Before you go and make yourself a nice hot drink and settle into some relaxing reading, maybe you should have a quick gander at this.
Cutting caffeine out of my diet played a major part in reducing my anxiety.
At work I used to regularly drink 7-8 cups of coffee a day. I’d drink (what I thought was a relaxing evening hot drink) up until 8pm, and wondered why I struggled to get to sleep at night.
Next day deadlines, paying the bills, and whizzing thoughts caused by stress were also a major culprit in sleepless nights, but an evening coffee certainly didn’t help.
I don’t confess to be a Dietician, but we all know caffeine is a stimulant. Anxiety doesn’t work well with stimulants - they fuel it.
So, doesn’t common sense tell you to cut it out of your diet?
You’d like to think so, but when I suggest looking for an alternative to their strong cup of coffee in the morning, most people look at me as though I’ve asked them to give up Christmas.
Things won’t change unless you change them.
It’s a very straightforward suggestion, but if you’re not willing to make a change how can you ever give yourself the best chance of recovery?
It may be that you’ve been drinking coffee for many years and that’s just how it is – there’s something about a hot drink that water just can’t compete with, especially when at work, so I appreciate that.
However, don’t allow your conditioning to dictate what you do going forward. Something as simple as getting in the habit of buying a decaf alternative can be a life changer.
BEWARE OF THE TEA!
I’ve used coffee as an example because it’s best known for it’s caffeine content, but let’s not forget about the 165 million cups of tea consumed a day in the UK alone.
It’s widely known that tea has more caffeine in it than coffee. This isn’t technically true because it depends on different factors including how long it’s brewed, but the fact remains it has caffeine in it and therefore should also be put in the category ‘look for alternative’.
And don’t be fooled in thinking Green Tea doesn’t have caffeine in it like I was! The great news is, however, you can get a decaf alternative, and therefore continue to enjoy all the heath benefits Green Tea offers.
BIG TIP: Camomile is also a great alternative as it contains a natural sedative – making it an ideal evening drink to help you relax and fall to sleep, or at times you’re feeling particularly anxious.
Personally, I think Camomile tastes fine, but to a lot of people it takes a bit of getting used to. There are lots of different flavour options on the market, so before you spit it out never to drink it again, give them a go.
Other stuff to look out for containing caffeine:
Damn it! I hear you say. I know, it looks like a list of all the good stuff, but make an effort to cut caffeine out of your diet, even gradually, and you’ll feel a difference.
Medication including Pain Killers and Diet Pills also contain caffeine, so while you’re getting rid of the headache or shedding the pounds, you might feel anxiety levels rise. Again, there is always a decaffeinated option available.
So, to recap – get in the habit of buying decaf, and avoid caffeine wherever possible.
ABOUT CARL VERNON
Carl Vernon is a best-selling author & speaker, talking and writing about all things anxiety, stress, success & well-being.