We were excited to hold our first public webinar alongside behavioural psychologist, Pádraig Walsh. Didn’t make it? Don’t worry. Everything we learned is too good not to share.
Do you know what the HSE low-risk weekly guidelines for alcohol are? If not, you’re not alone. CEO of Drinkaware, Sheena Horgan, opened the webinar by explaining that 97%* of Irish adults do not know these guidelines. Drinkaware’s mission is to reduce and prevent alcohol misuse in Ireland. Being aware of these guidelines will allow you to put your drinking into context and you will be better able to join the 37%* of Irish adults who have already made small positive changes to their drinking habits.
Pádraig explained the difference between our ‘slow’ and ‘fast’ brain. Our ‘slow’ brain is the more rational brain, and the ‘fast’ brain is the more impulsive and emotional side. To get ahead of the ‘fast’ brain, you cannot rely on willpower alone. Environmental change can be the most effective tactic to work with the ‘fast’ brain.
Make it Easy
Start small and easy! For example, take alcohol off your shopping list. It is easier to not drink when there isn’t any alcohol at home.
Make it Attractive
We are all human beings who need rewards and incentives. Plan a reward for yourself after not drinking. Maybe to increase motivation on a Saturday, you can finally go see that film you’ve wanted to see, or visit a friend who doesn’t drink or go on nights out.
Make it Social
Two is better than one, three is a magic number! Working with friends or family to change your drinking habits makes it much easier to stay on track and to keep each other accountable. You can also have fun in the process!
Make it Timely
Planning is vital. Humans plan with their ‘slow’ brain, and make rash decisions with their ‘fast’ brain. It will be much easier to make good decisions when they are planned out in advance, rather than relying on the ‘fast’ brain to be sensible. Planning an exact bus route home from a night out with a friend beforehand will make a late-night or early-morning taxi less appealing.
But don’t just take our word for it! Here is some feedback we got from attendees:
- “The webinar was brilliant, speakers were excellent. I have greater awareness of the damage alcohol can do after attending the webinar”
- “Education is power”
- “I just want to say a really big thanks for the webinar. I found it really fascinating… I took so many notes!”
- “Fantastic presentation, the material was very relatable, easy to understand, follow and share. I would love to attend another presentation”
Use our drinks calculator to find out how your drinking habits stack up against the guidelines.
*The Drinkaware Barometer was conducted in May 2021 by Behaviour and Attitudes, more information on key findings can be found here.