Transcendental Meditation

Drinking too much coffee? A healthy alternative to caffeine

coffee addiction meditation murray tweetEven when joking, the comedian Bill Murray has hit upon an essential truth in his tweet. “Depresso: the feeling you get when you’ve run out of coffee.”

A useful warm beverage when consumed in small quantities, the problem with coffee is that it is both chemically addictive. As addictive as marijuana, for that matter.

Caffeine dependence: Hooked on the bean

Studies have demonstrated that taking in more than 100 mg of caffeine (approximately one cup) per day alters the brain’s chemical makeup – leading to fatigue, headaches and nausea if one tries to quit. Caffeine meets all the requirements for being an addictive substance, including dependence and difficulties of withdrawal.

What is the worst that could happen if you keep drinking too much coffee?

The negative impact builds over time and works in rather sly, gradual ways. It’s not like you’re going to fall down dead when having one espresso too many — though, truth be told, there are documented cases of people dying as a consequence of consuming too much caffeine in the form of pills, powder or energy drinks.

What happens usually is that, as with all addictive substances, your life is drawn somewhat out of balance. Is drinking coffee interfering with your ability to be productive and nicely settled into the rhythm of your day? Are you using caffeine instead of getting a proper night’s sleep? Are you spending too much time and money on caffeinated products?

caffeine addiction coffee dependence withdrawal

TAKE A QUIZ: How addicted to caffeine are you?

All these may be good reasons for considering cutting back on coffee. And in case you have an underlying health condition (or a genetic predisposition towards one) — most notably, heart ailment or problems with high blood pressure — then it would definitely make sense to look for alternatives to caffeine.

How to stay energized for business without drinking coffee

The good news is that the negative effects of caffeine withdrawal are relatively short term as one only needs to get through about two weeks for them to disappear. And even better news: there exist perfect substitutes to keep us going without the bitter black liquid!

Paul Metselaar, Chairman & CEO at Ovation Travel Group, shares his story.

“’How do you get everything done without drinking coffee?’ It’s the question I get asked whenever anyone finds out I’ve never had a cup of coffee, and it’s often accompanied by a look that suggests the questioner thinks I’m some kind of freak.

coffee caffeine addiction dependence quit

As many as 30% of coffee drinkers say they “couldn’t do without it.” But it may be easier than you think!

I can certainly understand the curiosity.

As the CEO of a successful travel company, I have very busy days, and most nights are also scheduled with an event, business-related or otherwise. I travel often as part of my work, and that means navigating various time zones, jet lag, and travel fatigue. I’ve been doing this more or less successfully for 30 years – not to mention my 80 hour work-week in my former career as a lawyer, and law school and college – all sans caffeine. /—/

And, so, everyone always wants to know where my energy comes from.

I’ve written before about the importance of a daily nap. While it may seem counter-intuitive, and I know not everyone has this luxury, setting aside a little time each day helps me to recharge my batteries.

Recently, I’ve added another element to my Relaxation Tool Kit: meditation.

This past July, I took a four day Transcendental Meditation class at the David Lynch Foundation, and I have been meditating for 20 minutes every day since.

You just notice the thoughts and you accept them and you just let them float by, and you close your eyes for 20 minutes. It’s a cathartic process of cleaning out all the detritus and stress that builds up from your chaotic day, and lets you reclaim your focus.

I’ve created a kind of meta-nap experience where I will meditate for 20 minutes and then I’ll nap for the another 10 minutes. It’s the most rejuvenating thing, and I just power through the rest of the day.”

Read Paul Metselaar’s full blog entry