Caffeine and Anxiety

Caffeine is a psychoactive drug.

Psychoactive drugs affect the way a person thinks and feels—which may also affect the way they behave. The most commonly used legal psychoactive drugs, apart from drugs taken on prescription, are alcohol and tobacco. The most commonly used illegal psychoactive drug is cannabis (marijuana).

Some drugs fall into more than one category. For example, cannabis is both a depressant and hallucinogen, while ecstasy is a stimulant and hallucinogen.

Source: https://druginfo.sl.nsw.gov.au/drugs-what-are-drugs/psychoactive-drugs

Mid March I stopped consuming coffee. I felt it was increasing my anxiety. I still drink tea sometimes but it does not seem to affect on me as coffee did. I actually was not a coffee drinker until I moved to Montreal. So I have only been drinking in for about 6 years. Overall, I am not a super anxious person but caffeine made me into one. While preparing for exams or doing assignments for school I would drink A LOT of it to stay awake and focused and the consequence would be anxiety, stress, and irritability.  I do still crave it from time to time, but I am quite happy to go without!

For those who rely on caffeine for the boost here are ways to increase energy in other ways:

  1. Vitamin B12 and Ginseng are natural energy boosters (check with your doctor first to make sure these are right for you before using though).
  2. Ensure you are getting enough sleep. If your sleeping habits are decent and you are generally healthy, you likely don’t need caffeine for energy (here’s an article on Good Sleep Habits).
  3. Exercise can feel super tiring and exhausting if you’re just starting out, but once you get into a routine, exercise will actually give you MORE energy!
  4. Eat healthy. Cut out the junk and sugar that might be making you sluggish in the first place and replace these with healthy foods like lots of fruits and veggies (check out Dietitians of Canada for info on healthy eating).
  5. Water. Believe it or not, drinking water first thing in the morning (and throughout the day too) is a great energy booster. Your body wants it and needs it. And it’s really the healthiest drink for you (WebMD gives you 6 reasons to drink water).
  6. If you must have caffeine, maybe try limiting your intake. Instead of 3 coffees a day, have 1. Or instead of coffee, have tea.

Source: https://mindyourmind.ca/blog/caffeine-and-anxiety-are-not-friends

Overall, I sleep very well. I have been exercising more, taking multivitamins and drinking much more water. There is still a lot of room for improvement here, I consume too much sugar and don’t exercise as often as I should. but I am on the right track. I want to try Ginseng too!

Here is a list put out by a coffee company on why coffee can make you anxious.

  1. Caffeine increases stress hormones.

Most people with anxiety would agree that they have a lot of weight on their shoulders. Caffeine adds to the burden. Similar to stress, caffeine increases heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of stress hormones. Caffeine -consumption can more than double your blood levels of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine.

  1. Caffeine affects neurotransmitter balance.

Caffeine often gives us a desirable feeling- increased motivation, productivity, and brain power. This is a result of increasing brain chemicals dopamine and acetylcholine. However, caffeine hinders the calming neurotransmitter GABA, which puts the brain activity on hold when needed. GABA is married to happiness and relaxation, so it’s no surprise that having a low GABA level can lead to anxiety and panic attacks.

  1. Caffeine causes insomnia.

If your mind is stuck in a never-ending marathon at night time, caffeine can contribute to this problem. Caffeine-induced sleep disorder is actually a recognized psychiatric disorder. Getting good sleep is essential to our brains since this is when metabolic debris and toxins are washed away and repaired into new brain cells. It’s important to keep in mind that any caffeine you consume, even 6 hours prior to bedtime can significantly disrupt your sleep.

  1. Caffeine is linked to psychiatric disorders.

Enough caffeine can create symptoms of anxiety in a healthy person that are indistinguishable from those experienced by anxiety disorder sufferers. Caffeine has also been linked to mental disorders including anxiety, panic and depression, as well as sleep and eating disorders. Fact: In 1987, it was recommended that decaffeinated beverages should be provided in psychiatric wards. Taking schizophrenic patients off caffeine has actually been proven to help their anxiety, irritability, and hostility.

