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Just a Few Minutes of Mindfulness Could Help Curb Your Drinking

Alcohol abuse is often preceded by heavy drinking, and researchers hope mindfulness could help teach drinkers restraint before it's too late.

Just minutes of mindfulness training could help heavy drinkers learn to exercise more restraint, a new study published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology finds. 

Researchers from University College London gave 68 heavy drinkers an 11-minute training session in either relaxation techniques or mindfulness, the latter of which teaches practitioners to notice emotions and bodily sensations in the moment.

While the participants who were taught to better relax experienced no difference in drinking behavior, those who were taught the mindfulness techniques wound up cutting their alcohol intake in the week following the training by an amount equivalent to three pints of beer.

It appears mindfulness helped drinkers tolerate their cravings without acting on them. The authors hope that mindfulness techniques could help prevent heavy drinkers from abusing alcohol in the future.