Coffee and anxiety. Is it time for me to kick the caffeine habit?
Without a doubt, this journey to stop drinking was triggered by increased self awareness.
Somewhere amongst the self help, personal development, yoga, fitness and wellbeing stuff I fill my head with – I was becoming more aware of myself.
My journey to not drinking has been well documented on this blog. I sometimes touch on my anxiety, I began to realise I was drinking to manage my anxiety – and I get anxious a lot. Just one of the reasons an alcohol free lifestyle was something I decided to embrace.
But going booze free hasn’t been a quick fix for life (surprise surprise).
My life is loads better, and the benefits are there.
But I also removed my coping mechanism for my anxiety. I’ve actually had to deal with it since December last year, and really notice the anxious feelings I had – rather than self medicate them with a glass of wine.
I have new ways to cope, and I’m leaning on them every day.
8 months in I feel like I’m ready to face my coffee and anxiety problem.
I feel my anxiety throughout my body and in recent weeks it’s felt deeper, more pronounced, harder to shake off.
I’ve tried giving up caffeine before in a bit to tackle my coffee and anxiety problem, only to face dive in to a black americano a few days later.
I can feel a connection in my body between coffee and anxiety – when I drink too much coffee my anxiety is heightened. My subconscious knows but my brain doesn’t want to quit (yep I get the parallel with booze).
I’m hooked. I like the taste. And the ritual.
That first cup of coffee in the morning … and the way it looks … How many hashtags of #coffee are there on Instagram? Can you guess?
There’s over 72 million, 72,698,811 when I checked on the 9th August (bet it’s gone up now!) – coffee is cool and cups on tables are aesthetically pleasing.
But my anxiety is finally overriding all of that. I can physically feel the connection. Recently my anxiety has felt almost unmanageable and I feel ready to try quitting again, a caffeine detox if you will.
I’ve done a bit of research this time and know friends that have given up coffee in search of a more chilled life.
I’m well aware of the benefits of caffeine, and how good it makes me feel and how awake. I need convincing of the benefits of quitting, and the combination of coffee and anxiety, so I’ve done a little research.
I’m not a scientist, I’m an English lit grad with a marketing diploma who teaches yoga. So this research is here to give me the kick up the bum to quit, not to judge anyone else’s choices (and it is most definitely not medical advice):
Caffeine increases stress hormones.
Most people with anxiety would agree they have too much stress in their lives — and caffeine adds to the burden.
Caffeine affects the body much like stress, increasing heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of stress hormones.
I am definitely stressed enough already, I think it’s time for me to put down the coffee.
Caffeine affects neurotransmitter balance.
Caffeine inhibits our calming neurotransmitter GABA. (6) It puts the brakes on brain activity when needed and has been characterised as “nature’s Valium.” GABA’s essential for feeling happy and relaxed – and a low GABA level is associated with anxiety and panic attacks.
Most people have heard of serotonin, it is the neurotransmitter tied closely to happiness. The relationship between caffeine and serotonin is complex but there’s evidence that when consumed regularly, caffeine eventually leads to serotonin depletion. (7, 8)
I could do with all the happy I can get – I think it’s time for me to put down the coffee.
As coffee is my main source of caffeine it’s the thing I feel most compelled to quit. I’ve also stopped drinking diet coke. One decaf coffee a day and lots of herbal tea and water is what I’m prescribing myself.
I’m 7 days in today, and feeling so much better, placebo or effect? I’m not sure but I’m sticking with it either way. An update on my no coffee and anxiety journey to come soon!
I’d love to hear your experiences with coffee, does it make you feel anxious or do you love it? Any tips for sticking to giving up? Send me an email, comment below or chat to me on instagram.
All my love, L xx
*Research Source: https://bebrainfit.com/caffeine-anxiety
This blog post is lovingly linked to: Brilliant Blog Posts