We all know there are good days and bad days at the office. We all get through the day just fine every once in a while - too bad that rarely happens! But, on most occasions, work can cause stress. That's why we go for coffee, isn't it? So what if I told you that drinking coffee each morning doesn't only help wake up your body but can also help you manage stress?
Keep reading to learn more about how coffee affects you when you are stressed.
When you are stressed, your body goes into a fight-or-flight state. The sympathetic nervous system activates the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands release high levels of hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline, increasing heart rate and blood pressure by causing constriction in blood vessels.
The release of these stress hormones boosts energy levels, which means more energy and motivation to focus on the stressful task at hand. That's why we can often find increased drive when feeling stressed out.
Caffeine works synergistically with stress hormones to increase alertness and focus, triggering an even greater response from our sympathetic nervous system. Combining caffeine with stress increases physical arousal and a perceived need for more significant effort to complete tasks.
Small amounts of caffeine can boost mental and physical performance.
The coffee break you couldn't live without may not be so bad. Taking a regular cup of coffee—or anything containing caffeine—can actually improve your focus, mental performance and physical endurance. Caffeine is a stimulant that blocks adenosine receptors in the brain, putting you in wakefulness or alertness. Therefore, instinct tells you to get up and move when you're awake: To walk around the block, jog for five minutes, go for a hike in the mountains.
Of course, that's not what happens if you drink coffee at night or on weekends; it makes things worse because caffeine is out of your system. There's nothing left to stop your brain from being alert or feeling tired.
But there are other benefits. For example, caffeine increases dopamine levels in the brain because it binds with and activates receptors in the central nervous system that trigger reward activity in response to certain stimuli and substances (like food).
This means some people experience euphoria after they take caffeine, while others feel no effects. For those who feel nothing, this may be attributed to their body's resistance to excessive amounts of caffeine; however, they will still benefit from its ability to increase metabolism through increased fatty acid release.
Caffeine might make you less stressed out, but it doesn't affect cortisol.
"Caffeine does not lower people's stress levels," says Dr. Elissa Epel of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), who led a study on coffee and stress published in the journal Biological Psychiatry in 2015.
Epel and her colleagues looked at how drinking coffee affected the hormone cortisol—a stress marker—in the body. They took saliva samples from over 100 men and women and had them drink either a caffeinated or decaf beverage. At the end of their experiment, they found no difference in average cortisol levels between those who drank caffeinated coffee and those who didn't.
While this result was surprising, it wasn't all bad news: Other studies have shown that moderate consumption of caffeine can be good for your health by lowering blood pressure and inflammation and decreasing your risk for diabetes, Parkinson's disease, liver cancer, and even suicide.
Coffee might not lower your stress levels, but it does have other benefits.
While coffee may not reduce your stress levels, it has many well-documented benefits. So, you might still want to incorporate it into your routine.
- Coffee can aid in concentration and staying awake
- Increase your energy levels and alertness
- Improve your mood
- Relieve headaches and muscle pain after exercise
- Provide antioxidants that boost health overall
- Help you burn fat by stimulating the nervous system and boosting metabolism
- Lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by improving how the body uses insulin (and thus reducing blood sugar levels)
- Lower the risk of liver diseases, including cirrhosis
In moderation, coffee may be a healthy stress reliever.
The vast majority of people consume caffeine in their daily lives, especially in coffee. And while most of us have an awareness that drinking too much coffee may cause a spike in our stress levels, many studies have shown that those who drink one or two cups of joe each day actually experience a decrease in stress hormones and an increase in relaxation.
However, the link between coffee and stress relief is slightly more complicated than it might seem. Research indicates that you can enjoy your morning cup (or two) without feeling guilty about it if you're generally healthy. You'd also be able to stop drinking coffee at any time without experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as headaches or irritability.
Managing stress at work is an enormous challenge, regardless of whether you have a flexible, remote or traditional job. But there are plenty of ways to empower yourself and reduce needless stress. One of the simplest ways to do this is simply by drinking coffee, given that caffeine is an effective and legal strategy for managing stress.
It can boost your energy without getting you too wired. It can also help you concentrate on the present moment while elevating your mood. Not bad for a simple cup of brew, right?
So the next time you're feeling overwhelmed on the job, grab a cup of Lyger Coffee and experience the stress reduction benefits firsthand while enjoying the #lygerlifestyle.