We all love the smell of a fresh pot of coffee or a perfectly pulled shot of espresso. But did we really need to have so much?
Everyone has a certain amount of stress and nervousness in their lives. But, there are definitely habits we have that cause our anxiety to worsen. Is coffee one of them?
The short answer? Yes. But the short answer isn’t enough to truly understand what’s going on in our bodies to cause this reaction.
Today, we will go over what’s happening to your body when you drink coffee that’s causing you to feel anxious. We also want to go over a few ways that you can reduce these effects and your caffeine intake; it's easier than you think.
To begin, we need to discuss and define what we mean by anxiety. It’s an emotional and chemical response in our brains caused by a stressful incident. This is often caused by cortisol, the stress hormone. When issues arise, we obviously start to worry.
Someone suffering from anxiety might worry non-stop. Even for situations that haven’t happened yet, a person suffering from anxiety will stress about the potential things that could go wrong.
Symptoms of anxiety include:
- Increased heart rate
Just like us, children are vulnerable to anxiety disorders. They deal with everyday stressors just like adults. For them, every experience is a new experience. Kiddos have fears and worries about all the new experiences and lessons they have to learn. Even though it’s rare that they drink coffee, if ever, anxiety is a real issue for everyone.
Sometimes feeling anxious is more of a mood that may come and go but is generally liveable. However, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Disorder are conditions that will often need the support of licensed medical professionals, along with other lifestyle changes like decreasing the amount of caffeine they consume.
Most of us drink this delicious beverage, but do we really know what it is? In short, coffee is a bean. It grows on shrubs in various sizes and with varying colors of leaves. There are quite a few types of coffee beans, but only two have anything to do with the coffee we all consume. Those are arabica and robusta.
Arabica originated in Ethiopia, whereas robusta is grown in a variety of places in Africa, Asia, and Brazil. There are also two distinct differences between these two beans: taste and caffeine level.
An arabica bean is the more popular of the two and has a milder, more aromatic flavor profile. Robusta has up to 60% more caffeine compared to arabica and has a bolder, more distinctive flavor.
So, What Is Caffeine Exactly?
Caffeine is a stimulant, a natural stimulant found in certain types of plants. It works by jolting the central nervous system, which is in control of your brain’s reactions. When you consume caffeine, the caffeine blocks the molecule adenosine. This causes your brain to send the message for your body to perk up and stay alert.
For most of us, we consume coffee and are better ready for the day ahead. That cup to start our morning is enough to wake up our brain and get the motivation we need to tackle our to-do lists.
When the Effects of Caffeine and Coffee Are Not So Hot
There are quite a few of us, however, that are dealing with excess amounts of stress, leading to anxiety disorder. The effects of anxiety disorders can and do leave most struggling with anxiety tired and unmotivated.
For these people, that first cup of coffee was just a pregame. Cue the third, fourth, and fifth cups, and your body is on caffeine overload.
What is the appropriate dose of caffeine, then?
The Food and Drug Administration recommends healthy adults not exceed 400 mg of caffeine a day (about three to five cups).
The bigger problem here is that caffeine itself isn’t really the problem. Coffee is a natural diuretic and high in acid. Someone drinking copious amounts of coffee daily will become dehydrated pretty quickly. Plus, the acid will deplete the natural minerals and nutrients that we need in our bodies. Now, we have a recipe for disaster.
Put All of This Together
Start with someone that is low on sleep and unable to pay close attention. Add to this about three to five cups of coffee a day. Then add in the negative side effects on our bodies from the coffee we drank to stay awake and function all day. What do you get? Anxiety.
That’s right, folks. Most of the anxiety caused by coffee comes from the coffee itself and not necessarily because of the caffeine. Now you know, the side effects from coffee are causing you heightened levels of anxiety. They can even contribute to panic attacks.
Not only can caffeine cause anxiety, but stopping cold turkey can make it worse. Caffeine withdrawal is not deadly, but the withdrawal symptoms are still rather unpleasant.
What Does This Feel Like?
The negative side effects from coffee are easy to spot, and even more so when you focus on the ones that result in anxiety. These include headaches, jitters, an upset stomach, and irregular heartbeat. There are others, but these are the main effects that generally lead to worry and anxiety. Look out for these when you’re consuming larger amounts of coffee.
