Train your brain: water makes you extra happy

January 10, 2020 / Topical / Background

Alcohol makes you happy, looser and more exuberant. In addition, it is tasty and relaxing. These are all examples of reasons why we drink alcohol. And there is another reason why we regularly fill the glasses with an alcoholic drink: the conditioning of our brain. Our brain sees alcohol as a reward. But there is hope: a brain can be trained very well. Even in such a way that a glass of water will make it extra cheerful.

How about that, you are probably wondering. And how quickly can I teach my brain that, you might want to know. To do this, we first have to tell you what effect alcohol has on the brain. When you drink alcohol, dopamine is released in the middle and front of your brain, which leads to a happy feeling and fewer inhibitions (and with large doses drowsiness or even coma). Our brain has now been trained in such a way that it links that cheerfulness to the experience and the context. So associate words like 'pub', 'party' or 'steps' with concepts such as: 'drink', 'wines' and 'nice beer'.

Water because it's party time

But there is hope. What you can do is replace those associations of "drinks," "wines," and "good beer" with other healthy choices, such as: "elderberry syrup with spa red," "ginger ale with mint and raspberries," and even with: " water'! As you take the replacement thirst quencher more and more often, your brain will eventually connect this replacement to festivities and going out (context and experience).

And that's according to recent research. Psychiatrist and health scientist at Radboudumc, Arnt Schellekens, shares the following findings: “Test subjects in a neutral environment (ie not a café) were alternately administered water and beer: in both cases the brain reacted to this as a 'reward'. That seems like good news for the social drinker who actually wants to leave his drink behind: your brain also likes water” (source:

Positive results

At the end of 2016, psychiatrist Arnt Schellekens and liver doctor Eric Tjwa (also Radboudumc) conducted research into the effects of a month without alcohol in moderate drinkers (an average of 1.5 glasses per day) in Nijmegen. And they also noted positive results. Awareness about alcohol intake increased, people felt fitter and more alert. Your organs are also happy with the break period. Think of your liver for example. Because the organ is less stimulated, it can regrow to a certain extent (70 percent) (source:

Even more benefits

Alcohol is a fattener. During an alcohol break, your subcutaneous belly fat can decrease, as can the percentage of bad cholesterol. Your heart also thrives on an alcohol break. Just like your wallet. Not drinking for 30 days saves money. Money that you can use to spend on other fun things. Tip: set a goal in advance and start the anticipation!

Which alternative thirst quencher will you fool your brain with?

Let us know in a comment!


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