You sit down to work, organize your space, pull out your list after a morning of working out, hauling kids and traffic. You are READY to ROCK your day… but your brain just won’t focus. You are instantly flooded with overwhelm and confusion, wondering where to start first and why in God’s name Sally has to laugh SO LOUD? But before you start, you should probably go pee.
Sound familiar?… No? How about this one?
You have a big event or a trip and you’ve been looking forward to it for so long. If you could only pack your suit case right! What if you need more clothes, or the weather changes, or what if your outfit for the evening is underplayed or overplayed or what if the kids get sick or even worse, YOU get sick? We all know you can’t get sick.
Or how about the busy grocery store with all of its bright lights and loud sounds, your kids school function or the many many places that hold expectations of you and are entirely too overstimulating?
Must be anxiety, right? Or maybe its ADHD?
Ok, hear me out, this info article isn’t about debating the realism of disorders and individual experiences. It’s about evaluating our bodies and minds from a holistic perspective before we self-criticize the behaviors or medicate the symptoms and one of the most predominant Neuro-influencers in the human diet just so happens to be caffeine, specifically coffee. Trust me, I could write a whole different article on sugar but today I want to cover this wholly bean;)
Coffee and caffeine stimulate the central nervous system, specifically the Sympathetic nervous system response which you may recognize as “fight or flight.” Depending on the individual, this can have highly adverse effects on their brain, behavior and even mental health. In fact, 55% of the population has a gene that doesn’t metabolize caffeine well. These people are “slow metabolizers” and a slow metabolizer will spike hard and fast and then crash hard as well or they may experience ongoing anxiety and mood fulgurations.
Environment plays a factor as well. Those with a trauma background usually have a heightened SNS response. This means that their body easily enters “fight or flight” much too often. They may also have issues with their SNS getting “stuck.” A “stuck” sympathetic response means that the body isn’t entering the Parasympathetic state enough, the “rest and digest” state that restores, renews, relaxes and gives the brain and body a break.
What happens when you run any machine non-stop? It will burn out. Now, you may wonder what exactly this has to do with coffee? Check this:
-In the AM your cortisol (stress hormones) rises naturally to wake you up.
-You drink coffee. This stimulates even more cortisol and the SNS.
-You rush to get kids ready, fly out the door, navigate traffic trying not to be late…… stress stress stress…
-You continue this process later in the day as well, answering emails, multitasking, staring at the blue light on your phone and computer being overstimulated by the latest fashion, gossip, triggers and your friend’s new puppy.
-Day over, drive to pick up kids, head home, make dinner and maintain sanity while praying the kids go to bed early.
-Fall into bed in a type of exhaustion that can only be described as “soul tired” and fall asleep… or not. You are wide awake, sleep poorly and wake up to do it all again.
One in Six Americans is on a psychiatric drug for mental health yet we rarely discuss the very factors that could be destroying the capacity of the body to achieve brain health and overall homeostasis.
I learned early in life that I was a “sensitive person.” I have a highly active SNS and a propensity for anxiety and panic. When life gets crazy, I am vigilant and sharp but that “strength” taxes my body in the future. If I’m mainlining coffee (even a small amount) first thing in the morning, my brain shuts down and if continued long enough, I will crash into waves of anxiety, panic and mood instability. I’m not much different from half of the population, wired for overstimulation.
If this is you but you aren’t ready to break up with your precious, try this:
1. Drink water or a mushroom tea in the morning
2. Have ORGANIC, HALF DECAF coffee in the later morning but not bast noon.
3. Move your body each day, even just a walk.
4. EAT 3 real, whole food, brain boosting meals a day preferably with brain feeding Omega 3 fats.
I promise, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and the potential of your brain;)
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