Why Coffee is Making You Anxious
What if I told you that two of the most common occurrences in your day, that is, coffee and feelings of anxiety, are interlinked.
Now, what if I told you that your precious morning cup of coffee is heavily responsible for your feelings of restlessness, racing heart, and your never-ending list of worries and stress that are constantly bubbling to the surface.
If you don’t want to jeopardize the innocent image of your morning cup of coffee, then you should probably stop reading.
For those that are willing to risk their view of their beloved morning cup, I suggest you keep reading.
Should You Avoid Coffee?
The short answer is no! Absolutely not. There are many wonderful things that your morning cup of coffee provides, along with an overabundance of health and wellness benefits. In fact, choosing coffee is choosing health!
However, it is important to understand what coffee is doing to your body, and what negative side-effects it can cause, such as anxiety, and more importantly, how to counteract them.
Luckily, there's an abundance of effortless practices that go hand in hand with your morning cup ritual while also combating the anxiety that coffee often causes.
Coffee and Anxiety: What’s really Going On?
When looking at the relationship between coffee and anxiety, it's important to understand the role that caffeine is playing.
Most people have a good understanding of what caffeine is and what it does, but there are a few things that are often overlooked. Especially in regards to stress and anxiety, unmanaged use of caffeine has the potential to be a powerful trigger (1).
Research shows that particularly high concentrated doses of caffeine can cause what’s called caffeine induced anxiety.
Caffeine ingested in large amounts can mimic a multitude of anxiety symptoms such as racing heart, restlessness or nervousness, and gastrointestinal issues.
While it is important to take the health risks of over caffeination into account, this doesn’t mean you should completely kick caffeine from your diet. Like any substance you put into your body, you must be weary of what is a healthy amount, and how much is too much.
Harvard School of Public Health states that a healthy amount of caffeine is 400 milligrams a day. That’s on average about four cups of coffee a day.
So, if you are experiencing caffeine induced anxiety, a great place to start is by managing your caffeine intake.
Along with monitoring your caffeine intake, here are 4 simple ways you can combat your anxiety while enhancing your morning ritual.
4 Simple and Holistic Ways to Decrease Your Anxiety:
1. GET SOME SUN
When’s the last time you’ve gotten some early morning sun? If you’re struggling with anxiety, chances are it’s probably been a while.
Sunlight offers a multitude of benefits such as producing high levels of vitamin D, boosting the immune system, anti-inflammatory properties, and so on (2)
But most importantly, in the case of anxiety, studies show that sunlight increases serotonin levels in the brain. Studies also show that an increase in serotonin proves to be a crucial way for the brain to reduce anxiety. (3)
This is one of the easiest things you can implement into your day-to-day life! All it takes is five minutes of your morning to get outside and enjoy the wonderful gift of sunlight.
When’s the last time you’ve checked in with your body?
It’s very easy to get caught up in the occurrences of day-to-day life, so forgetting to check in with your body can often be put on the backburner.
Take some time right now to ask yourself: How does your body feel? Do you feel tense and rigid? Is your body stiff and tight?
Having a tense body can undoubtedly lead to a tense mind, but interestingly enough, Colorado State University researchers found that there are actually chemical changes going on in your body when you take the time to get loose and stretch. (4)
Research shows that the simple act of stretching reduces the tension in your muscles, and in turn, helps counteract the cycle of tension in your body. It was also found that stretching increases serotonin levels in your body, which as we discussed earlier, is one of the vital chemicals in alleviating anxiety.
It certainly doesn’t take a scientist to know that a tense body leads to a tense mind. Trust me, it's very easy to forget how good it feels to have a loose and relaxed body. All it takes is a short google search and five minutes in the morning to implement some easy but powerful stretches to help reduce your anxiety.
3. 4-7-8 BREATHING
Perhaps one of the most undervalued and simplest ways to destress and decrease anxiety in your day-to-day life: simply breathe.
Breathwork has been used amongst ancient cultures for as long as humans have been alive, only now it seems that modern humans have pushed it to the side and have forgotten about its wonderful plethora of health benefits.
The world of breathwork and breathing exercises is quite endless, that being said, we’re going to focus on the 4-7-8 breathing exercise.
The 4-7-8 breathing exercise is exactly what it sounds like: inhale deeply through your nose for four seconds, steadily hold your breath for seven seconds, and then exhale through your mouth for eight seconds.
Research shows that this simple, yet powerful exercise has a multitude of health benefits, specifically, helping decrease anxiety, manage stress, and even decrease fatigue. (5)
Breathwork is perhaps one of the most powerful tools to benefit physical and mental health, and the best part is, you can do it literally anywhere, anytime. Just. Breathe.
One of the best and easiest supplemental changes you can make to your diet are Adaptogens.
Adaptogens are chemicals often found in certain plant and mushroom species that help play a vital role in regulating stress, anxiety, and fatigue. Adaptogens do this by aiding your body in returning to its naturally balanced state (this is also called homeostasis!) (6) Some wonderful adaptogens that are easily accessible and specifically target stress, anxiety, and inflammation are:
Adaptogens are a vital supplement that aid the body in recovery, regulate anxiety and inflammation, and allow the body to thrive. All it takes is finding your adaptogen of choice in its powdered form at your local grocery or pharmacy and adding it to your morning cup of coffee.
If You Read Anything, Read This ...
While unregulated caffeine consumption can be a powerful trigger for anxiety and a catalyst for chaos, there’s no need to ditch your morning cup of coffee. There is an abundance of simple ways to holistically manage your anxiety while aiding your body to naturally thrive. So, grab your choice of coffee, add some adaptogens, and spend some time in the sun stretching and breathing!