Let’s face it, most of us have things in our lives that we feel we HAVE to do, that we’d rather not.
For some it’s going to work, dealing with traffic, meetings, presentations, the kid’s soccer games. Whatever IT is, how do you gear yourself up for those unpleasant bits of life and make them more bearable?
Lately I’ve been noticing how many people give themselves a little encouragement and find pleasure in unpleasant or simply boring circumstances with coffee. In fact, many of us rely on it so much that you don’t have to drive more than 2 kilometers in most urban areas to find a steaming hot cup of relief. Of course we use coffee in many ways, because it’s a stimulant it perks you up, it causes some physiological changes in your body and it may even put you in a better mood. We don’t just use it to help with life’s unpleasantness; we also use it to add pleasure to just about any circumstance. It’s becoming an emotional remedy, but for the purposes of my rant here, I want to focus on why life sucks so much that coffee drinkers, on average, reach for the stuff more than 4 times per day.
I’m not going to extol the health virtues of being caffeine free here, so if you’re already getting antsy just relax. I can concede the fact that coffee does have some benefits to athletic performance and possibly to certain markers of health, but I can’t get away without saying this, you’re all a bunch of addicts looking for some science to tell you that it’s okay to keep drinking a beverage that you’re using as a way to deal with the disappointments of life. That’s what this post is really about.
We all have our vices, no one is perfect, at least not from the ego/personality perspective of life, but I don’t want to sit by and watch as so many of you ignore the fact that you’re living a life with so few joys that you reach for a coffee three or four times a day so you can feel good.
So, I want you to ask yourself why you really drink coffee and BE HONEST with yourself, don’t let your addiction justify your coffee intake. The liars answer will be, “because it tastes good and I enjoy it”. Bullshit. Chocolate tastes good and you probably enjoy it too, but I’ll bet you don’t eat it four times a day, or even twice a day, or even every day! Just think about other foods or beverages you enjoy and you’ll see that you wouldn’t want them as much as you drink coffee. So, let me ask you again, why do you drink coffee? Is it because you’re tired? Why are you tired? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you getting enough nutrients? Is it because you want to enhance your athletic performance? If so, is your coffee organic, drip-brewed and black? Because that’s the healthiest form of coffee. Is it because you get a headache or irritability if you don’t drink it? In that case you’re addicted, and personally I’m not comfortable being addicted to anything and you shouldn’t be either. Chances are you’re ready to agree, if you weren’t before, that you drink coffee, at least in part, because of the emotional relief or enjoyment you get from it.
Now that we’ve established that, I simply want you to ask yourself if drinking coffee is really the best way to enjoy life. Sure, it can be one of our simple pleasures in life, and sitting with a cup of coffee and truly enjoying it would be a very aware and beneficial exercise, but look around, that’s not what’s happening here. No. We are using coffee just to get through the day, we have so much unenjoyable work and so little play that we pound coffee after coffee just so we don’t feel so depressed and deprived that we end it all and drive off a ravine. Imagine going coffee-less for a day and see how anxious or angry that thought makes you….if that causes stress, then guess what? You’re using coffee as a way to deal with anxiety, and I’d be willing to bet that that anxiety has something to do with not living the life, or having the relationships, or doing the work that you really want. You’re not living up to your own potential, you know it and you’re trying to drown that reality with coffee.
Have a serious look at your life. If you’re not doing work that you truly enjoy, why not? If you’re tired all the time, why? If it feels like you’re just barely getting through and you don’t do anything fun for yourself, it’s time to take a step back and re-assess. Only you can live the life of your dreams. What would that life look like? Forget about limits for a second and write down what your dream life would be like. If you could be, do or have anything you wanted what would it be? Have fun with it, daydream for a minute. Getting inspired and creating a life that doesn’t require coffee doesn’t have to be hard, you just have to decide that you’re not going to settle for the hum-drum life that so many of us are in. So by-pass that line up and wake up without the caffeine!