  1. Caffeine can increase anxiety when taken with many medications.

Caffeine is often consumed out of habit, making it an immense part of our daily life. That being said, it sometimes slips our mind that it’s a psychoactive drug and therefore, doesn’t mix well with other drugs. Check out drugs.com for a list of over 80 medications that should not be taken alongside caffeine. It is often added to over-the-counter drugs such as painkillers to make them more effective, however, consequently increases the number of side effects in asthma medications, antidepressants, and some antibiotics. 

Source: https://www.deathwishcoffee.com/blogs/news/caffeine-and-anxiety

I am not trying to scare anyone here. However, being the most consumed psychoactive drug, it is important to know about it and it’s affect on your health!

xxxx

Social Media 📱👥

If you use social media everyday I recommend watching this video. For me, it was inspiring. I have deactivated my Facebook. I’ve been bored with Facebook for a while now so that was easy. Now I need to disengage from Instagram. I am inspired to do the 6 month break from social media very soon! I think it is exactly what I need.

Circumstances and Choices

*Updated April 18th; Video added at the end of the post, Enjoy.*

Bad experiences are not an excuse to become a bad person.
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We are a product of the choices we make, not the circumstances that we face. – Roger Crawford 
When you are born into and/or face unfortunate and difficult circumstances in your life you have two choices on how you can deal with these experiences:
 
First, you can allow these experiences to consume you and to hold you back. You cause harm to yourself and to others. You allow anything difficult and painful that happened to you turn you into a unfavorable person. A person unable to take action, make changes and take responsibility. You become toxic.
 
Or, you can use these obstacles as stepping stones to become someone great, to rise above them and to not let them hold you back. You acknowledge what happened, break the chain and move on. You seek help when needed and perhaps even take the extra step to help others who faced the same challenges as you. You become strong.
 
The road is tougher when you are faced with obstacles and perhaps in some cases it is a bit more limited. However those who face the toughest battles are still capable of being the best they can be. These are people we admire.
 
Your circumstances set the stage but your choices determine the show.

xxx

A Week Without Facebook

I just ended a break from Facebook for a week. This is one of many many breaks I’ve taken from it. Now that it is back on my phone I am trying not to use it. I browsed it twice today. I’m thinking of deactivating it again but keeping messenger, not even sure if I’ll do that though. Anyone who I do speak to on a regular basis knows how to get in touch with me. Life without Facebook is pretty nice. I recommend you try it out at least once to see the difference and gain a better understanding of the role of social media in your daily routine. I especially recommend deactivating to those who haven’t done it before. Facebook has been around for over a decade now, and a lot of us have had it for most of that time. Are you someone who has had it consistently during that time? For years? If so you should try going without it for a week. If the only thing that is holding you back is to be able to message people please know that you can deactivate Facebook yet continue using messenger. Instructions here.

My best friend hasn’t been on Facebook for years… what a brave gal! My boyfriend recently decided to stop using Facebook and is enjoying life without it. He reads a lot these days. I have done it before for a few months; I lived in an apartment with no internet for a couple of seasons. I really enjoyed that time. Without internet, (only had basic mobile data on an old phone and didn’t use it much) I felt freer. I read and socialized more during that time and was more relaxed and happier.

I appreciate social media but like anything else if it is used excessively it is bad for you. It is still being researched on whether or not there is a link and/or relationship between mental health and social media. I can tell you from personal experience that this link does exist for me. If you are one of those people who can have social media but don’t have the urge to check it constantly and use it in moderation you’re probably fine. But if you are like me and check frequently during the day then it will most likely become a problem if it isn’t already. Looking at pretty pictures of things and people can lead me to feeling incompetent. It’s a strange thing to do when I think about it. Looking at other peoples lives on a tiny screen instead of doing much with mine. How sad. I pretty much only use Facebook and Instagram but have spent a significant amount of time on these platforms.

As I have mentioned before I am trying to make changes. Last night was the first time in two weeks that I did not write in my journal. I better write in it tonight. At least I am writing here. I have been reading every day, but some days I read for less than an hour. Overall though I am happy with my very little progress so far. I do expect the complete transformation into a happier human to take a few years. It’s only been a couple of weeks but I am still optimistic.

xxx