Many people enjoy a cup of coffee each day for the caffeine kick, but quickly regret it when they crash later in the day or feel like they need another cup. The American Psychological Association recognizes that too much caffeine can actually have adverse effects on your mental health, such as jitters, trouble sleeping, and irritability.
Knowing this information, I went on a hunt for a caffeine-free alternative that would help me stay awake without the detrimental side effects to my mind.
That’s why I switched to drinking ginger tea every day for a week. Here’s how it affected my mental health.
1. I experienced stress relief
With regular work, family, and household responsibilities, it’s no wonder that everyone wants a boost of caffeine to get through the day. However, drinks like coffee can lead to side effects such as jitters that may worsen stress and anxiety.
My experience: After working a hectic week as a self-employed person, I reflected and found that I handled it with ease compared to prior weeks. My mind wasn’t constantly on my to-do list, and I didn’t worry about getting everything done. I slept more soundly because my racing thoughts disappeared. I also had more energy and no longer felt overwhelmed.
I felt like a weight had been lifted, and the only difference I made to my routine was drinking ginger tea every morning that week. Later, I found out that research has compared ginger to benzodiazepine drugs in terms of indicating similar success in reducing anxiety and stress.
2. My memory, attention, and focus was sharpened
When working from home, it can be challenging to show discipline in completing your assignments, especially during these unprecedented times. With how busy our lives are in the present, it can be hard to maintain focus and remember everything you have on your plate. Not to mention, aging can also significantly impact your memory, attention, and focus.
My experience: I was laser-focused on getting work completed during the week I drank ginger tea. I didn’t find myself deterring from the task at hand to end up in my email inbox or scrolling endlessly through social media. As a result, I was able to get through my work faster, evidenced by being able to shut off my computer at five sharp rather than sneaking into the evening hours after dinner. While I don’t have signs of memory loss or early on-set dementia, I was able to recall conversations with my husband and clients, as well as other things I needed to remember more accurately. This improved communication and overall outcomes in my relationships.
This should be no surprise, as studies show the link between ginger extract and improved cognitive function. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are the main reasons for this correlation because ginger increases blood flow to the brain, improves vagus nerve health and function, and increases neurotransmitters’ levels. Ginger also affects the release of dopamine in the brain, known as the “motivation molecule,” as it increases productivity.
3. My mood was improved
Many different factors can influence someone’s bad mood. But, when it becomes a constant struggle, you may want to look at your habits to determine if there is a reason behind it. Simple lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, sleep, and self-care can make a huge impact on your mood. Your general practitioner can also recommend a blood work panel to be done to see if there is something more serious going on.
My experience: For me, changing my morning drink of choice from coffee to ginger tea did something I didn’t expect. It worked wonders for improving my mood on a regular basis in only a week. I laughed and smiled more, as well as enjoyed the day-to-day. My lifted spirits and energy also increased my confidence with everyone around me. It made me remember Tim Ferriss’s mention of switching to a brew of ginger tea and turmeric in his book The 4-Hour Workweek.
Ginger is known to affect the release of serotonin in the brain, which is called the “happiness molecule.” It helps maintain blood sugar levels and increases blood flow to the brain, affecting your energy levels and mood.
If you want to experience the effects of ginger tea in place of caffeinated beverages like coffee, you can pick up the tea bags at your local grocery store and implement the healthy substitute into your morning routine.
Samantha Hawrylack is a personal finance expert, full-time entrepreneur, and co-founder of How To FIRE. She has been featured in publications like Forbes, MSN, Yahoo! Finance, Grow, and Fox Business. She’s passionate about helping others reach the freedom and flexibility they crave through the FIRE movement and life optimization. You can find her on Twitter @HowToFIRE.