If you have some concerns about your relationship with alcohol, but you want to keep alcohol in your life, one important piece of your efforts will be looking at concrete numbers. Although alcohol carries some risk at any level of consumption, staying within moderate drinking parameters can greatly reduce your risk and improve your quality of life.
One helpful starting point is to look at the guidelines health researchers have proposed for defining moderate alcohol use. Statistics suggest that the risk of developing alcohol dependence increases when a person's patterns of alcohol consumption exceed the following daily and/or weekly quantities.
Moderate Drinking Guidelines
up to 1-2 drinks* on any given day
up to 7 drinks* in a week
*1 drink is defined as 12 oz regular beer; 5 oz wine, and 1.5 oz liquor.
up to 2-3 drinks* on any given day
up to 14 drinks* in a week
*1 drink is defined as 12 oz regular beer; 5 oz wine, and 1.5 oz liquor.
Those who exceed both the daily and weekly limits are at highest risk for developing alcohol dependence. So if you're comparing your drinking habits to those around you to see how you stack up, these moderation guidelines might be a more helpful framework. They take some of the guesswork and emotional reasoning out of the conversation, so you can consider a research-informed perspective.
A great first step is to download an app such as Saying When to track your alcohol intake for a couple of weeks, and see how your numbers compare to the moderate drinking guidelines. From there, you can begin the work of defining your specific goals, so you know what you're working towards and you have a picture of what lower-risk drinking could look like for you.
Of course numbers aren't everything, and the real work for most people is taking personal factors into account. This is where individual psychotherapy or a supportive group can be helpful. Some can successfully make changes on their own - but everyone can benefit from exploring their alcohol use on a deeper level, which often leads to important insights and opportunities for personal growth. If your drinking is much higher than the moderate drinking guidelines, you'll probably need support as you embark on making changes which can be quite challenging for heavier drinkers.
Note: If you experience serious alcohol withdrawal symptoms, seek medical guidance before reducing or stopping alcohol, as it might be dangerous or even life-threatening to do so on your own.
References for definitions of moderate drinking limits
U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on moderate drinking
UK Department of Health alcohol guidelines
Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse's low-risk drinking guidelines
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended drinking limits
I know it can be challenging to develop new habits and health practices, but if you are curious about how meditation can benefit you, I'm here to encourage you to go ahead and check it out! It's more accessible than ever, and doesn't require a huge time commitment.
Let's talk about what mindfulness and meditation have to do with your mental health.
A lot! Our brains are neurologically prone to engaging in processes that can cause or exacerbate suffering, and the regular practice of mindfulness and meditation can mediate these effects so that we grow wiser and more peaceful over time.
Meditation can help you...
Many of us struggle with the pressures and the grind of trying to get through our tyrannical "to do list". We try different planners/organizers, apps, and others tools to help us organize our lives. We look for those extra free moments to get something done, or we burn the midnight oil in desperation to catch up.
But there are times when I encourage my clients to work on doing less, not more. For example, when a person is so chronically stressed out and overwhelmed by her to-do list that she loses the ability to relax and find joy and meaning in her life, or she neglects her most important relationships, it's time for her to do less. Similarly, when someone is struggling under the burden of depression (and it's best pal anxiety), the to-do list often seems downright impossible. Enter the "to-don't list."
The to-don't list is a critical coping strategy for the depressed or otherwise overwhelmed person. She builds this
The standard medical approach to IBS treatment is unsatisfactory for many
For many who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), traditional Western medical treatments can be disappointing and may only provide limited relief. These folks may continue to struggle with bloating, abdominal pain, gas, difficult or abnormal bowel movements, and emotional issues.
Hypnosis for Irritable Bowel Syndrome may improve your condition
If you want to consider a different approach to treating your illness, you owe it to yourself to consider hypnosis. This safe and effective approach uses the power of suggestion, and the principles of medical hypnosis, to help IBS patients take charge of their bodies and reduce - or even reverse - the symptoms of IBS.
In my last post, I wrote about signs that you are feeling suffocated or overwhelmed by your mom. Now let's talk about how to start taking some space.
Re-evaluate the relationship
Every person's history, culture, present circumstances, and needs are unique, so if you desire a change in your relationship with your mom, the first place to start is reflect upon and journal about what YOU need.
Begin to envision what a better relationship with your mother would look like, even if you're not yet sure how to achieve it. Here are some things you can do:
In my last post, I talked about the problem some folks experience of feeling burdened or overwhelmed by their mother's demands. For some, even admitting they feel this way can bring up confusion and guilt. Often, this is because the person was "trained" in a sense to be oriented to meeting their's mother's needs - sometimes from a very young age.
Here are some signs that your mother is asking too much of you:
If you are contemplating this question, there’s a good chance your mom does lean on you too heavily!
Idealistic notions of Mothers abound in our culture. It’s wonderful when a mother and
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These days, our smartphones give us access to many powerful tools for supporting our efforts to maintain positive mental health, and to achieve our goals.
Some smartphone apps are excellent adjuncts to psychotherapy and psychiatry as well. For example, a central component of cognitive behavioral therapy is “self-monitoring” – i.e., tracking behaviors, moods, and thoughts over time. What better way to do that than with a tiny computer you already keep in your pocket all day, every day?!
Below are a few of my favorite psychology and mental health related apps, podcasts, and other online resources. I’m just scratching the surface here - explore what’s out there to meet YOUR needs!
Guidelines for Fair Fighting
Conflict is inevitable, but ineffective and destructive fighting can destroy relationships.
Try this exercise: Review these guidelines with your partner (in a calm moment) and identify each person’s greatest strengths and weaknesses in the realm of managing conflict...
Maysie Tift is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Master Hypnotist with offices in San Rafael, CA and San Francisco, CA.