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Why experts encourage ‘Dry January’ to help improve mental health

On top of your body feeling better, therapists say consuming less alcohol can also be good for your mind.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For the first month of the new year, many choose to get involved in ‘Dry January’ and avoid drinking all alcohol for the sake of their physical health. But on top of your body feeling better, therapists say less alcohol can also be good for your mind.

“Act from a place that serves you in a positive way,” therapist Veronda Bellamy said.

The common myth is that alcohol can help relieve stress, but science proves it does the opposite.

“You feel as though you’re in a better place, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that alcohol is a depressant,” Bellamy said.

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Instead, you eventually feel sluggish, anxious, sometimes depressed and your sleeping patterns can also be negatively affected by drinking alcohol.

“You need to have a good quality of sleep so you can get up and function, you feel better and you’re able to make better decisions,” Bellamy said.

One of those good decisions could involve finding better ways to deal with stress you might experience instead of turning to alcohol.

Other suggestions include:  

  • Disconnecting from your phone or TV
  • Going for a walk
  • Reading a book
  • Reaching out to talk to an old friend
  • Inviting others to participate in 'Dry January' with you

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