mindful latte, please
Written by Louise Steen, 9th March 2016
I want to drink less coffee. Not because I drink buckets of coffee, but I just don’t like being hooked on anything – I want to be the one controlling my foods and drinks, not the other way around. But coffee gives me something special; a particular feeling of calm and comfort that is hard to let go. I’ve tried to quit entirely, just to discover that this is not the right thing for me to do – at least not in the long run. I might be able to stay clear for like one month, but after that I find myself sneaking back to the brewer for just a tiny cup – and before I know it being back to where I started. The same number of cups a day, and same patterns of when and how I have my coffee.
So what can I do instead to cut down? I decided to apply my philosophical rule on my coffee drinking: The rule of halves. What is the rule of halves? Well for some of the foods and drinks that I like, it just does not work when it comes down to quitting entirely. As said before, not in the long run. No. Instead, I have decided to drink half as many cups of coffee per day. And after some time what feels natural and satisfying to me, then I cut that in half again. One little step at a time! Does that make sense to you? At least, it does to me.
Drinking my coffee mindfully is the trick when it comes to drinking less. When I drink less, I have to make sure that I enjoy it more! Being more aware and present, in the moment, to sense the aroma, the warmth, taste and how the coffee makes me feel. My thoughts, feelings and behaviour in the very moment that I have my coffee – turning OFF the autopilot of thoughts that are usually turned ON in our busy lives filled with obligations, plans, habits and rush. Focussing on what is going on right here and right now opening up to sense what is going on in the present instead of thinking about a million other things at that time. Just for a short while, just as long as it takes you to finish your coffee.
Using all my senses when having my coffee gives me so much more pleasure out of each cup – making it much easier for me to cut the number down to half. Do you think the same would work for you?
When you drink coffee (or other caffeine containing drinks) a firework of neuronal activity kicks off in your brain, getting your adrenal glands to fire off the stress hormone adrenalin. Outbursts of adrenalin will make your body perform to the max. The liver excretes stored energy, and your blood sugar shoots up, your heart rate and pulse rises and your breathing increases. Your pupils dilate, and all unnecessary body activities come to a halt – as an example your digestion or your reproduction. When the energy resources are exhausted, your blood sugar decreases and your body returns to normal.
With each caffeine boost, you have your body will experience this cycle over and over during a day. Drinking many cups of coffee will keep your body in this the ‘flight-or-fight-mode’ and constantly being alert. Ultimately this can lead to chronic fatigue, exhaustion, nervousness, mood swings, sleep issues, irritability and depression. Your adrenal glands simply just burn out!
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