In our busy lives, moments tend to just fly by. We need to make deliberate efforts to anchor ourselves in the present. Rituals can really help with that – and drinking whisky could be one such mindful habit for you.
“Are you drunk?” you might be wondering, especially since I touched before on how sugar and alcohol can be bad for your health AND happiness.
However, pursuing awareness is not about denying yourself pleasure. Enjoying life also means giving yourself permission to indulge – what matters is how you do it and how it makes you feel.
Excessive drinking might feel fun in the moment, but is bad for your mental and physical health the next morning – and in the long term. Enjoying a bit of good whisky in moderation and with all senses – that’s a different story altogether.
Obviously, the same is true for any other alcohol or eating chocolate or ice cream. Consuming them compulsively, out of habit, and without really paying attention, will bring you little joy and diminish the experience. But if you savor them with intention and full awareness, you can really add to your life. One piece of chocolate enjoyed very mindfully will fill bring you much more happiness than eating an entire pack ever could – and obviously comes with much fewer calories and zero reasons to feel guilty.
My whisky ritual
I think we have way more good days than we give ourselves credit for. Just like we miss a lot of beauty in the world around us, we don’t celebrate our own accomplishments enough.
So every now and then, I will honor a particular success at work or just a great day in general with some good whisky. Just like drinking Matcha tea in the morning, the ritual is part of the experience: Picking the whisky – most of them a gift from a loved one. Removing the cork and smelling the whisky. Gently pouring a shot into my Glencairn glasses – designed to elevate the aromas and flavor. Swirling the whisky, watching the amber liquid coat the glass. Taking another nose full of its aroma. Toasting to the day and then taking the first sip. Enjoying the tingling on the tongue and the taste, trying to make out the flavors the distillery so boldly proclaimed on the bottle. Swallowing, and finally feeling another warm tingling develop in my stomach.
One shot will last quite a while when you savor it like this.
If you are looking for a recommendation: Auchentoshan Three Wood is excellent and has a lot of flavors to discover even if you don’t know much about whisky yet. It’s also quite moderately priced for a whisky that was aged for 12+ years. Calling it a beginner’s whisky would do it a disservice, as it is simply one of my all-time favorites. But it certainly is a great place to start – and could also make for a good Christmas present.
It doesn’t have to be whisky
You can enjoy any number of things exactly the same way. For example, stress reduction expert Jon Kabat-Zinn developed a raisin meditation, which can truly help you rediscover how to enjoy food mindfully.
Or, get yourself a special box of chocolates, eat only 1 per day, and really savor the different flavors and texture of every single one of them.
Or, best of all, establish one daily meal or snack to enjoy with no distractions and full awareness. That is a really easy habit to start and will help you re-anchor yourself in the present moment.
I describe it in more detail in 5 everyday habits for awareness and happiness – so go check that story out now if you haven’t already.