We think we love our coffee, and that is why we drink it, but we don’t like to think that we need it.
Coffee is a drug, albeit a socially acceptable one. It kick-starts us in the mornings, keeps us going through our days, lubricates our social interactions, tastes great with breakfast or a biscuit or a piece of cake … nearly everybody drinks it, so how can it be a drug?
But nonetheless a drug it is, because it has an effect on the function of the body (which is why we enjoy it, and why we can come to need it).
Coffee contains caffeine, a naturally occurring compound found in the leaves and fruits of many plants, including coffee beans, tea leaves, kola (cola) nuts and cocoa beans (used to make chocolate).
How does coffee affect you?
Caffeine acts as a brain and central nervous system stimulant. It can make you feel less tired and more alert, with more energy. But over time you develop tolerance to it and need higher doses to achieve the same effect, and this can lead to withdrawal symptoms if you try to reduce it or go without it.
We think that coffee makes us function better, but it only does so if we are already dependent on it. Studies have shown that the average coffee drinker functions at a level below that of a non-coffee-drinker, and that drinking coffee only restores them to normal function for a short while, before they slide back down again.
Coffee is not harmless
We may think that drinking coffee is harmless, but it is not.
It stimulates our heart, which can cause rapid heartbeat and raised blood pressure, and our nervous system, causing anxiety, irritability and tremors, and after that initial energy burst we have an even greater feeling of fatigue, leading to the need to have more and more coffee. It then interferes with our ability to sleep, which compounds our fatigue and the downward spiral continues.
Coffee addiction and withdrawal
Like many other drugs, it is possible to build up a tolerance to caffeine, which means we become used to its effects and need to take larger doses to achieve the same results. Over time, we may become physically and psychologically dependent on caffeine to function effectively. If we try to cut down or stop, we may experience withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, crankiness, headaches, anxiety and tremors.
If you would you like to stop drinking so much coffee
If you are thinking about giving up or cutting down your coffee intake, it is best to reduce it gradually, to allow your body to adjust and to minimise the withdrawal symptoms.
If you would really like to stop drinking coffee, it may be worthwhile to start by asking yourself why you drink it.
Are you exhausted?
Are you trying to do more in a day than you are physically able to do?
Did it start as a pleasant social habit that you now cannot function without?
To deal with any addiction, we need to be honest about what the drug is doing for us, and then find other ways to support ourselves so that we no longer need it. Any energy we try and source from outside of us is always temporary, and the up is always followed by an inevitable down, be it from coffee, sugar, alcohol or other drugs.
Our true source of energy lives inside us and can be connected to at any time of the day by going within. The Gentle Breath Meditation™ is a great tool for connection, and may just be the start of a beautiful relationship with you …