Got 15 Minutes to Spare? Why Not Spend it Reducing Impulsive Drinking?

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Do you want to cut down on drinking? Would you like to be able to say “no” more often? Guess what? There’s an app for that.

Well, there’s an online tool for that. Paul Dolan, professor of behavioral science at the London School of Economics and Social Policy, developed an “Attention Training Program” that helps retrain your brain to “just say no.” It’s available on any device and takes just four 15-minute sessions to alter thinking and behavior.

It seems too good to be true, but this tool is showing positive results. Alcoholics who have completed the sessions have reduced cravings and a 13 percent lower relapse rate.

How Does This Program Work?

The idea behind the program is that your choices are strongly influenced by where you focus your attention. If your attention is drawn toward alcohol, it will be harder to reduce your consumption of it. You’re fighting a subconscious predisposition and this is called a ‘cognitive bias.’

The tool is simply an exercise that retrains your brain. Because it changes the way you think (your bias), this process is known as ‘cognitive bias modification’ (CBM). The attention-training tool changes your bias and makes it easier to make healthier choices.

What Do I Have to Do?

There’s no psychiatrist. There’s no couch (unless that’s where you sit while you use the tool.) You don’t pour out your deep, dark secrets or work through any steps. Here’s how it works:

First, the site tests to see if you have a bias towards alcohol. If you do, you can spend 15 minutes each day for four days using the training tool to change this bias. You’ll see images and practice “pushing away” the alcoholic drinks, while “pulling toward” the non-alcoholic variety on your screen. It sounds like a game, but repeating these actions will help you to choose non-alcoholic drinks in the future.

Additional versions have been developed for treatment of anxiety, depression and other issues. The goal is to redirect negative thought patterns so you can make healthier choices overall.

Wondering if it will work for you? Well, why not give it a try?

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