A recent research study reports that, at least for women, drinking four or more cups of coffee per day lowers the relative risk of depression by 20 percent, compared with women who drink less than 100 mg coffee (about one cup) a day.
This probably isn’t news to anyone who’s downed a cup of coffee and quickly felt more energized, focused, and light-hearted. However, for some people coffee can bring on jitters, insomnia, irritability, heartburn, and a host of other unpleasantries. Coffee is a mixed bag, and weighing the pros and cons will result in a different decision for each person. Kind of like life itself, right? Funny how that works.
How many times have your judgments of somebody else’s choices interfered with your peace of mind and happiness? Have you ever felt threatened when someone in your life (even if tangentially, such as somebody in a magazine article) makes decisions that you feel wouldn’t work for you?
It can be difficult to “agree to disagree” at times. This can happen when we’re ambivalent about our personal choices in a particular arena and at a subconscious level would welcome an excuse to change our behavior.
Now, I’ll admit that I love the mental, emotional, and physical boost of coffee. However, I also know that in my case, more than half a mug of the stuff usually induces pandemonium. There is a fine line between enthusiasm and irritability. So, in my “finer” moments my intention is to limit coffee to half a mug, perhaps one day a week, if that.
However, a very dear friend of mine has worked their way up to a Starbucks Venti Vanilla Latte with six shots of espresso, an order which causes even the Starbucks barristas consternation. Upon hearing of this potentially deadly concoction, I was simultaneously alarmed and impressed, and I told my friend that I stand ready to drive them to the nearest emergency room after their next indulgence. Such a calamitous consequence has not occurred, because my friend seems to handle this bucket of java without repercussions.
So, while I could pride myself at not judging them, the truth is that the first part of “live and let live” can be a challenge for me. In other words, when others conduct their lives differently than me, sometimes I suspect that they are “right” and I am “wrong”. Not so mature. Call it people-pleasing, a deficiency in self-knowledge, a dysfunctional relationship with coffee, or what you will, on occasion I can quickly cast aside what I’ve gleaned from personal experience and get into the ring with coffee again.
Never mind that my first experience with coffee necessitated a trip to the nurse’s office in high school. Never mind that the stuff tends to drain all of the color out of my face (and brain), alarming others and myself. Never mind that I suddenly become overly exuberant and talk incessantly for hours, probably annoying and boring those unlucky enough to be in the vicinity.
No, there are those moments when I rationalize that I’m demonstrating “acceptance of others” by joining them in a cup of coffee, I disregard my particular needs, and this does not exemplify healthy self-care. While my love-hate relationship with coffee may not seem that dangerous, it’s an example of how easily we can be influenced by other people’s choices into either questioning our own or judging others’ experiences, rather than recognizing that we are all individuals and that one person’s great decision might be another person’s disaster.
So, what about you? Can you think of an instance where you’ve chosen a different path than a friend or family member? Are you able to respect their decision while honoring your own?
Are there people in your life who express intolerance or seem threatened when the two of you don’t see eye to eye on a particular matter? How are you at agreeing to disagree with people, at learning to “live and let live”, and at being true to yourself? And as for what the truth might be for you, how about asking yourself this question, “Does it work?”, which can be an eye-opener (with or without the coffee).