Here are a few ways you can blow off steam, improve your mood, and relax naturally without the toxic empty calories of alcohol:
- Originally from the South Pacific, KAVA (or Kava-Kava) root can be purchased in a variety of forms including teas, supplements, powders, and extracts. It’s a mild sedative with a traditional history of social, ceremonial, and medicinal uses. Like alcohol, Kava eases anxiety, elevates mood, releases inhibitions, and promotes relaxation, but UNLIKE alcohol, it saves you the empty calories. Kava exerts its calming effects without diminishing mental alertness or transforming you into... THAT girl (you know, the one who texts her ex and loses her purse). If alcohol is your go-to social lubricant or post-work tension-easer, Kava may be an alternative way to chill out and/or reduce social anxiety. It is non-addictive and won’t leave you with that nasty hangover (You should avoid alcohol when taking kava, and not just because of the empty calories. They may have a negative interaction, leading to drowsiness, dizziness, and possible liver damage. Consult your health practitioner before using kava if you are taking psychoactive medications).
- Get on the RAW CACAO craze! In Europe, some club-goers are replacing booze (and other toxic mood-altering substances) with raw cacao. In high doses, raw cacao can induce mild feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and reduced social inhibitions. Whereas sedative alcohol can turn you into a drowsy, bumbling idiot, energizing cacao actually has been shown to improve cognitive function and memory (PLUS there is growing evidence of a correlation between regular cacao consumption and increased weight loss!)
- Rub ESSENTIAL OILS on the bottoms of your feet or your temples, inhale, or use a diffuser. Lavender, bergamot, chamomile, and ylang-ylang are just a few of the powerful oils that absorb rapidly into the bloodstream, quickly affect brain chemistry, and help to dissipate stressful and negative emotions. Essential oils smell awesome, especially when blended, so they can also double as your new favorite chemical-free perfume (Because they are extremely concentrated, just one drop goes a long way. You may want to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil like jojoba or almond to avoid skin irritation).
- Skip the bar and get high on endorphins instead: GO EXERCISE! Running, swimming, or spinning are great ways to get your blood flowing, reduce nervous tension, and boost your mood. In general, keeping a regular exercise routine is one of the most powerful ways to promote a positive mental state and manage the stressful emotions that trigger cocktail cravings in the first place.