How Abstaining From Caffeine Has Changed Me

Most of us love our cup of coffee in the morning. However, I was always a green tea guy. There’s something about that first sip of caffeine that makes the day feel limitless. At least that’s how I felt up until last Saturday. That AM, I boiled tap water in my old metallic blue curmudgeonly pot, but then something unusual happened. Instead of cleaning my Seahawks mug and proceeding to drink tea, I decided to lay back down. Here are three things I’ve experienced in week one of quitting caffeine. 

Lowered Anxiety

While lying down that Saturday morning, I asked myself how I wanted to feel that day. The resounding answer: calm, focused and energized. And while my stone-ground matcha tea may have accomplished the latter two, it may have thrown me off my calm game. 

In fact, I’ve probably been off my calm game my whole life. I was an extremely anxious child with a likely undiagnosed case of OCD. 

That’s a kind way of saying I was probably always one tick away from crazy. 

However, in the last five days, something has started to happen, I’ve been able to relax. It feels like a calm has washed over me, helping ease my OCD rituals in the process. 

I’ve been able to enjoy the moment, my presence, and life for the first time, maybe ever. 

The daily grind of life stopped feeling like a grind and more like a cool opportunity to experience all the shenanigans this world has to offer. 

It feels like my life has just begun. 

Increased Physical Strength

I did not anticipate this in my abrupt and unexpected removal of caffeine from my system. 

However, the results have proven immediate. 

For the last three years, I’ve struggled up the strength to shoot a three-point shot, and I’m a youth basketball coach…

I always started my shootaround sessions with the “Mikan Drill.” (alternating left/right layups)

The players probably thought I was just doing coachy things rather than compensating for lack of arm muscle.

Then something miraculous happened. At the high school I work at, we had a “Lockdown” for a potential threat outside of the school. Due to this disruption, our normal routine was interrupted, which landed my class in the gym. 

Before I proceed with this story, nothing happened in the “Lockout,” and we’re all safe, which allows for a happy ending to my anecdote.

While in the gym, the PE teacher rolled out the metal car full of basketballs, and I knew what I had to do. 

As usual, I started slow, but then something phenomenal happened. I decided to place my black Nike Air Max behind the three-point line and let one fly.

Swish, just kidding.

Honestly, I have no idea whether I made that first shot or not, but I know for the first time in recent memory, it felt like my body had the strength to play the game I love.

And that’s crucial because there’s no such thing as halfway hoops. 

Healthier Gut 

Without getting too descriptive, let’s just say it always felt like I had gut issues. I was constantly thinking about what I was eating to ensure I felt ok. 

All of this ritualized eating probably didn’t help my stomach, but it was something that I felt I had to do to get through my day.

Upon the removal of tea, things quickly changed. Suddenly my breadbasket could handle a variety of food without repercussions. 

And from a logical standpoint, it makes sense. Even though caffeine is”the most widely used psychoactive substance globally,” It is still a drug, and drugs have side effects. 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9889511/

According to adf.org, some drawbacks of caffeine include anxiety, irritability, and stomach pains. 

https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/caffeine/

WOAH WOAH WOAH WOAH WOAH WOAH!

We all need to calm down now; I am not here to attack your morning cup of Homer. Many studies prove quality caffeine is good for humans in moderation. 

Nevertheless, this is my personal experience and how my body responds to stimulants. 

And the response was not good, but that’s just me, and “me’s not we.”

But probably the most important thing I learned from these first six days it’s something I already knew, I prefer to burn slow. 

About Nick Bartlett 133 Articles
Hello there ya wild rabbits. My name is Nick Bartlett and I’m a sportswriter, broadcast manager, and youth basketball coach. I’m from the Greater Seattle Area and a graduate of the Edward R. Murrow school at Washington State University. I’ve had over 50 articles and 10 podcasts published in Seattle PI, and my work featured on OregonLive, SportsPac12, and South Florida Tribune. You can contact me at NB206wsu@gmail.com or on twitter @WordsByBartlett. Cheetos and Tuna.

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