Could caffeine be contributing to your anxiety and stress levels?

Many of us like a few cups of tea or coffee each day. Or you may prefer energy drinks or other drinks that contain caffeine. You may like the taste, enjoy the ritual of taking a break at the same time or maybe you use them to help you overcome your tiredness and lethargy.

How Caffeine Fuels Anxiety

Caffeine is a stimulant that can help perk us up and keep us going. Yet the effects of too much caffeine can be symptoms such as feeling on edge or jittery, agitation, over-alertness and palpitations. In essence, it produces effects similar to stress on our bodies.

And if you suffer with anxiety, several of these symptoms may seem all too familiar already - such as those shaky, jittery, on edge feelings and those palpitations.

If you are already anxious or stressed then the impact of caffeine can be enough to amplify all those feelings. And the more you feel them, the more you focus on your anxiety, creating a cycle of worry and even more anxiety. It's like pouring fuel on your anxiety and then trying to cope with the fire you've created.

Anxiety Buster

Here's what I suggest you do to notice how much of an impact your caffeine consumption has on your anxiety.

For the next two weeks aim to gradually reduce your caffeine intake by half - obviously this will be more for some than others! 

An easy way to do this is to swap every other tea or coffee for a decaffinated version or a glass of water.

The more you reduce the stress impact on your body, the calmer you can start to feel.

A Couple of Notes

Whilst reducing caffeince gradually helps calm some anxiety, like with any drug, going immediately cold turkey can be unpleasant (particularly if you are used to having large amounts) so please reduce your caffeine intake gradually and sensibly.

And if you have been using caffeine to compensate for not getting enough sleep then now is the time to start addressing your need for rest, for example, by turning off the TV and going to bed earlier.