A blog post about the effects of coffee on anxiety.

Who doesn’t love a strong cup of coffee? If you are anything like me… You have been drinking coffee for years. Coffee helped me through all-nighters and classes that never seemed to end. In fact, coffee was included in the “thank you” caption of your graduation post right after thanking the family. Yes. It is that serious.

Coffee was life. Life was coffee. A day without coffee was simply canceled. Even if there wasn’t coffee available at home, uni or work there was always a starbucks nearby to get my fix. And I would get my fix. (Wow haha just realized how much I sound like an addict who would do anything for a good cup.)

Fast forward a few months later, to me having my morning cup when I come across a Buzzfeed video that talks about the relationship between anxiety and coffee. Click here to watch that video. Within the video a psychology professor is asked the question: Can coffee cause anxiety? She answers; Yes, coffee not only stimulates existing anxiety and anxiety attacks but also independently can causes anxiety. And suddenly it all made sense.

Over the last few months I noticed that I would constantly feel anxious. I would wake up happy and in a good mood but as soon as a had my morning cup I would just feel anxious and heaviness in my chest. Most of the time there was no change in my surroundings. For example, I would be watching a tv show and be in a great mood. After having my coffee still watching the same tv show, I would feel super anxious and heaviness on my chest.  Some of the days I would also be irritable for no good reason. Over the years I have heard people mention anxiety and coffee here and there. But it never occurred to me to research it or to understand it. I didn’t want my love for coffee to be tainted in anyway. (Denial is the new ignorance haha)

After watching that Buzzfeed video it started to make sense. However, I was still sceptic.. got to see it to believe it! The thought process was; I have been drinking coffee for years and I was fine. This has to be complete bullsh*t. Boy oh boy, was I in denial. As an experiment I decided to quit coffee and other caffeine drinks, cold turkey. I stopped drinking soft drinks years ago so that wasn’t hard at all.

The first day without any coffee wasn’t too bad. I decided to replace the coffee with water and made sure to be hydrated throughout the day. The second day however was hell. Absolute hell. I had such a bad headache, couldn’t think straight, my eyes were very sensitive to light. I curled up on the couch with all the curtains closed, popped a Panadol and watch tv shows all day. I also noticed even though I had a good 7/8 hours of sleep throughout the night, I was still very tired and napped frequently. This was odd because I am not a nap person. Well I was that week.

The third and fourth days were similar to the second day and I almost cracked. It was just torture. Why the hell did I think this was a good idea? Maybe, I shouldn’t have done it cold turkey but gradually over a span of few weeks. Maybe, I was just going to be a coffee addict for the rest of my life. I realized that I really loved coffee, but I didn’t realize the extent of my coffee addiction. I knew it was bad but didn’t understand how addicted I was to coffee. In the past I’d joke sometimes, that if I could get an IV coffee drip I would be the happiest coffee addict you were ever going to meet. (smh)

It’s been little over a month now. I haven’t cracked yet. Most of the cravings are gone. The anxiety is fully gone. I haven’t felt the anxiousness and the heaviness on my chest since then. Even on my bad days there is a range of other emotions but no suffocating anxiety. I feel a lot better now and that motivates me to keep this up. Just feel a lot happier recently and just lighter. Like a weight has been taken of my chest. I think this due to a combination of things. Mostly I think it’s because of me putting in more work into my mental health and the lack of coffee. I wasn’t aware of how triggering the coffee was, I’d become so use to feeling like sh*t all the time. Not drinking coffee really has made a huge difference for me.

One thing I have noticed since i stopped drinking coffee is that I am obsessed with cold drinks. I keep craving them. it’s wasn’t just the coffee. It was also the experience of drinking a nice cold drink and having something to sip on while driving or watching a tv show. So far, replaced my addiction to iced vanilla lattes with a frozen hot chocolate milk. Currently my obsession is frozen white hot coco and before that it was frozen milk chocolate hot coco as a replacement.

On the days I want to have a cheat day I remind myself how much anxiety I felt when I was drinking coffee daily. That is how I have been able to stay off the coffee for this long. It’s hard though. On somedays I play devil’s advocate trying to convince myself that one coffee won’t hurt. Still haven’t done that yet because I know I have no self-control when it comes to coffee. Just worried I’ll go back to my old habits. Might be just easier to just lay of all caffeinated drinks all together.

Haven’t had tea in a while for the same reasons. Although, I must say that I have no idea how tea affects my anxiety. Wasn’t aware of the anxiety let alone the effects of tea. Just worried that it might affect me negatively or I get back to being a regular tea drinker which then evolves into coffee. Despite the caffeine I found tea to be very soothing. I’d always say that a hot shower and a good cup of tea feel like an emotional hug you didn’t know you needed. Is that just me?

This was a journey haha. While, it was really hard to just quit cold turkey… Especially the first week. I am really glad I did it. I feel a lot better for it. Have you ever tried to quit coffee? What was your experience like? Do you have anxiety? Do you think coffee makes your anxiety worse? Please leave a comment down below! I would love to hear your story!

Until next time. Peace.