So I guess I have a bit of a series going on here about booze and its (possibly negative) effects on lifestyle. This week I have heard one recurring statement from numerous people close to me in my life. “I’m just going to relax with [insert name and quantity of choice alcohol] and stay in tonight/watch TV/forget about the day. But how much of that statement is truth? I am going to put forth a question to all of you readers out there tonight. What is the deal with our societal acceptance that alcohol will help us to relax?

Fact: Alcohol has both stimulant and sedative properties. However, it can be argued that the aggression, increased heart rate, motor slowing and cognitive impairment are all tied to the stimulant side of things¹. So if the science shows us that the alcohol is stimulating, why do we still “relax with a bottle of wine?” A million people can’t all be wrong, right?There must be some truth to this and I’m going to argue that the sedative effects of alcohol are a more of a subjective finding, in that – we have “feelings” and “emotions” tied to our use of booze. Before all you haters jump me in the alley for saying you’re crazy for thinking that booze is making you relax, I am certainly not taking away from the legitimacy of subjective perspectives. Hell, as some of you may recall, I’m in the middle of conducting a research project that is actually studying the subjective worth of exercise. (Check that out here!)

I do see the value in how our thoughts shape our actions in the simple fact that what we think can become our reality.. however, we also need to recognize that the science doesn’t lie. That stuff isn’t subjective. It’s a cold hard fact that alcohols stimulant properties will actually increase your heart rate and causes vasoconstriction, the narrowing of blood vessels. So no, you’re not relaxing because you are physically putting your body under stress. Stress is something that will keep you up and not let you sleep. or relax. End of story.

But alas, society will continue to unwind with booze. Maybe the mind is more powerful than we let ourselves believe..? Until the next episode… have a cup of herbal tea to relax. That shit is science. Make it hibiscus and grape so you get the wine feel… you know, cause it’s the grapes that are good for your heart anyways. 😉

 

¹http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21560041

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