Some of us just itch for coffee now and then. That’s why the CravePatch is the key to saving your cravings from happening. Armed with the strong yet all-natural essential oils of bergamot, lemon, peppermint, and grapefruit, the only thing you’ll be craving is more of these adorable stickers. (Plus, they are safe — and encouraged — for kids to use!)
Why did we focus on these side effects? Because these are some of the main causes of anxiety. Each one of these is a stressor that leads to anxiety. Imagine having ongoing stomach and head pains; you’ll start to stress about the reasons and the pain you’re feeling, leading to worry and anxiety.
What Can You Do?
It might seem hopeless, but we promise you it’s not. There are plenty of ways to still get the caffeine you need without giving yourself unnecessary anxiety. On the flip side, there are also plenty of changes we can make to our daily lives to not need so much caffeine in the first place.
Eat a Meal First
If you really don't want to give up your morning cup of coffee, try eating a meal first. Having a full stomach will slow down the absorption of coffee into your body and will lessen the side effects.
Aside from just safeguarding your stomach from coffee, eating a balanced breakfast is a great way to start your morning. When you begin your day on a full stomach, you are less likely to eat quick junk food or fast food throughout the day.
You won’t be so hungry that you need something as fast as humanly possible. You’ll be able to plan ahead better because hunger will be slow to grow.
Keep Those Kids in Line
We mean, at least try? Helping kids develop better sleeping patterns will help you get better sleep too. We all know the routine. First, it’s a snack. Then water. Of course, then they need to go potty. Ok, but did they remember to give you a hug AND a kiss before bed?
If you’re able to get the kids asleep faster and for appropriate amounts of time for their age, you might actually sleep too. It’s a concept that might be hard to wrap your head around, we know.
Those sleep regressions and early risers are hard on our bodies and minds. Helping them get into better sleep patterns will help us fight off that midday burnout and help us need coffee a whole lot less.
Once those kids finally get better sleeping habits, you gotta get that morning routine in line. Having a set routine that works for you and your children makes the day smoother.
A solid routine for breakfasts or daily activities means that when it’s time to get things done, you’re ready. You have the plans in place to accomplish everything you need to get kids and yourself ready and off for the day.
When that routine is in place and working properly, unexpected occurrences don’t create such a scene. You’re better prepared for little curveballs and surprises in your day because your routine is so put together that adding a step or two in to create space for the new event is easy.
When your routine isn’t in place properly, those surprises can wreak havoc on your day and your mind. You’ll feel out of sorts with everything that you need to get done, and you won’t know where to start.
That’s when you’ll reach for another cup of coffee — you’ll think it’s what you need to start focusing on. Then you’ll get the jitters and start to worry instead of focus, and then hello anxiety. It's a vicious cycle.
A brain-centric activity, like meditation or yoga, is a great way to channel better focus and memory. When we feel like our minds are quick to answer or recall information that we need, we feel less out of whack. It’s those moments of brain fog, irritability, or fatigue that have us reaching for so many extra cups of coffee every day.
Often, we find ourselves reaching for more and more coffee throughout the day because we are having difficulty concentrating. Have a few errands to do? Find yourself getting through maybe one before you lose your focus and move on? Oh, it might be time for another cup of coffee. Wrong!
Coffee isn’t helping you focus better; instead, it’s causing you worry and anxiety. If you need help getting better focus, reach for our FocusPatch. It’ll help get your brain on track naturally and without harmful side effects.
Switch To Tea
Maybe not every cup, but try to replace excess coffee and energy drinks with cups of tea. You can still get a caffeine boost from the tea, but without the harsh acidity and dehydrating qualities of coffee. Over time and with some practice, you’ll be able to find a good blend that is the perfect flavor for you. You won’t miss all that coffee you used to drink.
If you’re able to require less caffeine over time, you’ll also be able to add in a few cups of herbal tea as opposed to caffeinated varieties. There are better physical and mental health benefits to herbal tea as well, like calming and relaxation blends.
Staying hydrated is a sure-fire way to keep from feeling fatigued as your day wears on. In fact, when there are moments that you start to feel sleepy or slow during the day, drink a glass of water before getting a new cup of coffee.
It’s important to understand that replacing excessive coffee drinking will take time but will benefit you greatly in the long run. Drinking less coffee won’t solve all of your anxiety problems but will help decrease them a lot. We are pretty sure we can all agree that decreasing our anxiety symptoms will benefit us all.