The Great Coffee Debate: Chilling You Out or Making You Crazy?
We know about the chemical and biological reactions to our favourite morning beverage, but have we stopped to consider the emotional benefits yummy coffee has to offer?
Why do we reach for coffee when we’re already feeling stressed? Does it actually chill us out, or is it exacerbating our freakiness? With International Coffee Day being celebrated October 1st, we thought we’d
Argument: Making Us Crazy
The caffeine found in
A healthy daily amount of caffeine will depend on your weight, but a good amount to aim for is about 300-400mg per day, which, according to Caffeine Informer, is about 5 Red Bulls or 1 brewed Starbucks Venti coffee. Going beyond our own daily limit can lead to problems sleeping, low moods when the caffeine wears off and even a physical dependency over time, leading to more stress.
Most of us delight in downing multiple cups of coffee, tea or soda throughout the day, and if we’re feeling stressed, it’s natural to assume we haven’t had enough caffeine
Ever wondered exactly how caffeine wakes you up? Caffeine molecules look very much like adenosine to your brain cells. Adenosine, an important natural hormone that tells us when we’re tired, has a cycle that lets it build up throughout the day and decline as we sleep, which helps us to wake up again.
When we consume caffeine, it binds to the adenosine receptors in our brain, kicking out the tiredness hormone and telling us we feel more awake. This works for a while, but over time, feisty adenosine wants to get back to work, so our bodies create more receptors for it. The regular amount of caffeine just doesn’t cut it anymore, so you need more and more to feel alert. See where this is going?
Argument: Chilling Us Out
Consider this argument from a psychosomatic point of view – strangely, marketing continues to display drinking a cup of coffee as a calming, relaxing experience. As a child of the 80s, I remember a swathe of commercials showing a lovely couple on a date, or a fresh-faced youth gratefully taking in a long sniff of joe on her balcony, while still in her pyjamas. None of these ads showed people running around on pure adrenaline, frantically tossing coffee back and crushing the cups in their hands because they’re completely jacked up on caffeine. It may not be such a stretch to argue that the act of drinking coffee can have a calming effect on us. (Have we
I don’t know about you, but when stress punches me in the face, I go straight for a cup of the good stuff. A few of those deep breaths as I make my way out of the office to the nearest coffee bar are enough to make my blood stop boiling and by the time I make it to the kind, supportive barista, I’ve forgotten about my 18-page report on Health & Safety and I’m envisioning myself on my balcony, blissfully enjoying a quiet moment with my coffee.
Depending on your routine, the act of grabbing a coffee (in this scenario, it doesn’t much matter what kind of beverage you’re getting, but let’s stick to coffee) covers a lot of bases
That Make Stress Dissipate:
- Taking an intentional break
- Getting outside – fresh air
- Soothing scents and atmosphere
- Calling up happy memories
Never underestimate the power of smell. It’s no surprise that most of the tantalizing cafes, bakeries, and
There’s an entire industry dedicated to the science of scent marketing, so it shouldn’t surprise us
Psychology Today also reminds us that coffee has a similar effect on our brains as cocaine. Coffee triggers the release of that pleasure-giving neurotransmitter, dopamine, meaning every time we drink it, we feel the satisfaction of happiness – we got exactly what we needed. Then next time we’re feeling low, we look for more coffee to get the same effect…
Another consideration is how much are you drinking? Whether you hate to love it or love to hate it, coffee isn’t going anywhere, so it’s worth delving into. Just like that song you can’t get out of your head, it