Coffee and Meditation Won’t Kill You, But Sitting There Will!
We know you. You probably know us too. We’re all really quite similar and all live in the same stressful society. Anxious to get out of bed, anxious to go to work, anxious for having to face speedy routines, going to the gym or not being able to make it to the movies. And then, after all that, anxious to collapse in bed without saying a word, being less than thrilled to have to start all over the next day.
Ok, this may be a bit dramatic but I’m not making this stuff up either. We live in a stressful society and it’s important to understand the concept of “mental health” and why it’s a hot topic of conversation in contemporary life.
“Mental Health” is literally everything that falls underneath our emotional, psychological and social well-being. Everything that we think, feel and act upon is affected by our mental health.
Why is this important to understand?
Because you’re mental health greatly affects your quality of life, in either a good or bad way, of course.
Now I’m not talking about mental illness, that’s a whole other can of worms. I’m speaking more generally about mental health; basically how you feel and interact with the world around you on a daily basis. If you are happy or sad, energetic or depressed, or if you’re one of those people with a perpetual smile or worse, you have resting bitch face.
Our mental health is in a constant state of flux. We just need the right ruler. Or scale. Or thermometer.
Either way, the first step of taking charge is knowing where to start.
Embrace The Meditation.
As you may know by now, meditation is a very powerful practice for healing body and soul. It’s a time for our self, to relax and exercise our mind.
And contrary to popular belief, meditation doesn’t have to be practiced in a temple or Zen center. You can meditate wherever you are: on your couch at home, on the bus on the way to work and even at your desk at work. The only thing you need for a successful meditation is yourself.
It CAN all be that simple.
Meditation is the most optimal exercise for our brain: it improves empathy and sense of self; it lowers blood pressure/cholesterol and helps us to fight stress!
What a relief!
If you are new to meditation and feel slightly intimidated by it, don’t worry that’s completely normal. Read about it a little bit and explore the different practices before blinding jumping in. Take a look at my post about Morning Rituals.
Take a look at “mindfulness meditation”, which aims to completely free your mind from distraction. It’s great for reducing stress and reducing background distractions like noises, images, people, problems and to-do lists. It is not that easy at first, but you will understand its benefits later.
Think back to the first time you tried a really nice coffee (or even wine, I guess). You probably said something like “this tastes just like all the other crap I drink”. Flash forward to present day, the now seasoned connoisseur, and flavor expert that you are, can probably rattle off 20 different flavors coming from a single coffee. Meditation works a lot like this. It’s a slow process that builds upon itself. Each moment lays the foundation for the next, and so on, and so on.
Hands up if the first thing on your mind in the morning is: “coffee, please!” Good, I’m not alone.
For decades, coffee has had a not-so-great reputation among scholars, doctors, those in the medical field and members of Mensa, mostly for being responsible for increasing high blood pressure and contributing to heart disease, ulcers, and diabetes. Several studies have tried to prove this assumption for years, but with no particular success.
But for us laymen, Great Success for coffee lovers may be upon us. Recent studies have shown that with moderation, coffee can actually be a cure-all for our body and mental health.
• Coffee can help Parkinson’s Disease
• Coffee can reduce risk of suicide
• Coffee = Good Mood: it promotes the production of the serotonin, a natural human antidepressant neurotransmitter, that balances our mood and gives our body strength
• Coffee has powerful anti-aging powers: packed full of anti-oxidants it’s what some might consider “The New Fountain of Youth”
• Coffee is brain food: coffee helps long-term memory and increases sight and attention levels, easily improving our performance at work or at school
So if you are not pregnant (if you are, be very careful!), if you drink just 2 or 3 cups of coffee per day (never exaggerating!) and if you prefer Organic Black Coffee (too much sugar can be dangerous), your mental health will thank you forever!
Coffee + Meditation: Become a Zen Master of Mental Health!
Let’s do an experiment. Let’s try coffee and meditation together. (Read more about drinking coffee before you meditate here) If they work great alone, imagine the two working together! Recent studies, in fact, have shown that combining coffee with meditation in everyday routine is outstanding for our mental health’s improvements. Here are the best ways to do that.
• Make meditation a daily routine. We are creatures of habit, so the best way to develop a new routine is to work it into an already existing one. Link your morning coffee routine (we know you have one!) to your meditation routine, even if it is just for 10 minutes every morning. Take your coffee to your kitchen table (or wherever), sit, drink, take a few deep breaths and…
• Decide for yourself what is the best fit for you. You can have coffee and then meditate, as we said before, or you can meditate and then enjoy your morning Joe. Meditation is important for understanding how our body is operating. Run a quick “self-check”, gauge where you are and go from there.
Ready. Set. Go.
Originally published at The Coffee Bodhi.