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What Drinking Coffee Does to You

What Drinking Coffee Does to You

The chances are that you saw the title of this article and winced a little. Usually, things which are enjoyable bring negative side effects to our bodies. Alcohol, chocolate and fast-food are all fine examples of things which are enjoyable at the time but have negative long-term side effects on your health. So how does coffee compete with these ‘naughty’ foods and drink?

Drinking coffee is a great way to stay alert, both physically and mentally. It helps wake you up in the morning and aids your productivity, and help relieve workplace stress. Many of us drink up to 5 cups of the coffee a day, in various forms, from a black coffee to a mocha, or even one of those frozen coffees you can get from Starbucks. No matter how you like to mix it up, you need to be aware of the impact drinking coffee is having on your body.

Starting with the negative things about coffee…

One big rumour about coffee being bad for you comes from the effect it has on raising blood pressure. Although a temporary increase in blood pressure does occur, it is only really a problem if you already have naturally high blood pressure or are pregnant. Research suggests that limiting coffee consumption to 2 cups a day should reduce the harm coffee has on your baby’s health.

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    As with most things, too much coffee is bad for you. If you consume too much coffee (over 5 cups a day) you increase the likelihood of thinning of bone marrow. This impacts on how susceptible you are to a fracture, so, particularly for the elderly, keep coffee consumption to a sensible level.

    The other side effect which many people experience when they begin drinking coffee is an inability to fall asleep. Often, this is because coffee (or anything with caffeine in it) has been consumed too soon before sleep. To overcome this, I like to stop all caffeine consumption after 2pm each day, but remember that this affects different people differently.

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    So if they are the main negative impacts of drinking coffee, what about the positive side effects?

    Coffee’s positive side effects

    There are some surprising findings in the benefits of drinking coffee regularly which I think you will find comforting:

    • The British Coffee Association states that coffee can reduce the risk of fatal liver disease by up to 40%, with the most significant improvements being seen in people with already damaged livers…
    • The chances of developing type II diabetes, the UK’s fastest growing type of diabetes, are shown to be reduced with regular consumption of coffee.
    • Colorectal cancer is the world’s 3rd most commonly found cancer, and although research findings are mixed, there is a common trend showing a reduction in the chances of developing this type of cancer by around 20-50%.
    • According to further research, regular coffee drinkers may have less of a risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease in later life – by as much as 60%!

    There is no doubt that the findings here are pleasantly surprising. So if you were worried about drinking coffee, remember the facts above and how they are in your favour.

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    How you can make the most out of drinking coffee

    Finally, there are a few simple things to remember when drinking coffee. You will want to invest in a decent coffee machine as instant coffee can be highly processed. This will reduce the amount of benefit you receive. Stick to 2-4 cups a day unless you suffer from high blood pressure or are pregnant, in which case, ask your GP about the level of coffee is safe for you to consume.

    Coffee has a positive impact on your health and should be enjoyed. Each cup can help your body in the long-term just as much as it does in the mornings and through your average day. Keep a check on how much coffee you are drinking and enjoy every sip.

    Useful Links:

    National Archives on caffeine

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    The British Coffee Association

    What makes a good coffee?

    Featured photo credit: Close-up of a wonderful cup of hot coffee via Shutterstock and inline photo by anthony_p_c via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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