How I Quit Drinking Coffee and the Benefits I’ve Experienced

Today I have gone without coffee for 30 days.

It’s been an interesting experiment.

I started drinking coffee at a pretty late age, probably around 22 or 23.

Since then I’ve consumed three cups or more every day.

Lately I’ve become more interested in my own personal energy. And being hooked on coffee is a bit like the curve above. :)

So I wanted to see how getting rid of the coffee would affect my energy, mood and effectiveness.

I know that some get off coffee by slowly decreasing the amount of coffee they consume each week and perhaps by replacing it with tea or non-caffeinated alternatives.

I took another approach.

30 days ago I came down with a bad cold and pretty much knew that I would spend a few days in bed doing nothing more than reading and watching some TV.

I also knew that going without coffee would make me very sleepy.

So I combined the two things. I stopped drinking coffee and then I was sleeping a lot the next few days.

This made it easier to get through the most unpleasant days of sneezing and having a fever. And since I wasn’t doing anything special anyway it was OK to feel drowsy and sleep a lot.

Towards the end of that week my cold had decreased in power and so had my sleepiness.

Since then it’s been no problem to not drink coffee and I have experienced some positive benefits.

The big one is that my ability to focus has improved. That has affected my life in a few ways:

  • It has become easier to focus just on the task in front of me and shut out the rest of the distractions.
  • I’m less prone to procrastination. I didn’t really notice it while I was drinking coffee but my mind seemed to wander off in all kinds of ways a lot of the time. Now it’s easier to single-task and focus on one thing and I don’t feel the same need to check email or other distracting stuff.
  • I’m calmer. I’m a calm person to begin with but getting off coffee calmed and slowed my brain down. So I feel more relaxed more of the time. And it’s easier to think with clarity.

Getting of coffee has been a positive experience for me. It’s actually had more of a positive effect than I would have expected. I thought I would feel a little less stressed overall but it has made a significant dent in my ability to focus and concentrate. I also used to feel tired after a meal and used coffee immediately after the meal to boost my energy levels. Now I have a much more even energy-curve throughout the day.

So I’ll continue to stay coffee free and perhaps sprinkle in a cup of green tea or two once in while. I would recommend trying to go coffee free for 30 days and see how it affects your mind, body and life.

One way is do it like I did and go cold-turkey (perhaps the next time you’re ill or during some vacation days over the holidays). Another way is the one where you slowly decrease the amount of coffee you consume each week. And perhaps replace some of the coffee with less caffeinated teas or a couple of cups of decaf. If you get bad withdrawal symptoms then the second method may be the most useful one.

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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Brandon

    I went from 4-5 cups/day down to 1 (three days ago)…and the withdrawal is killing me – I didn’t even quit completely! moods have been quickly oscillating between irritable and depressed, and the headaches aren’t all that fun either.

    • FISH

      Hang in there! this is the roughest time and going from about 4 to 500 milligrams down to a hundred is a tremendous drop. Reduce your intake more gradually, this will help with the headaches and depression. I would always wait at least a day before reducing the amount again. This gave my body a break from continuously reducing all the time and a chance to build up my confidence.

  • Aaron

    Great sight….
    I am looking at giving it up to…
    how ever, I’m going one step further..
    No smoking as well

  • Aaron

    Well, Ill go in to a little more detail.

    I like to but my coffee, and I am spending at minimum, about $60 between pay day’s on my habit.

    I feel blurry and moody before my first sip, but when I consume that first coffee, I get a buz, coffee can make even the more clynical work environments feel warm and bubbly. How ever, this one purchase is not doing it any more. I now need to have, two, even three a day..
    Not to mention my scattered mind from all this. I do sleep fine, but it’s just bad through out the day.
    I wanna feel normal, and leveled.
    Plus, smoking the ciggys, this just add’s to feeling of being edgy, and not really feeling good all round.

    • FISH

      Hey way to go! I smoked about five years and when I quit I almost got my whole life back ( caffeine was still in the way at the time). I told myself I was not gonna let not doing something be so difficult and control my life. We can do anything we want, even if that anything means not doing something (caffeine,tobacco). If you don’t want to drink caffeine then it’s already to late for the drug to hold you down. It’s then your choice to whether to move forward or to let the drug completely destroy your confidence in your abilities. It’s just a plant don’t let a plant take your life away from you ( caffeine and tobacco). Lifes better with out the addictions, I know that first hand. Have a good time with your new life. Do something crazy if you have too. Just don’t do the things you hate.

  • Lauro

    I have only recently realized how important is my quitting coffee. It is truly holding me back from accomplishing some of the things that I want to accomplish in life, such as gaining perfect control over my own mind thereby increasing my access to higher thought patterns. This is important for work, continuing education and life success, the ability to maintain that constancy of creativity on a natural footing.

    Coffee is a sham. You wake up in the morning, take a shower, put on a pot of that Mexican or South American Organic from Starbucks – a truly delectable flavor – and go to work; or, if it’s a weekend, sit down with your delightful cup o’ joe with cinnamon, bring up the Wall Street Journal on the internet, catch up on international affairs or the business world. After twenty minutes you get up and get that second cup. Have you ever noticed that the second cup is never as good as the first?

    Here’s the problem with this fairy tale – FOCUS. Accomplishment generally comes from single-minded focus on a particular act, or toward wherever there is the desire for a particular accomplishment. Strong coffee works for the extremes, i.e. there is either too much or too little focus. There is never just that proper amount that could be the difference between true accomplishment and perpetual mediocrity. Coffee is a sham.

    The mind’s natural creative talents appear to be stifled by habitual caffeine intake. In almost every one of the above accounts from people whose lives have been affected by this drug their mental functioning has INCREASED in the long run, and they have returned to that primal ease of normality in life. Let us not be stunted anymore! Let us walk boldly, soberly through those DOORS of accomplishment.

    • FISH

      What a beautiful comment, absolutely and most definitely true. It’s got a really big hold on society and I feal it’s devouring one of our greatest qualities …potential. Keep up the posts and keep up the spirit everyone!

  • Rob

    I have given up coffee…for good this time. Day 4 without a cup of joe and I feel great. I have given up coffee before, only to start up again months later. I now realize why it has pulled me back time and time again. When I first start drinking coffee after a period of abstinence, it gives me an incredible high. I feel like I can accomplish anything, and for the first little while, I have extraordinary energy. However, as the days pass, this energy quickly evaporates and I fall into a perpetual state of fatigue. Every morning I wake up feeling drained, and only after the first few cups of joe do the withdrawal symptoms dissappear. At this point, I feel somewhat functional, but still nowhere near normal. Throughout the day I feel the need to constantly reach for another cup to sustain this functionality. I think psychologically, I feel another cup of coffee will recharge the batteries and give me a boost, but it never really does.

    MAKE NO MISTAKE ABOUT IT, COFFEE IS A DEBILITATING DRUG. There may be some legitimate health benefits, but not nearly enough to make a person want to live in an energy-deprived, nervous and scatter-brained state, every day of their life. I realize now that the energy highs, although they are incredible, are only fleeting. This tempts you into a destructive habit, as you strive to relive the initial high.

    I truly believe that coffee will be considered as socially acceptable as cigarettes are in a few decades time. I only hope that regular coffee drinkers get this message sooner rather than later. I like the idea of the 30 day challenge of going without coffee. This will be more convincing than anything I can write here. See for yourself the positive change this will have in your life.