol intake, contact Canterbury Healthcare.

Image of stones balancing to indicate managing anxiety

7 Tips for Helping Yourself Manage Life’s Ups and Downs

Many of us find ourselves feeling overwhelmed more often than we would like, embroiled in fiery anger, prone to emotional outbursts or stuck in anxiety and emotional overload. It is often frustrating but can be quite debilitating and feel unmanageable. Here are some life tips that are good for us all:

1. Stop, count and breathe – it’s so simple we often don’t do this, or we think it is too simple to be fully effective. Don’t be fooled, there is great healing in the breath. Stop at the first sign of overwhelm/anger/anxiety and breathe deeply and slowly. Count each breath until you reach ten breaths. After that, continue deep, slow breaths. Feel the breath going through your nose and down into your lungs, hold it for the count of two, then breathe out and feel your body relaxing as you do so. Try breathing out for longer than you breathed in. Continue until you feel much calmer and you can think more clearly.

Doing this practice for five or ten minutes daily whether you are feeling overwhelmed/angry or not will help you on the path to experiencing extreme emotions less frequently and less violently.

image to show individual relationship counselling

2. Exercise – moving your body helps to move the energy of emotions. When you feel anger or anxiety rising, breathe and move your body. Walk around the room, or go outside to walk or run or jump, whichever you prefer. It will shift the intensity of your emotions. Feel your body as you move. Feel the breath going in and out, feel your feet as they touch the ground. Look around you and notice what is there. Notice how you feel when you are looking at different things.

Regular exercise will help to reduce the frequency and severity of emotional flare-ups and contribute to your overall wellbeing.

3. Get enough sleep – You are more likely to have uncontrolled emotional responses to life if you are sleep deprived. Find a calming routine leading up to bedtime. Avoid phones, TV and computers for an hour or so before bed. Read, drink a hot drink, meditate or spend some time breathing deeply and slowly, have family time. Find what feels good and helps you to wind down.

If you wake in the night, rather than focusing on not sleeping, which leads to stress, try focusing on areas of your body and feel them for a minute or two. Start with your feet. When you feel them buzzing, enjoy the feeling for a while, then move to your legs and keep going (hips, midriff, chest, shoulder area, neck, head) until you are either asleep or have done this with your whole body. You can start from the head and move down if you prefer. Try it and see. Don’t worry if you can’t feel much to begin with, once you’ve done this practice some times you will start to feel more. It gives you great rest and rejuvenation.

Doing this exercise daily will improve your general level of relaxation and your connection to your body and give you the ability to sense your feelings more easily. 

4. Cut down or cut out drugs and alcohol – they can and often do make anger and anxiety problems much worse. Any reduction in drugs or alcohol will help your emotional wellbeing.

To cut down on drinking

a) try limiting your drinking to mealtimes only

b) change your routines – try going for a walk or start new activities that don’t involve alcohol

c) buy smaller wine glasses / buy a unit measuring cup

d) count your units and spread the recommended 14 units out each week

e) find a friend/partner who is willing to cut down with you – it’s easier with support!

f) instead of finishing up the wine bottle, leave some for cooking with

g) when out, try having a soft drink every other round

If you think you have a more serious alcohol or drug problem and it’s too difficult to cut down on your own, don’t leave it, get professional help as soon as possible.

Image to show time in nature helps anxiety

5.  Spend time in nature – whether going for a walk in the woods, through fields, a park or at the beach, spending time in nature has a hugely beneficial effect on your body and your mood. Try breathing deeply in the fresh air, feel the air moving in your body, notice how it calms you.

It’s tempting these days to spend any time we have outside on the phone or listening to music. Try taking at least some time without either of these, even if you begin with five or ten minutes. During that time, notice the greenery around you, the different shades and colours, the different shaped leaves and trees. Notice the sounds around you. Look for wildlife. Try feeling the ground beneath your feet as you walk, you can even try imagining that you are breathing through your feet and feel the clean, fresh energy coming from the earth into your body.

Going into nature several times a week, or daily if possible, will make a huge difference to your wellbeing, help to balance your emotions and assist you in thinking more clearly.

6. Be Creative – Creativity is natural for us all. We have different preferences and skill levels but EVERYONE is creative. Painting, writing, dancing, making music, any kind of creative practice helps reduce overwhelming feelings. There are countless ways to be creative, here are just a few ideas:

a) join a class or group (painting, pottery, sculpture, writing, improv, acting, reading etc.)

b) Paint your mood or feelings – get some paints, paper and a brush ready, take a moment to breathe and feel your body, feel any feelings you are having, then pick up the brush and, without thinking, go for the colour that matches how you feel. Paint. Add other colours if you want to or stick with one. Don’t try to make it look good, don’t stand back to look at it while you are painting, just allow onto the page whatever colours and shapes you’re drawn to.

c) Write a story or poem about something important in your life.

d) Try balancing some stones

e) Try learning a new instrument, getting singing lessons or joining a community choir.

f) Put some music on and move your body to the music. Try to follow the movements that feel good in your body rather than traditional dancing. They may be slow smooth movements or fast, energetic motions. Move your focus from your head and thoughts to your body and how it feels.

g) Write freeform – get pen and paper, write without thinking or planning, allow whatever words want to come out, even if they don’t make sense to you. Sometimes they make a story, sometimes they are unrelated words or sentences. Don’t read it back as you’re writing. You can do this as a daily practice for fun or to move difficult emotions when they are present. If you’re doing the latter, it’s best not to read what you have written afterwards – discard it.

Any creative practice you do releases tension and helps reduce intense feelings, overwhelm and/or anxiety.

7. Talk to someone you trust – community and friendship are vital in our lives
for our health and wellbeing. Talking about feelings and experiences in life are part of our nature. Talk to friends and relatives. Find community if you have none. Join a club, a group or a class.

If you’re having real difficulties, consider getting professional counselling. It may be that you need to re-adjust the unhelpful patterns of thoughts and behaviour you are experiencing. Blaming and shaming yourself or others will only make things worse. You can learn to approach your life and your emotions differently.

Call us on 01227 903 503 for professional counselling in the Kent area.

 

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