Zen and Caffeine: Tranquil Energy

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.

Preparing for Zen Tea Ceremony

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.

Zen Tea Ceremony Green Tea

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!

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4 Responses to Zen and Caffeine: Tranquil Energy

  1. Roland Griffiths (not “Robin!”) worked closely with us in writing The World of Caffeine, actually vetted our manuscript prior to publication, and strongly endorsed the contents of the book when it appeared. Yes, he does acknowledge that caffeine can produce some anxiety in sensitive people. But all psychoactive drugs have wide-ranging effects, making some people feel one way an others feel another way. What you fail to mention is that, based on his own double-blind, peer-reviewed study, caffeine, even as little as 100 mg taken in the morning, will improve the mood of most people and help relax most people for the entire day!

    Your other stats about people trying to quit are simply fabrications.

    • jcjc777 says:

      The quote “56% of caffeine users report a desire or unsuccessful attempts to stop or reduce usage, and 14% do stop.” is from Roland’s book that I mentioned; shall we ask him for the source he used?

      • With all of the scary claims about caffeine’s imaginary bad effects, it isn’t surprising that a fair number of people believe that they would be better off not using caffeine. For instance, even though caffeine is very effective at reducing heart pathologies, people are repeatedly warned that caffeine is bad for the heart! However, such unmerited fears do not constitute evidence that caffeine is creating any problems for most of these people. And, because caffeine, like any other drug, has different effects on different people, I suppose that 14%, or one in seven people, might be better off greatly reducing or even eliminating their caffeine intake, The bottom line is that a moderate use of caffeine is beneficial for the great majority of people but certainly is not good for everybody!

  2. John Campbell says:

    Robin Griffiths writes in ‘Substance Abuse: A comprehensive textbook (2011); “The anxiogenic effects of caffeine are well established.”He also says “Yes, I believe that even moderate doses of caffeine can cause anxiety in sensitive individuals.”

    56% of caffeine users report a desire or unsuccessful attempts to stop or reduce usage, and 14% do stop.