I just read this study in HBR on the correlation between working long hours (+48 hours) and excessive drinking (+21 drinks for men, +14 for woman). All told, they found that working long hours increased the odds that one is a heavy drinker by 11%.
This doesn’t seem like that much, all things considered, but it got me thinking about the issue.
I know many people who work +48 hours a week. I know many people who drink +21 drinks a week. I also am close with a couple of alcoholics. While I am not an alcoholic, I sometimes worry about alcohol’s habit forming effects.
On a personal level, both working and drinking manipulate the speed of my mind. When I am “on” all day – meetings, emails, calls, writing, tweeting, etc. – my mind works at very high speeds as it is absorbs and analyzes information. Caffeine also accelerates my mental speed.
There are only a few ways I know of to slow my mind down.
In order of will power needed, I can: meditate, work out, or have a drink or two.
That’s about it.
Given that working speed my minds up, and that drinking slows my mind down, I’m open to the idea that working a lot increases my tendency to drink.
However, when I’m not working I also can get bored and or anxious, which surely can lead to drinking as well.
For me, I think the biggest variable just ends up being will power.
Medication and working out require more of it, but they are surely a healthier method of putting on the mental brakes.
One last thought: I’m also open to the idea that constantly speeding up and slowing down’s one mind isn’t optimal either.
Much to consider.