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Caffeine Addiction Caffeine Alternative Staying Awake

Is Your Caffeine Dependency Your Key to Success?

Every Cloud Has One…

Silver Linings Everywhere

A lot of people don’t realise that they have a caffeine dependency. Usually they don’t notice how caffeine influences how they feel throughout the day and how it even affects the quality of their sleep.

Realisation, when it comes, can be sudden and brutal! The blow to their self esteem can be massive and make them feel like their world has ended.

And to be blunt, it has, but not in the way that they may think.

Is Your Caffeine Dependency Your Key to Success?
Photo by Kira auf der Heide @kadh on Unsplash, Baja California, Ensenada, Mexico, woman in black and white striped top holding white ceramic mug, Cologne, Germany

Dependency

Addictions don’t happen over night, they grow on you. The substance or behaviour starts off by making you feel good. Gradually you start to crave more and more, eventually leading to bingeing bouts.

These binging bouts help form habits in the addict that eventually lead to addiction. The addict soon finds that it becomes difficult to function normally when they don’t get their fix.

Unfortunately, they find that their fix is not enough to overcome the withdrawal symptoms. Soon their sense of well being is dependent on how long they can survive until their next fix.

Lost Focus

The cruel thing about addictions is that many don’t realise that they even have an addiction, and if it’s pointed out to them they becomes defensive.

In my own case with caffeine, I thought that I was in control and could stop at any time that I wanted. People warned me and I felt that I knew best until my hands started shaking after drinking too much coffee.

For many caffeine addicts it’s all too easy to dismiss the tell tale signs of addiction and withdrawal as just down to not feeling well, or being tired.

As a test to see if you have a caffeine addiction, try giving up caffeine in all forms for three days, starting from now. If you feel you suffer from any of the listed symptoms, you may have a caffeine addiction:

  • Headaches
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Anxiousness
  • Depression
  • Inability to focus

Using the Darkness

If you feel that you might be addicted to caffeine, it’s not all doom and gloom. The fact that you are aware of it is a good sign. The next step is to figure out what to do about it , if anything.

Having an addiction of any kind may be a sign that things in your life aren’t as you would like them to be. The addiction is your subconscious ’s way of letting you know that you need to pay attention to something that you are neglecting about yourself.

There is no quick fix to an addiction and relapses are common. If you take the time to observe and learn about yourself, not only will you eventually find out what is driving you to the addiction, but you’ll also find a wealth of positive aspects about your own nature that you may have taken for granted.

Also, by continually observing and learning about yourself you’ll be in a better position to figure out the times and scenarios when your cravings are at their highest, and as such take precautions to minimise or avoid them.

Dependency Revisited

In addition to observing yourself and finding out what your caffeine addiction’s triggers are, you can also help your cause by:

  • Getting more sleep
    A good nights sleep is crucial for overcoming a caffeine addiction. Your willpower is stronger and intention is more focused after good quality sleep, which makes it easier to get over your cravings.
  • Exercising more
    When you feel lethargic, get your body moving. The act of walking helps wake you up, which is what many people say they drink coffee and tea for.
  • Using alternatives to caffeine to help keep you awake
    A rising trend is to drink herbal teas and fruit juices as a tasty alternative to drinking caffeine. The idea is to drink the alternatives when you feel the craving for a coffee or tea coming on.
    Our take on the problem is to use V-CAF, our Apple Watch app. It works by letting you know when you are tired so that you can take a break from whatever you are doing and wake yourself up.

What’s Next

Reading this article was the easy part. Now the true test of inner strength begins.

Use the points and tips in this article to help you beat your caffeine addiction, but also use your addiction as a catalyst for change for the better.

Good Luck and Stay Strong

Categories
Addiction Caffeine Caffeine Addiction Caffeine Alternative Productivity

Is Caffeine Addictive?

Am I Addicted To Caffeine?

You Know…

Before studying for my final exams, I used to drink coffee, cola drinks and tea every day. It never occurred to me that I might have been addicted to the caffeine in them.

When people told me about the addictive nature of caffeine, I thought that they were exaggerating. I even did a couple of challenges where I didn’t have any caffeine for a day to prove that I wasn’t addicted and that they were wrong.

Well, I like learning the hard way and as the years have gone by, I’ve looked into what research I could find to find out one way or the other.

