Health in a Bottle?
I may “ruffle a few feathers” with today’s Unexpected Health insight. I am prepared to come against some resistance with my correlation between health and something that has caused much grief and sadness in lives…but bear with me, for my insight is not so cut-and-dry as it normally is. Because today, as I stopped and thought for a moment about conversations I have had both recently and in the past, I discovered the Unexpected Health…in drinking.
Before you click away from this webpage, swearing that I have lost my mind (and my vision of health), let me explain. Social drinking can have some health benefits: a glass of red wine is actually heart healthy (nitrate-free please!); going out for a drink with friends promotes community gathering; and a cold beer and hot dog (I prefer bratwurst) at a baseball game once in a while isn’t going to hurt anyone. But the Unexpected Health benefits of drinking is that alcohol reveals truth…and knowing the truth is healthy.
Let me delve in a little further: people drink for a variety of reasons, some healthier than others. Because alcohol is a depressant, it can heighten the emotional state of someone who is already feeling a little down. It can make someone who is already a little annoyed become really angry. Alcohol amplifies everything. What I noticed more recently is how alcohol is a ‘permission slip’ of sorts. When we drink, it is almost as if we are ‘allowed’ to feel the depth of whatever we are feeling…and oftentimes, we speak it too! And more often than not, when we speak our unfiltered feelings after a glass of wine (or two), we tend to get a straightforward, yet surprisingly comforting (and healthy) response.
To be honest, the Unexpected Health I am referring to more so than alcohol is that when we ‘spill our guts’–our innermost feelings–to those we love, we are oftentimes not disappointed. So why do we feel we need liquid courage to do so? Why does it take a few cocktails to reveal the depth of our emotions, our sadness, our fear, our frustrations? Are we worried about the response we think we’ll get? Are we scared to speak the truth?
I propose we take our ‘liquid courage’ and turn it into ‘solid courage.’ Let’s take all of the times we have laid our heart on the line and been vulnerable and transpire that to relating to each other…minus the booze. Alcohol abuse is a big problem in our country…in our world. We rely on it too heavily as our ‘excuse’ to act out, reach out; to get angry, to get sad. So the next time you feel a little extra sensitive or a little more emotional, try telling a friend, a loved one, the ‘liquid courage’ version…minus the liquid. We cannot progress as a human race if we rely on external substances to move our mouths. We will find much more sustainable health–much greater communal depth–when we, as John Mayer says, “Say what we need to say.” -Until tomorrow, Jaime
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