Mocha Musings, Espresso Expressions: 

Most if not all of my mornings usually start with a nice warm shower, loud gengetone music that I can practise my lame dance moves to and a cup of Kenyan coffee (milk and sugar depending on the day). 

Wait a minute. Did I say cup? I meant a huge mug of coffee.

I love my basic morning routine. But, since I discovered the magic elixir, I’ve never looked back! Well except in early sobriety where I quit everything in an overzealous attempt to purify myself of the sins of a previous season of my life. But those, friends, are tales and soliloquies for another day.

Depending on the day and what I feel needs to be done, I may drink between 1 and 4 cups of coffee (you may gasp). It’s one of those things that can brighten up a dull, dreary day and give me that missing spring in my step. Get it?

Before you get concerned, let’s get the facts straight.

What are the benefits of Coffee in relation to Mental Health?

1. Increased Alertness and Focus: Coffee contains caffeine, which is a stimulant that can enhance alertness, attention, and concentration. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who need to improve their cognitive performance, stay focused, or combat fatigue.

2. Mood Enhancement: Caffeine stimulates the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which are associated with improved mood. This can result in a temporary uplift in mood and a sense of well-being for some individuals.

3. Cognitive Function: The stimulating effects of coffee can enhance cognitive function, including memory, reaction time, and problem-solving abilities. This can be particularly helpful in situations that require mental acuity and performance, such as studying, work tasks, or creative pursuits.

4. Physical Performance: Coffee has been shown to increase endurance, reduce perceived exertion, and improve performance during physical activities. Regular exercise is known to have positive effects on mental health. Therefore, coffee can potentially contribute to improved motivation and exercise capacity.

5. Social Benefits: Coffee is often consumed in social settings, providing opportunities for social interaction and connection. Engaging in social activities and building relationships is essential for mental well-being, and coffee can facilitate such interactions.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Some drawbacks of coffee associated with Mental Health:

1. Anxiety and Restlessness: Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that can increase anxiety and restlessness, especially in individuals who are prone to anxiety or have anxiety disorders. Large amounts of caffeine can trigger or worsen feelings of nervousness, jitteriness, and racing thoughts.

2. Sleep Disruption: Coffee is a well-known sleep disruptor. When consumed, especially in the late afternoon or evening, it can interfere with falling asleep and achieving quality sleep. Poor sleep can have a negative impact on mental health, contributing to issues such as mood disorders, anxiety, and cognitive difficulties.

3. Agitation and Irritability: Excessive coffee consumption or caffeine sensitivity can cause agitation, irritability, and even anger in some individuals. This can negatively impact their overall mood and interpersonal relationships.

4. Dependency and Withdrawal: Regular consumption of coffee can lead to dependence on caffeine. When attempting to reduce or quit, withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating may occur. These symptoms can impact short-term mental well-being.

5. Gastrointestinal Issues: Coffee is acidic and can irritate the digestive system, leading to issues such as acid reflux, stomach ulcers, and general digestive discomfort. These digestive problems can, in turn, have secondary effects on mental health, as they can contribute to stress and discomfort.

6. Individual Sensitivity: Individuals vary in their sensitivity to caffeine. While some may tolerate higher doses without adverse effects, others may experience negative symptoms even with small amounts. It is important to be aware of your own sensitivity and adjust your coffee consumption accordingly.

All in all, …

  • Finding a balance and considering your own individual needs and sensitivities is key when it comes to coffee and mental health.
  • Monitoring your coffee intake, being mindful of how it affects your mental health and well-being, and seeking professional advice if necessary can help you make informed choices that promote your overall mental health.
  • It’s important to note that every individual’s response to coffee can differ, and what works for you may not work for another person.

In the words of the virtuoso and one part of the Sauti Sol quartet, Savara;


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