How coffee and meditation can protect us from stress


The man of the modern civilised world is today usually protected from life-threatening dangers. Where we live, we do not face famine or deadly encounters with predators. Also, many diseases have already become benign to mankind. Such humans are thus spared from natural stress, or rather,stressful situations not directly related to our own survival have become for us.

We do not live in fear of being attacked by a wild animal or of starving to death. Instead, we are stressed by a confrontation with an unpleasant colleague at work or a low salary and an unpaid instalment. There are manysuch stressors in our lives, and we find ourselves in a never-ending cycle called chronic or long-term stress.

As the saying goes, "I'm in a rut". You have to deal with something all the time. Whether it be work obligations, social relationships, your own current traumas or unresolved childhood events. The unstoppable wheel of stress you are spinning has its consequences. Especially on your own health.


The body responds to stress with a specific response encoded in our genes. This response is fight or flight. It is based on the original stressors, where death was expected if one did nothing when encountering stress. Such primitive humans had to expend a lot of energy to either escape or overcome the mortal threat. The moment he did nothing, he would die.

Since we are not directly threatened with death from an unresolved problem, it is common for us to do nothing about our stress, we just keep suffering. Yet our body, according to its natural instincts, prepares itself to respond to stress. We all know the feeling when we feel stressed, that is, under pressure, tense and our heart races.


Constantly experiencing stress leads to both psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression. An unhealthy psyche also reflects on the body as psychosomatic problems. The typical increase in heart activity during stress can lead tocardiovascular diseases such as myocardial infarction if repeated frequently, i.e. prolonged stress .

The body's natural response to stress works on the principle of preserving life. It is paradoxical, then, that such instinct for self-preservation, if we consciously try to suppress it, may just be incompatible with life. Cardiovascular disease, as one of the consequences of prolonged stress, is one of the most common causes of death.


So how do we get away from this dangerous cycle of long-term stress? Thebody's natural response to stress is controlled by the activated HPA axis, which sends information to the body to produce the so-called stress hormone cortisol and the related adrenaline. These hormones set up, according to a person's primal setting, our body for action, i.e., attack or flight.

Constantly encountering our stressors unnaturally skews the activity of the HPA axis and it becomes overactive. In reversing this overactivation, a cup of coffee can help. Simply put, the caffeine in coffee will also refresh the specific receptors in our body that are involved in cortisol uptake and whose activity has been paralyzed by the overload of stress. Thanks to coffee, they can re-establish their function and thus adjust the feedback loop for the proper functioning of the HPA axis.


The body's response to stress is the responsibility of the HPA axis, which is controlled by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The specific designation of a particular stimulus as a stressor is a result of the processes of our mind, which is also defined by the brain. It standsto reason, therefore , thatour mind, our brain,will again effectively combat our stress.

What we take in, and especially in our diet, is transformed in our body into individual substances that affect the function of the whole body, including our brain. In order for it to function well, to have all the right nutrients for the production of hormones, neurotransmitters and other compounds that maintain the proper function of the mind, we must follow the principles of a healthy lifestyle.


A healthy diet is the foundation of a healthy life and mind. The metabolic processes in our body, include such activities that are related to digestion and utilization of the ingested nutrients for the body's needs. At the same time, oxidants are produced as a by-product of these processes, which include, for example, respiration. With a poor diet and an unhealthy environment, their quantity increases.

In the case of oxidative stress, i.e. a large amount of oxidants in our body that our own antioxidants can no longer eliminate, antioxidants taken from food, for example, help to combat them. Roasted coffeeis one such aid . Due to its frequent consumption, coffee is even one of the most important antioxidants in the human diet.


In addition to a healthy diet, a life-protecting package against stress also includes sufficient exercise and relaxation. Relaxation techniques can include massage and breathing exercises, for example. Meditation should then be another part of a healthy lifestyle .

We can think of meditation as activities with the aim ofcultivating the mind and gaining insight. The ultimate goal is then to achieve an altered state of consciousness. Meditation turns one's perception inward. It detaches from the influences of everything external, including those intrusive stressors. It is a typical characteristic of Eastern religions, especially associated with Buddhism. However, its influence on brain processes has also been demonstrated by Western medicine.


Modern medical technology provides today's scientists with ways to observe what is going on in our minds. The results of functional magnetic resonance imaging not only show photographs of the brain, but can also plot the processes taking place within it. Through such observations, it has been found that meditation dampens the activity of certain parts of the brain, or prevents them from being reactivated.

Thus, we can assume that by practicing meditation, we protect ourselves from being overly affected by external influences, and therefore stressors. By meditating, we thus gain harmony in the inner experience of environmental factors. Buddhism describes meditation as bringing the mind to a balanced state that is free from extremes.


We don't have to dedicate our lives to meditation, go to Tibet, and contemplate the elevation of our own consciousness in an equilibristic yoga position to avoid the destructive effects of long-term stress on our health. The topic of our time, what books are now being written and lectures given , is themeditation technique of mindfulness.

Basically,it is a set of techniques that aim tohelp a person focus and work on their stress and themselves. The English name mindfulness means mindfulness in English . Loosely translated , it isintentional mindfulness. Practically, mindfulness is about perceiving what is happening in the present moment without any evaluation or prejudice.


Just as movement is an exercise for the body and the biochemical functioning of the brain, mindfulness trains the functioning of our mind. In essence, itrewiresit to perceive the current moment, what is happening in our life right now in this moment. In this way, it is actually the opposite of anti-stress, which focuses not on what has been, but primarily on what will be.

In deep meditation there are changes in the frequency of the brain waves. Our body and mind calms down. Conversely, when you drink a cup of your favorite coffee, the caffeine activates us and the frequency of brain waves increases. Thus, drinking coffee and meditation at the same time are mutually exclusive. However, if you intend to use your work break to briefly relax and practice mindfulness, coffee is a great help in this regard.


In a fresh cup of coffee, there are a multitude of aromas and flavours that want you to notice them. Create a small moment for yourself and your coffee. Give yourself ten minutes without any disturbance from your surroundings. Inthat moment, there is nothing else for you but coffee.

You're just drinking coffee. Pay attention to it. Notice all the little things, what cup is it in, how do you hold it, how does it smell, how does it taste, how does it feel when you sip the hot coffee? Anything you notice when you drink coffee, just examine it. Don't judge any feeling or thought and try to keep your attention on your cup of coffee. Do not drift your mind to work or any other concerns. focus only on the perception of the coffee.

These ten mindful minutes with your coffee are a training of your mind, the consequences of which are:

  • reduced stress levels and improved immune system function,
  • improving concentration and attention,
  • improved flexibility of thought,
  • positive effects on creativity and memory.