There’s a little beverage I’d like to tell you about. It’s kind of magical.
You may be able to drink just a little of it and feel closer to your friends, start paying attention to the moment, feel your mood lift, maybe even put your worries in context so you become more carefree.
On the other hand, this spooky libation might actually increase stress in your life… so you might drink more of it in an effort to calm down. And that’s OK… except that it may become a vicious circle and you’ll have to drink more and more of it to reap its stress-reducing effects, until eventually it ruins your body, your mind and your whole life.
The rumor: Alcohol eases stress
Sure, alcohol has a downside, but if there’s one thing to say for drinking, it’s that it’s not stressful. It’s fun, and really — who hasn’t knocked back a few in an effort to blow off some steam? So: Does drinking (not necessarily a lot, but some) really reduce stress levels like it seems to, or what?
The verdict: Yes, alcohol can relieve stress when consumed in limited amounts, for certain people in specific situations. In virtually all other cases, it makes stress worse.