Caffeine is a sort of wonder drug. It’s inexpensive, socially acceptable, and legal. While there is evidence – both positive and negative – regarding the effects of caffeine, no one seems to dispute the premise that it’s very addicting.
Maybe you’re one of the many people that have challenges with caffeine or perhaps you simply don’t like the idea of being addicted to a stimulant.
Following this process will help you break your caffeine habit:
- Make a list of reasons for giving up caffeine. It might be to strengthen your health, sleep better, or simply have more self-control. When you find yourself getting stuck, review your list.
- Choose a substitute. Perhaps a decaffeinated version of what you’re already consuming would work for you. You might want to consider drinking water. It’s important to have a substitute to make the transition easier.
- Prepare yourself. It’s common to experience headaches, irritability, fatigue, and various phantom aches and pains when eliminating caffeine from the diet. Being prepared can make it easier to cope.
- Have a plan for dealing with any challenges. You probably have a good idea how you feel when you don’t get your normal caffeine intake. What can you do when those physical and psychological feelings hit?
- Try using positive affirmations. A simple, “I am succeeding without caffeine” might be all you need. Then get up and do something else. Go have a conversation with a friend or co-worker, do 5 pushups, get a drink of water, or sing a little song.
- Your normal over-the-counter pain reliever should help with the most common side effect: headaches. See your doctor for advice.
- Consider meditation. Learning to relax and simply breathe can make many of life’s challenges more manageable.
- During moments of temptation, ask yourself what else you could do to satisfy yourself. If you ask the question and listen, you might get a few good ideas.
- Give yourself additional time to relax, as needed. Take care of your emotional needs during this time.
- Plan a reward. Kicking the caffeine habit is worthy of celebration. Depending on your financial situation, decide on a suitable reward. It might be a long weekend out of town or something as simple as a new book or dinner at your favorite restaurant. Make it compelling! You deserve it.
- Develop a new morning routine. Old habits can be challenging to break. Adding something new to your routine can create a new pattern of behavior. You might want to get a little exercise or try reading for a few minutes.
- Measure your current intake. For most of us, this is as simple as counting how many cups of coffee or how many sodas we drink each day. Whatever your source of caffeine, get a good baseline number.
- Cut your intake by 25% the first week. This is simple enough and shouldn’t cause too many physical or emotional issues. Remember to replace any fluids you were consuming with a non-caffeine beverage.
- Continue cutting your intake by an additional 25% each week. You’ll be free of caffeine in a few short weeks!
Eliminating caffeine from your life can have many health benefits. It’s not unusual to experience better sleep, less anxiety, and lower blood pressure. You’ll also be free of needing a drug to make it through the day. Beating any addiction, even one as mild as caffeine, is a great testament to your strength and self-control.