Coffee Stained Lens: Caffeine and Anxiety

During my most stressful moments in college, I would bypass the coffee maker and ignored the Starbucks’ aroma with a cup of Ginkgo Biloba Tea in hand. While the first couple days of doing so would drive me crazy—Coffee is addictive after all—by the end of stress week, my chest pains and jittering tendencies had subsided.

Caffeine does undoubtedly have some health benefits but in high doses coffee can induce anxiety, especially for those with anxiety disorders. Personally, I get so involved with work or school I don’t even notice my anxiety or stress increasing because I have a bad habit of “working through it” rather than at least acknowledging it, let alone finding a solution to the problem. That being said, when my favorite part of the morning starts hurting me, I’m forced to look at the mess I’ve been in and reevaluate the recent days or weeks, or even months that have led me to feeling chest pains and slight shaking.

In college I started learning from my mistakes. During finals or midterms, or when I had a million papers to finalize and turn in, I would skip the coffee lines and instead drink some herbal tea that’s supposed to help reduce anxiety rather than induce it. Recently though, I’ve slipped out of that and landed right in a pile of “I’m fine.”

My coworker said the other day that I was one of those ‘I’m fine-kinda people’ who says everything’s fine no matter what—-“I’m fine,” “It’s fine,” or sometimes “I’m sure everything will be alright!”  

And that’s real. I honestly don’t see that changing and I think it’s okay if it never changes as long as I remember to take care of my anxious self rather than pretend it doesn’t exist. You can try to not let stuff affect you but if it does, don’t ignore it. The more you ignore the less you can ultimately enjoy in the end.

So, unless your health needs a break,

Happy Caffeination, Friends!

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