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How Caffeine Affects Anxiety

man drinking from a mug

Too much caffeine can bring on an unfortunate case of the jitters. You know the feeling. The heart-racing, sweaty palms, can’t sit still one. Here are some common signs of too much caffeine:

  •     agitation
  •     restlessness
  •     twitching
  •     dizziness
  •     increased heart rate
  •     nausea
  •     sleep issues
  •     mood swings

So, while you may love what caffeine can do for your productivity levels, you shouldn’t ignore the negative side effects that often come along with it. This is especially true if you struggle with anxiety or chronic bouts of stress. While caffeine doesn’t directly cause anxiousness, it can (quite literally) fuel it by speeding up our bodily functions and increasing stress hormones.

The relationship is certainly a complex one, but cutting back your intake, or removing it altogether, may help to significantly decrease your symptoms. Here are a few ways in which you can better understand your own caffeine-anxiety connection and make some simple lifestyle adjustments if needed:

Track and observe

Start by keeping a journal and tracking exactly how much caffeine you have each day, as well as the impact it seems to have on you. Aside from counting every cappuccino you sip on, don’t forget to track other sources including chocolate, sodas and even medicine. Then slowly start to cut back or eliminate these items. Take note of any improvements you see in your mental health. 

Watch what you eat

It’s also a good idea to monitor what you’re eating and drinking when you consume caffeine. This may seem strange, but some professionals say that it can matter. For example, alcohol can make you more sensitive to its effects, while a meal rich in protein may minimize them. Regardless, always drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated. 

Check your daily habits  

If you’re not totally sure whether caffeine is the cause of your increased anxiety, take a look at some of your other daily habits. Are you eating a lot of fast food? Skipping the gym? Maybe indulging in too many late-night Netflix binges? But if you’re practicing healthy habits and still feeling anxious, caffeine just might be the culprit. And cutting back or eliminating it all together can make a world of difference. 

If from monitoring these activities you decide it’s best to cut back on caffeine, here are some ways in which to do so (without losing your mind):

Delay that first cup

Fun fact: our bodies are actually made to get a boost of energy in the morning, thanks to a chemical known as cortisol. Because you’re getting this natural lift, try to put off having that first cup of coffee until you’ve been up for an hour. Who knows, maybe you’ll decide you don’t need it? 

Consume only when necessary

If you think you may need to limit your caffeine intake even more, try to only lean on it when you actually need it. Perhaps after a long night preparing for a presentation, for example. As you wean yourself off, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised to see how your body can learn to manage and sustain healthy energy levels itself.

Consider alternatives

There are so many coffee alternatives out there that will allow you to keep your ritual of enjoying a delicious warm beverage at the start of each day. You can find caffeine free, plant based sources that naturally energize you. Staying hydrated, choosing fibre rich foods, enjoying turmeric, ginger or lemon are all great ways to energize naturally. And focusing on healthy ingredients that support your body like our caffeine-free latte mixes, which are packed with beneficial superfoods, is a great way to manage caffeine.