EP 182: Reader Question – Since I stopped drinking I noticed my friends drinking less. Is this normal?

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Is it pure coincidence that my friends have been drinking less ever since I stopped drinking? Annie addresses this interesting social phenomenon and gives us startling statistics surrounding social habits that may help explain this “coincidence”. Find out what social contagion means and what role it can play in changing drinking habits and patterns.

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Scientific Phenomenon

There’s been studies to show that people in their twenties are drinking less than people in their twenties used to drink. They just don’t want to be drunk. Some youth even say, like young people even say that alcohol, it’s just kind of dumb. Like it’s their parents drug. They don’t see the point of just doing something that makes them feel crappy the next day.

Social Contagion

There is definitely a consciousness shift that’s happening when it comes to alcohol, which is really exciting. You are kind of at the edge of that consciousness shift where you have decided to become a non drinker. Asa a result, you just don’t want to put that in your body anymore. You want everything else that life has to offer, you’re really in the minority.

The great thing about the minority is it’s always been the minority that ends up changing the majority.

Moreover, what Joe is witnessing is called social contagion. It’s really true and it goes both ways. Interestingly enough, smoking is contagious. Also, obesity is contagious and drinking is contagious. For instance, when it comes to obesity a person’s own risk of becoming obese actually increases by 71% when a close friend gains a lot of weight. If it’s a sister that gains a lot of weight, it’s 67%, and if you have a brother, it’s 45%.

Learn More

There’s more information on things like social contagion and other scientific phenomenon related to drinking in This Naked Mind. Start reading for free today!

Mirror Neurons

It’s the people closest to us and most influential in our life that influence our decisions. This happens with drinking all the time, but once you’re aware that it’s happening, it’s much less able to happen. The best news is that it happens the other way with social contagion. Because humans, we’re hardwired to connect with other people. That’s how our brains are built. We actually have this specialized brain cells that are called mirror neurons.

Mirror neurons sole purpose is to keep track of what other people are doing and do the same sort of things ourselves.

A lot of this happens completely below your conscious awareness where you just notice what other people are doing, what decisions they’re making, and you mirror those things because of your desire to be part of something else. Consequently, much of this has to do with how much you care and respect someone else.

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Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
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