“I can’t calm my mind.” “It makes me sleepy.” “I don’t have time.” “It brings up many emotions.” “All I can think is ‘how much longer?.” According to experts, these are some of the top reasons people who would like to meditate give as reasons they cannot. If you’ve tried to develop a meditation practice and found yourself suffering from one of the aforementioned struggles, coffee can help! In fact, meditation / prayer was coffee’s first standard use in the modern world. Sufi monks discovered that coffee beans could be roasted and brewed into a wonderfully warm drink that enabled them to stay alert and focused during evening prayers. This ‘coffee-fueled prayer’ technique proved incredibly effective and soon spread to the Middle East before reaching Europe.
Getting into a positive, alert mental space
Coffee is a stimulant that reaches its full strength approximately twenty minutes after consumption. As a stimulant, coffee increases your ability to focus and minimizes the stress associated with repetitive tasks. While mediation is not stressful in and of itself, developing focus / mindfulness can be stressful — your body may get sore, unwanted thoughts demand attention, negative emotions appear, etc… each of these is a form of stress. Coffee helps prevent a stress response by releasing dopamine, a natural mood enhancer, and blocking the adenosine receptors that make you feel sleepy or vulnerable to less positive thoughts (for more details, click here). In short, drinking coffee before meditation helps you feel alert, relaxed, happier, and less susceptible to stress.
Forming purposeful habits
According to experts, creating a dedicated time for your meditation is vital to developing a practice. Be it one, five, ten, or sixty minutes, working any unscheduled task into your day can be challenging. As you are reading this blog, you probably drink at least one cup of coffee in the morning, making it the perfect proceeding habit / sensory trigger for your meditation. Between the smell, the taste, and the warmth of the coffee, three of your five senses are activated. Additionally, carving out time to meditate after your morning coffee affords you all the benefits of a caffeinated session as well as the formation of a purposeful habit. In time, your mind will associate coffee with a state of mindfulness. If you drink coffee at work or throughout the day, this association will eventually enable you to effortlessly enter a meditative mental / emotional state by smelling, touching, or drinking coffee — essentially when you encounter a trigger.
We hope this entry has shed some light on how effective a tool coffee is in helping you develop and maintain a sustained, purposeful, joyful meditation practice. Enjoying just one cup before your daily meditation practice can get you mentally and emotionally prepared and aid you in the creation of purposeful habits, positive triggers, and mindful living. To learn more about the mental, physical, and psychological benefits of coffee, check out other posts in our Wellness Series.
Additional general sources available on our Coffee & Health blog.