Caffeine is a CNS (Central Nervous System) stimulant. Most stimulants, such as methamphetamine and cocaine, increase anxiety. Perhaps for this reason, the myth has arisen that caffeine makes you edgy and nervous and tense. However, the exact opposite is the truth!
Pharmacologically, caffeine achieves its effects differently from any other stimulants. Caffeine increases your energy, but, in reasonable doses, it gives most people a relaxed energy.
In Zen tea ceremonies, young green tea leaves, which have the highest concentration of caffeine of any botanicals, are steeped, and the resulting brew is quaffed to help prepare participants for meditation. The Zen practitioners are not trying to increase their tension! On the contrary, they are enjoying the tranquil energy that caffeine engenders.
Many years of studies by Dr. Roland Griffiths, the leading caffeine researcher at Johns Hopkins University, have proven that even as little as 100 milligrams of caffeine taken once a day will improve the mood of and help relax most people throughout the day. (It is true that people’s sensitivity to caffeine varies, and, if you consume more caffeine than is right for you, you could experience some anxiety. But if you are one of the vast majority who can tolerate some caffeine, taking the right amount for you will relax you!)
That’s why people smile when they see a Starbucks. They remember feeling good –energetic, relaxed, convivial — after drinking coffee. It’s certainly not because they have happy recollections of nervousness and edginess.
So relax and enjoy your caffeine. And downing it will help you to do so!