Are you suffering from anxiety and wondering if coffee or caffeine is making the problem worse? I was in that position about a year ago, and I felt like coffee would stimulate me too much in the morning, and in turn encourage shallow breathing early on in the day… Something you don’t want if you’re already anxious. So I explored a few different options for coffee alternatives and substitutes, and found that I could keep my morning coffee ritual that I enjoyed so much, but didn’t have to have the caffeine so I could stay more calm.
Here’s what I would recommend, and what worked for me. You can have coffee if you want, but it’s best to get to a place where you don’t need it everyday. My opinion is, the best state to be in, is a take it or leave it state, in regard to caffeine intake. Some days you might feel like having a good ole cup of joe, and other days you might drink your coffee substitutes or even nothing at all. This helps if you start getting anxious from drinking too much caffeine, because you know unconsciously and concisely you can make adjustments right now or tomorrow, it’ll have a positive impact on your situation in a very short time.
The Nitty Gritty On Caffeine And Anxiety (and the truth about it making anxiety worse)
Here’s the deal. In my experience, when I was super anxious and felt like there was something seriously wrong with me, any caffeine or coffee would exacerbate the feeling quite a bit. I don’t believe coffee in particular necessarily makes your anxiety worse, but if you don’t have it under control in the first place, what coffee/caffeine CAN do, is amplify the symptoms you’re interpreting as anxiety. That is clearly not the direction we want to go (at least not me if I’m feeling anxious!!) so it would be a good idea to change a few of those habits and enjoy the benefits.
If you need help with finding a good coffee alternative, you can read more on which one’s I found to work well, and which one is my favorite.
There are also a couple key supplements you might want to try if you’re anxiety symptoms aren’t subsiding with normal lifestyle changes. I recommend Ashwagandha, NAC, and Holy Basil Root… you can see my experiences with them here, and the complete method that helped me overcome my anxiety here.
Of course all the obvious ones like getting enough sleep, making sure your nutritional deficiencies are met, daily exercise, and so on…
Other Helpful Methods To Reduce Anxiety – In Addition To Altering Coffee And Caffeine Consumption
The two that I’d pay careful attention to, even though they sound a little hokey, are the Clever Brain drills, and the brain tuner. A lot of anxiety is racing thoughts, lack of focus, brain fog, feeling light and floaty, or generally just feeling out of it, and you don’t feel like you can do much. The clever brain exercises will help your brain start focusing on something, and give your body a non strenuous activity that has positive benefits for your mood and general state of mind.
Some of the drills come from a book called Whole Brain Power by Michael J Lavery. What I learned from him is that our brains are getting lazier and lazier, and very often through our current lifestyles, anxiety can run rampant and we haven’t trained our brains in quite some time. I started incorporating his techniques, and sprinkling in a few modifications of my own with great results. I think he’s on to something there, even though I may not understand the intricacies of all of the scientific inner workings and/or the data. But I do know that I really enjoy having an active method to sooth my anxiety instead of mostly being advised to sit quietly and do breathing exercises. I find that I’m much MUCH better at the breathing exercises once I’ve done something physical first. If you’re fit, a run might suit you better.
Most people recommend meditation and deep breathing, which I do as well, but sometimes that can be very very hard to do when you’re feeling anxious. At least I had a hard time with it… it was easier for me to do something with my hands to get me out of that state, and you can reach a similar meditative state by doing repetitive tasks with your hands over and over (and can be combined with walking). It can be almost like a mini trance in itself if you do it right.
I do like certain binaural beats and guided meditation tracks however, and find them very beneficial for nighttime relaxation and sleep preparation. I like this one by Monroe Institute, and this one by Jeffrey Thompson for dreamy time.
Have you tried any of these? Let me know what you think in the comments below! I’m curious to know if anyone else has had similar experiences with caffeine/coffee, and any of the supplements or techniques I’ve tried…