You already know that too much caffeine can bring on the jitters. Have one too many and you’re likely to feel a bit on edge. But could your daily pick me up actually be messing with your mental health and driving your anxiety symptoms?

Caffeine is often bad news for people with anxiety. That’s because the powerful stimulant naturally found in coffee jump-starts anxiety by speeding up bodily functions. It stimulates our stress response called “Fight or Flight” (a heightened state of alertness) resulting in your heart beating faster and your breathing rate to increase resulting in feelings of anxiety.

Caffeine doesn’t affect us all the same way. Some people can handle some caffeine and others are very sensitive to it. How one person metabolises it can be much slower than the next person.

If you enjoy drinking coffee and are suffering the affects you could try:

  • Reducing the amount of cups you have per day
  • Try swapping to decaf
  • Don’t drink coffee on an empty stomach
  • Make sure you’re well hydrated and drink water with your coffee
  • Try herbal teas such as camomile or decaf green tea that can actually be calming on the nervous system
  • Avoid caffeine all together especially when you’re already feeling very anxious.

Carrie Temple Nutritional Therapist (Dip) CNM, mBANT, CNHC reg.