Eight years ago, I was struggling with anxiety. I was depressed and depressed. This is what I thought. Why? That’s when I took a step back and realized there were three things I wanted to change.
I felt like I couldn’t start my day without caffeine. I drank a lot of coffee to motivate myself, about 6 cups a day. By evening, I felt like I needed a stiff drink to calm myself down again.
During the day, I would eat a lot of foods with refined sugar to give me energy.
It occurred to me that my anxiety and depression may have something to do with what I was eating and drinking. Initially, I was thinking of quitting caffeine, alcohol, and white sugar all at once.
If you’re a regular caffeine user, you’ll probably get dizzying headaches when you try to quit drinking coffee. That’s what happened to me after my first 24 hours of quitting coffee.
But within 48 hours, once the caffeine left my system, I suddenly felt calmer. My anxiety started to disappear and that was a huge improvement.
I believe that caffeine is the most psychoactive drug on the planet and is universal. One of the problems with caffeine is that it releases adrenaline and cortisol into your body when you’re in danger, triggering the fight-or-flight response.
I don’t think it’s healthy to keep your body on guard all day long. That’s why I had anxiety for so long.
Most days I don’t feel stressed. The last 6 months have been stressful for me in general, but I don’t feel nearly as much stress as I used to when I was drinking caffeine.
It also turns out that caffeine allows you to drink more alcohol. Drinking coffee made me feel so anxious that in the evening I had to drink alcohol to calm down.
So for me, quitting caffeine was also a great step towards quitting alcohol.
I’m currently drinking decaf coffee. I know many people who quit caffeine don’t, but decaf contains about 2% caffeine. Because it’s in such a small amount, it doesn’t have nearly as much of an effect as a fully caffeinated coffee.
I live a calm and stress-free life. Drinking coffee dehydrates me, so I don’t go to the bathroom often.
I think many of us living in modern society are suffering from information overload. For me, the last thing I want to do is take a medication that causes me even more stress and puts more strain on my body, mind, and spirit.
Many people like a very strong espresso, but for me it wasn’t an espresso, it was a depresso.
Don Egan is a freelance spiritual coach and author of several books. He has been living without caffeine and alcohol since 2017.
All views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
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