According to scientific research, the answer is yes! There have been many studies that show caffeine stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which produces the euphoria and pleasant feelings that we get from coffee. Additionally, the increase of dopamine levels in your brain can make you feel more awake and energized and stimulates the central nervous system. This primes the body and mind to be alert and focus on the task at hand. Likewise, previous research has also shown that coffee can assist in preventing depression among other positive effects of caffeine.
But what about stress?
Peter Kinderman, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Liverpool, presented the first study that uncovered the neurochemical pathways that enable caffeine to prevent some of the negative effects of stress on the brain. So, in addition to stimulating the release of dopamine, caffeine also inhibits receptors in the brain for the chemical adenosine. Researchers found that these receptors control the negative effects of chronic stress and when blocked, stress-induced behavior can be reversed. In addition to caffeine’s effect on brain chemistry, how else can you up-level your morning coffee and turn it into a stress reliever? The first suggestion is to add other stress-relieving ingredients to your morning cup.
Behaviors around your coffee drinking can also help to reduce stress.
Vishakha Shivdasani M.D. who is based out of Mumbai, recommends only two cups of coffee a day, early in the day. Shivdasani says you should stop drinking caffeinated coffee by about 2pm because it will remain as a stimulant in your bloodstream for about 8-10 hours. By ending your caffeine intake by mid-afternoon, you can get all the benefits coffee provides and still go to sleep at night. However, switching to decaf and adding some of the previously mentioned ingredients or behaviors can still contribute to a stress relieving routine.