Although some countries are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, everything outside your home right now might seem like a threat. Governments all over the planet have asked us to stay inside our homes while trying to combat the virus. It is, without a doubt, a very stressful time for anyone, no matter who or where you are. Relaxing with a glass of wine might seem to be a good idea right now.
The Dangers Of Excess
Calming down by pouring out a glass of wine might seem tempting – drinking to relax, as it were. Alcohol does induce a feeling of being relaxed when taken in moderate quantities. Unfortunately, this feeling tends to only last for a short time, necessitating another drink, and yet another. Regular overconsumption of alcohol will increase the body’s tolerance to alcohol, requiring larger quantities to achieve a relaxed feeling.
Furthermore, alcohol consumption can even make anxiety worse. According to Karin Draper, LMFT, “Anxiety can often lead to substance abuse as a means to cope, particularly for those experience social anxiety or those who experience a high level of stress and struggle to find other means of relaxation. Substance use can actually exacerbate the effects of anxiety, particularly when one is withdrawing from a substance.”
Alcohol consumption right before bed can also interfere with sleeping. Although a cup of wine before bed might sound appealing, given that wine induces a feeling of sleepiness, it actually can lead to restless sleep. Disrupted sleep can cause a slew of health problems, in addition to making anxiety worse upon waking.
The Benefits Of Moderation
Hope, of course, is not lost. While alcohol has its detrimental effects, it also has a plethora of good ones. Furthermore, it’s also critical to remember that the majority of problems that come from drinking alcohol come from excessive consumption of alcohol.
For instance, drinking alcohol is an activity like any other – people can drink socially or individually. Like any enjoyable activity, it is a source of happiness, and having fun, whether alone or with friends, is just as much a way to combat anxiety as meditation.
Plus, when it comes to activities that we can do at home to reduce the stress we experience, creative pursuits are always helpful. Once again, alcohol comes to the fore, not as an activity but as an aid. Because of the way alcohol affects our brains, it can stimulate creative pursuits. Out-of-the-box thinking, for instance, is one field where alcohol can make us better.
Alcohol inhibits our capacity to shut out “unwanted” information, which reduces our capacity to focus. A reduced ability to focus is not suitable for performing technical tasks – accounting, for example – but great when the kind of thinking required needs a lot of different ideas, such as when writing a story, or painting. Incidentally, it can also help with puzzle solving by helping with considering multiple solutions.
While alcohol dependency might make anxiety worse, studies show that it can, in moderate quantities, help with long-term mental health issues, such as preventing depression. The recommendation is not to exceed seven glasses a week, so a glass of wine every day may not be a bad idea; instead, it seems to be a good one.
An even more recent study corroborates the finding that wine assists in fighting depression. The study reveals the chemical responsible – resveratrol. Supposedly, the chemical resveratrol combats a different chemical called corticosterone, which, as a stress hormone, plays a factor in causing anxiety and depression.
A Glass A Day
In summary, as wine consumption has always been, it is best to take wine in moderation. A glass of wine can help with anxiety – it’s too much wine that causes trouble. And if you feel like trying out artistic pursuits, a little bit of wine can help get you started. Too much wine is harmful, but in moderate quantities, it has always been a good thing. Wine’s other health benefits are documented and well known.
The pandemic and fear caused by COVID-19 might seem challenging to fight, and its very existence can cause mental health problems for everyone affected by it – which is, in fact, everyone on the planet. While wine might not be the cure to COVID-19, it can help us cope with the pandemic’s side effects. Pour out a glass today!