So, let’s see if we can work out if caffeine is addictive?

Life Begins After Coffee
Photo by Jorge Franco @francofotografogdl on Unsplash, Egresado ya hace unos años de la Lic. Diseño para la Comunicación gráfica, contaba ya con un conocimiento previo de fotografía y edición, mi trabajo me ha demandado cada vez mas la fotografía así que decidí tomar un curso, un curso que impartió un viejo amigo y colega, con sus conocimientos compartidos a sus alumnos, nos pusimos a practicar teniendo buenos resultados. esta fotografía es la primera después de tomar el curso donde note una evolución, por esa razón la comparto al resto del planeta. Saludos cordiales Jorge (GEORGITO) Franco

I Don’t Have A Caffeine Addiction

Because caffeine is consumed by so many people on a regular basis it is easy to overlook or forget that it is a stimulant.

During one of my caffeine abstinences I was called out for eating chocolate and found myself arguing that it doesn’t count, (oops)!

Another time I found myself justifying drinking tea (earl grey) very often by telling myself it was okay because I don’t drink too much coffee. 

A few years back I started doing three day fasts to cleanse. On one particular occasion I decided not to have any coffee to perk me up. As I hadn’t drunk so much coffee during other fasting sessions, I thought that this would be a piece of cake. 

How wrong I was. Not only was it one of the most difficult fasts that I had gone through, I found myself feeling very irritable, suffering from headaches and hot and cold flushes.

If you’ve experienced any of the above, then you can probably guess that it was likely that I was suffering from classic withdrawal symptoms. From subconsciously consuming caffeine, to justifying my behavior, I realized that I may just have a slight dependency on caffeine.

Caffeine Cognitive Bias

“Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.” 

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Over the years, what I’ve noticed is that I defend positions that I hold as valuable to my identification of what I believe is myself.

To explain this a little better let’s take my caffeine challenges. Could I give up caffeine for a short period of time? If I could, then why did I go back to consuming it again?

In environments such as the workplace and schooling, people like being seen as busy and productive. It implies that you are motivated to do the best that you can regardless of whether or not you feel tired. 

When feeling tired and in need of a pick me up, a lot of people drink coffee or take an energy drink. It’s just the thing to do because it works and is convenient.

But does caffeine really work? What if it’s the caffeine that is making us feel tired, causing our headaches, and making us feel down when we abstain for even a few hours?

The difficulty with any addiction is being able to recognize that you are addicted, and once you do, to give up the addiction. It was easier for me to delude myself that I wasn’t addicted to caffeine rather than to face the addiction and overcome it.

Figuring Things Out

Understanding about the effects of caffeine helped me to be able to control my cravings. The wisdom I gained from seeking out information coupled with my own experiences helped me to help myself.

Any addiction can seem to be too difficult to give up, but by changing your perspective and mindset you can start to overcome it gradually, (unfortunately there are no quick fixes when it comes to addiction).

“Fortunately for serious minds, a bias recognized is a bias sterilized.”

Benjamin Haydon

Many people believe as I once did that caffeine is not addictive, but countless studies prove that it has all the attributes of an addictive substance:

  • Dependence
  • Tolerance
  • And Withdrawal

Withdrawal is difficult because many of the symptoms are mistakenly thought of as reasons to consume caffeine:

  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced cognitive performance
  • General unease or dissatisfaction
  • Sore muscles
  • Depression

The symptoms of caffeine withdrawal can start as soon as 12 hours after your last intake and can last between 2 days and 2 weeks.

To reduce the effects of withdrawal, gradually remove caffeine from your diet. 

  • Dilute caffeinated drinks so that reduce the amount of caffeine you consume at each serving.
  • Where possible use caffeine alternatives such as water and fruit juices and decaffeinated versions of your favorite products.
  • Get better quality sleep so that your body and mind get the rest they need so as to reduce the cravings for caffeine.

Review

Having the correct mindset goes a long way towards helping you overcome your caffeine addiction.

  • Don’t be in denial about your addiction. Own it and take action to overcome it.
  • Find out as much as you can about caffeine and its effects on your mind and body.
  • Seek professional help if you are not sure about anything.
  • There are no quick fixes, come to terms with that fact and gradually change your dietary habits and lifestyle.

