A while ago I wrote an article talking about how I might be struggling with some anxiety. As I have continued to research this, I keep running across one piece of advice: the consumption of coffee can lead to anxiety.
I drink a lot of coffee. Upwards of 3 to 6 cups a day! I also talk about my passion for coffee in another post as well if you want to check that out.
With these two things in mind, I decided to take on the challenge of no coffee for a whole week.
I decided to keep my morning ritual of drinking a hot beverage while I have some quiet time. My beverage of choice here was MUD/WTR, which has a slight chai tea flavor to it. It was really nice!
In the afternoons I would typically enjoy a nice cup of hot green tea while I wrote an article or paid some bills.
This challenge was amazing! I don’t think I will ever go back to coffee again!
Hahaha! That was such a lie!
Coffee is amazing and will continue to be a part of my life until it is illegal. Here is the truth of what happened during this challenge:
The first day went fine! I chose to start the challenge the week of Labor Day. This helped me ease into it with a day of no work. I figured being able to sleep in and relax all day would be a great starting point! Turns out I was right! I didn’t really have any headaches or cravings. All that to say, the first day was not too interesting.
The second day was awful! I was not quite sure if it was the lack of coffee, coming off of vacation (those are always rough), or maybe a combination of both. I felt sluggish all day, couldn’t focus on my work, had a stomach ache, and also had a headache!
As the day progressed, I began asking myself why I was doing this challenge at all. It was supposed to help me feel better and lower my anxiety! My anxiety was through the roof and I felt awful!
I got control of myself and figured this was a common occurrence. I continued to trudge on.
The third day was equally as awful as the second day! I was not having a good time whatsoever. This is when “cheating” began.
My first cheat was when I decided to change the challenge. Instead of no coffee all week, I decided to test reduced caffeine intake. I figured the real stimuli that I am dependent on is caffeine, but maybe just the taste of coffee would be enough to help get through the cravings.
So on the third day of the challenge, I broke down and got some decaf coffee.
IT. WAS. AMAZING.
Just the smell of coffee was enough to perk me up! The taste was pure bliss. Honestly, this challenge made me realize how much joy I get from coffee. As a Christian, I am not proud of this per se; that joy is misplaced and should be found in God alone. But for this challenge, the decaf was enough to get me onto the next day.
The fourth day was not good. I broke down and got real coffee. I have a free coffee station at work, which is incredible.
When I got in this morning I walked over there with some co-workers. The combination of social judgement and caffeine cravings pushed me over the edge. I got real coffee. My headaches were immediately gone! I felt great! Though I had failed the challenge, I was happy.
The last day of my challenge I broke even further and made freshly roasted, freshly ground, pour-over fancy coffee. The coffee at work is just off-brand drip coffee. This was the real deal. Caballo Rojo roasted here in Durham, brewed with my Chemex!
WOW. The flavors I enjoyed on day 5 were insane! I decided this challenge was stupid and never to leave coffee again.
I have a few final thoughts.
- I clearly have a dependence on caffeine. Caffeine is supposed to energize you. If I can drink coffee before bed and sleep all night, then caffeine is not affecting me the way it should. Caffeine is how my body feels normal, not extra energized. This is a problem.
- My anxiety before, during, and after the challenge was actually pretty consistent. Perhaps I did not do the challenge long enough to feel the results.
- My physical body felt horrible during the challenge, which is another proof of my caffeine dependency.
Will I do this again? I think I will. Something else I have learned is that there is no good time to quit something you are dependent on.
When life is stressful the last thing you want to do is add more stress. However, when life is blissful (like a vacation), you want to enjoy that bliss, not challenge your body.
I don’t like that my body is this dependent on caffeine. I will be cutting back on how much I consume. I never want to cut coffee out of my diet, though. It has good health benefits, tastes amazing, and has such a rich history I could not leave it. My enjoyment of coffee goes further than the drink itself. But drinking one cup a day rather than six will be just as enjoyable.
Previously published on medium
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