Four Ways That Giving Up Alcohol Will Make You Healthier (And Happier!) This Year
We all have a little too much to drink sometimes — alcohol is a part of so many parties and events that most of us start early and forget what a life without alcohol would look like. Drinking isn’t inherently negative — grabbing drinks with some friends after a long day at work and taking in a glass of red wine with a fancy meal are therapeutic experiences at times.
However, making the decision to cut it for good will improve your health in a number of ways, from your physical body to your mental clarity and focus. We’ve put together four of the most surprising and valuable ways that stopping the drinking habit this year will make you an all-around healthier person. The change will:
- Improve Your Physical Health
Since heavy drinking has detrimental effects on various body parts, it’s not surprising how many positive changes occur when you put down the bottle and replace it with something healthier. What parts of your body become healthier? It would be easier to answer what parts do not. Liver fat drops with lower alcohol consumption, blood glucose levels decrease, total blood cholesterol declines and more. And since heavy drinking leads to bloating and other digestive issues, your digestive system will also thank you for the change.
It doesn’t stop there. When you quit drinking, you’ll be less likely to develop heart disease and circulatory system complications like high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure and more. Your sexual and reproductive health will improve, your immune system will fight illness off easier and your skeletal and muscle systems will undergo less cramping and weakness.
- Kickstart Your Productivity and Mental Energy
Quitting alcohol isn’t just about the physical body. Think about how much time, money and energy you spend right now on drinks, drinking and subsequent hangovers. Even if you’re not a heavy drinker, chances are good you could always use more of each resource. Use the extra money you would have spent on shots to instead pick up some materials for your favorite hobby or an activity you’ve always wanted to try. Take the extra time you now have to learn a new skill or beat some work deadlines.
Drinking slows down your mental processes in a number of ways. For one, it hinders your ability to sleep well, which makes daytime concentration more difficult. In addition, the alcohol itself gives your brain a hard time creating long-term memories. While the effect is usually temporary, frontal-lobe damage occurs over time with long-term drinking. Short-term memory, judgment and other essential mental skills suffer too, which means quitting has a crucial impact on your mental wellness.
- Balance Your Emotional Well-Being and Independence
It’s no secret that excessive or regular drinking often makes us dependent, especially when it comes to facing our more difficult emotions. Turning to the bottle when unpleasant thoughts or situations come up dulls the need to deal with them. Without alcohol as an option, you’ll find healthier ways to manage stress and resolve unsettled issues in your life instead of avoiding them.
Alcohol withdrawal for people going through addiction often involves anxiety and nervousness along with all the physical symptoms. While withdrawal usually causes emotional disturbances, breaking the dependence on alcohol ensures you no longer have to rely on an outside substance to keep yourself calm and emotionally healthy.
- Improve Your Dental Health
Alcohol is hard on the teeth, too. Wines and juices in mixed drinks often contain bright colors that lead to staining. Sodas, red wines and dark beers tend to taint a bright white smile and sugar content doesn’t help. Enamel doesn’t always hold up well against many alcoholic drinks, either. The citrus found in many beverages erodes enamel and in some severe cases might require amelioration in the form of dental prosthetics.
Anything with a high alcohol content also dries out the mouth, which depletes saliva and hinders the removal of plaque and bacteria. Plus, people who drink moderately to heavily on a regular basis tend to have higher plaque levels on the surface of their teeth and they’re three times as likely to permanently lose teeth.
Quitting the habit will slow these types of damage from occurring. But don’t take our word for it! Stop drinking today and see for yourself just how much your health improves.