Here are 5 science-backed benefits to quitting drinking

Regardless if you’re only a lightweight drinker or if you can chug an alarming number of beers before you feel drunk, there are some crucial benefits to being sober.

Even if you’re not addicted to alcohol, these five reasons should be enough to quit drinking until you black out at the next office party.

You can boost your focus and mental clarity.

Drinking too much alcohol may damage your brain by impairing crucial functions such as cognition, decision making, memory, and problem-solving. Alcohol causes damage at the neurobiological level since it disrupts the “information pathways” or white matter connections between the regions of your brain that control these important functions.

Thankfully, findings from a 2013 study have shown that abstaining for only several weeks can help undo alcohol-related damage to these pathways. If you want to boost your attention span and mental clarity, stop drinking.

You can save more money.

If you’re a heavy drinker, you probably also spend too much. For example, if you have two drinks every day, you can rack up a bill of $100 per week or a whopping $400 monthly.

Quit drinking to save money for other meaningful things like travel or your retirement. If you still need convincing, find out how much money you waste on alcohol by using this alcohol spending calculator from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

You’ll feel healthier.

A lot of studies have already determined that being sober is good for your well-being, especially for your cardiovascular health. Even if data shows that red wine is good for your heart, more studies have shown that alcohol can also weaken the heart. (Related: Drinking alcohol excessively every day can put you at risk of several types of cancer.)

The American Heart Association warns that these cardiovascular risks are linked to drinking:

  • Binge-drinking or heavy drinking can cause cardiac arrhythmia, cardiomyopathy, stroke, or even sudden cardiac death.
  • Drinking too much alcohol may raise the levels of fats called triglycerides in your blood. High triglyceride levels are linked to a greater risk of developing heart disease.
  • Excessive alcohol is associated with higher caloric intake, which can then increase the risk of diabetes and obesity.

When you quit drinking, you boost your energy levels and improve your mood. Since alcohol is a sedative and depressant, it interferes with sleep. You need to get enough sleep “for both good mood and healthy energy levels.” If you want to feel better, stop drinking.

Once you start feeling better, you can also look healthier. Kicking your drinking habit can improve your skin, especially since heavy drinking may cause premature aging and wrinkles. In fact, advanced stages of alcoholism usually cause symptoms such as jaundice (the yellowing of the skin).

If you stay sober for a month, you can feel significant positive changes to your health such as improved blood cholesterol, blood sugar balance, and liver function. This can also strengthen your immune system, so you have a natural resistance to the common cold and other preventable diseases.

Additionally, alcohol is also full of empty calories. If you want to lose that beer belly, stop drinking like there’s no tomorrow.

You’ll form meaningful relationships.

When you drink, you dull your emotions. Many people become alcoholics because they drink “to self-medicate their pain and ease difficult or negative emotions.”

However, a 2012 study determined that in the long run, heavy drinking can affect your innate ability to empathize with others. If you want to have healthy and lasting relationships with your family and friends, sober up.

You’ll have resources to pursue your dreams and hobbies.

If you stop drinking every day, you’ll have more time and energy to enjoy other fulfilling forms of life enrichment. Abstaining from alcohol gives you a chance to experience new hobbies or pursue your dreams, which isn’t possible if you’re hungover all the time.

Like other lifestyle choices, quitting drinking is one that requires discipline and hard work. If you want to live a more fulfilling life, put that drink down and start making healthier decisions.

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