Practising mindfulness can significantly reduce alcohol consumption, a team of scientists have found.
Training for just 11 minutes could help an individual cut back by the equivalent of a wine bottle per week, the Daily Mail reported.
Scientists believe this technique works because mindfulness helps people focus on their feelings and bodily sensations. "Practising mindfulness can make a person more aware of their tendency to respond reflexively to urges," lead author Dr Sunjeev Kamboj, from UCL's clinical psychopharmacology unit told the Daily Mail.
Mindfulness recordings encouraged people to realize these urges as temporary and accept them in order to not act on it. At the end of the training session, participants were told to practise the technique for 15 minutes for a week. Some of the participants were told to just calm themselves through the practise.
The results were surprising. Those encouraged to realize and accept reduced their drinking intake by more than a third. The group told to only practise calming themselves did not reduce drinking by that much.
"By being more aware of their cravings, we think the study participants were able to bring intention back into the equation, instead of automatically reaching for the drink when they feel a craving," explained Dr Kamboj. Researchers hope their findings can help people reduce their alcohol intake before it becomes a severe issue.
The study was originally published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.