I’ve had an on/ off relationship with coffee but recently gave it up again after reading Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep, (I also talk about this in Episode 36 of the Yoga Pose Podcast) in which he described a study where spiders are exposed to different substances; cocaine, amphetamine, cannabis and caffeine. -I really wish these experiments weren’t conducted on spiders; I’m sure many people would happily volunteer.
The study showed that the worst web builders (which is a spider’s Dharma) were those that had been exposed to caffeine. I don’t make webs but I don’t want my dharma interrupted because of a latte!
I’ve certainly been addicted to coffee at times in my life. I used to drink 5 or 6 americanos (or 'liquid anxiety') a day and experienced the splitting headache when I reduced my caffeine consumption. So really, my giving up of coffee this time hasn’t been that momentous, I wasn’t addicted, just very much enjoy a coffee, and it’s a social thing to do.
I haven’t really missed coffee and I’ll drink the odd cup of decaf, so the changes haven’t been significant (sorry, this isn’t one of those inspiring blogs where giving up coffee has radically changed my health) however there have been a few unintended side affects of giving up coffee I thought I'd share:
I’ve got so much time back! I’m more productive because I no longer have those ‘shall we meet for a coffee’ coffees. I’m a little more selective about meet ups because paying £2.50 for a camomile tea is too much.
I’ve improved my focus! When I started my business I had lots of coffee meetings and whilst some of them were beneficial, some were just things I did to feel busy, and to follow up on every offer of work. I’m more discerning now about meeting for a coffee, which gives me more time to focus (isn’t focus something that coffee promises to improve?) on my projects.
I say ‘no.’ Perhaps my head is clearer because I don’t consume caffeine or it’s just I’m not so aroused that I say ‘YASSSSS’ before I’ve had time to consider my options. In the last month I’ve let classes go pieces of work that I found exhausting (and had me reaching for coffee) and generally made choices which reduce stimulation: I no longer teach in studios with bright lights and loud music spilling in from the other studios.
Reducing my caffiene consumption has lead to other little changes where I reduce my exposure to other stimulants, and it feels great!