I was in Sydney recently for work and was fortunate enough to spend some quality time with some of my favourite people. One such person is my sister in law and over a delicious wholesome dinner we started talking about the addictive nature of caffeine. Although I love having the occasional fix of coffee (probably once or twice a week) I know intuitively that it is not good for me. I get an immediate reaction to it, heartrate increases, stress levels go up and I get a general feeling of agitation and anxiety. However despite these side effects, I still crave the taste and feeling of this addictive substance. She agreed with me and after discussing it further we decided to do a caffeine free challenge for 30 days. I sensed that this would be harder for her than me as I was only drinking one or two a week whereas she was getting a daily fix, however when we qualified the rules I was faced with more deprivation that I bargained for. You see, I drink a lot of tea (green tea and white tea mainly) and these teas have caffeine. I also have a decaf (swiss water of course) every once in while, which also has a small amount of caffeine in it.
Just as I started to get my head around the no tea, no decaf, no coffee concept my sister in law threw another challenge into the mix – daily meditation, 20 minutes minimum. Now this is something that is a definite challenge for me and where she definitely has the advantage. Whilst I do meditate on a regular basis I have to confess to meditating in short bursts of 5 to 10 minutes rather than the oft prescribed longer 20 minute sessions.
I have to confess that the first few days of the challenge were somewhat of a struggle, I didn’t realise how much I relied on the caffeine in my morning tea to perk me up in the morning. The meditation on the other hand was really easy. I found myself some guided meditations and noticed that 20 minutes passed in no time at all, I think I could easily do double that time.
Now, I am completely over my tea and coffee cravings but I can honestly say that the overall feeling of wellbeing is profound. Whilst I am sure that having no caffeine is contributing to this I am attributing the bulk of my wellbeing to the daily meditation. Not only do I feel a general feeling of calm but I have an underlying sense of happiness and peace that was not as present before this exercise. If a stressful situation presents itself, I may still react to it but I feel like my reaction is softer, more accepting. In addition to this, my thoughts are clear and I feel more productive in relation to my daily tasks. Finally sleep is more restful and deep.
I think that I will probably still occasionally have some sort of caffeinated beverage but I know that a daily meditation will be a high priority in my life from now on.