Take the First Step

Caffeine is addictive. To some more than others. By reading this article you already have taken one of many steps towards understanding caffeine addiction.

But don’t stop at just reading, make a commitment towards taking positive physical action.

Each step you take is another closer to your goal. Good Luck.

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Staying Awake

The Secret to Beating Withdrawal

You Can Beat Withdrawal

One step at a time…

Relatively speaking very few people enjoy discomfort and pain. Our instinct seems to be to avoid them, sometimes at any cost.

Popular culture also encourages us to bypass pain and discomfort by promoting quick fixes and short-term gains.

The ultimate price paid for this line of thought is the preponderance of people that believe that it is near impossible to overcome difficulties that they will face in life and so seek solace in things that lead to addictive behaviors and compulsions.

Once trapped by our compulsions some realize that something must be done to escape but most fail to take the necessary steps to overcome.

What can we do to overcome the internal resistance?

Suffering
Photo by Camila Quintero Franco @quinterocamilaa on Unsplash

Compulsions Allure

Life in general isn’t a cakewalk. Curve balls are everywhere, just waiting around the corner to catch you off guard.

Wouldn’t it be nice to just have a few moments where we don’t have to worry, or protect ourselves from something or overcome that hurdle?

At work or school the hurdle might be a demanding workload. In your personal life it could be a tiresome friend or relative or a difficult situation.

No matter what it is, we can feel worn down and gravitate towards something that can pick us up, even for a few moments.

For example, your workload is demanding more of your time and you feel tired. How about a coffee?

A Dead End Road

Coffee and caffeine are good examples of short-term fixes. First of all, I’m not saying not to consume caffeine or drink coffee ever again, but everything in moderation. Many consume caffeine because it makes us feel more alert, awake and focused.

It is not an exaggeration to say that many actually feel they need a coffee or caffeine fix to make themselves feel like themselves. Such individuals find it difficult to give up caffeine for even a short period of time.

How often have you woken up in the morning craving a cup of coffee? Once you down it, how much better did you feel? There is a high probability that you were suffering from withdrawal as you were asleep for more than a few hours and did not consume any caffeine. The fact that you felt better after having a coffee was due to satisfying your craving.

Unfortunately over time the cravings become normalized to you and you start to think that it is due to caffeine why you feel better, and the lack of caffeine is why you feel so crap.

Without realizing it you’ve conditioned yourself to self medicate whenever you don’t feel great, and to add insult to injury, when you try to break the habit you can experience the following:

  • Restlessness
  • Irritability 
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Lack of motivation
  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying awake
  • Headaches

Difficulty Leads to Ease

Withdrawal is very difficult and painful. You need the rewards that instant gratification promises, but never fully delivers on, but bare with it!

The secret to overcoming withdrawal is to persevere. Withdrawal is a good sign as it shows that you are breaking the bonds of your addiction. Instant gratification is slavery, and you know this.

By being willing to embrace the pain you actually make it easier on yourself to get through to the other side. The longer you leave taking that initial step, the harder it becomes to even have the will to start.  

Once you start however, keep these points in mind:

  • Take small steps at first. 
    Focus on where you are now not where you want to be.

  • Track the number of days that you can go without coffee and caffeine.

  • Be mindful of your moods.
    For example, you are more likely to give in to temptation when you are tired or stressed.

  • Plan for failure.
    If you fall down, have a plan that will help you get back up on your feet as quickly as possible. Failure doesn’t matter, how long it takes you to try again does, so plan accordingly.

  • Exercise.
    It will help with your moods and encourage you to sleep deeply.

Review

Whatever your take on what I’ve said, if you want progress, if you want to succeed, nothing beats hard work; and hard work implies some pain and discomfort.

By embracing the pain of withdrawal you can grow and become stronger, which will give you more confidence in your own abilities to overcome whatever life throws your way.

Try to implement these points in your plan to overcome withdrawal:

  • Take small steps at first.
  • Track the number of days that you can go without coffee and caffeine.
  • Be mindful of your moods.
  • Plan for failure.
  • Exercise.

Conclusion

In hindsight, after writing this article I realized that what I’m talking about is mental toughness.

This is the key to overcoming anything and finding success. You have what it takes otherwise you wouldn’t be here now!

Use it to get you where you want to be.