A small experiment shows that mindfulness training exercises may help people who drink large amounts of alcohol. Mindfulness is a method of quietly, but fully, experiencing what is happening in the present, both in and around you. The mindfulness study involved 68 heavy drinkers in the United Kingdom. The subjects were not alcoholics, but they did have more alcohol to drink than most people. Some of the subjects received training in relaxation methods. The other subjects took part in an 11-minute training program in mindfulness exercises. The program was designed to help them recognize their desire for a drink without acting on it. Over the next week, the group that received mindfulness training drank much less than they had during the week before the study started. But the subjects in the relaxation group did not drink much less. Damla Irez is with University College London. She says the study did not involve ‘treating’ people who needed help cutting down their alcohol use.“But it did suggest that people who drink too much, but don’t have an alcohol use disorder, might be able to reduce their consumption, at least in the short term, by practicing mindfulness,” Irez said by email. The Reuters news agency reported her comments. A report on the study was published in The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. During the mindfulness training, people were told to pay attention to their desire to drink instead of ignoring this feeling. They were told that, by noticing bodily sensations, they could accept them as temporary events without needing to act on them.