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What You Never Thought About When Drinking Energy Drinks

What You Never Thought About When Drinking Energy Drinks

Do you often feel tired, groggy, or have trouble focusing? Do you struggle to make it through the day? If so, you’re not alone. A growing number of people are turning to energy drinks as a pick-me-up. Though energy drinks have gained a tremendous amount of popularity over the years, have you ever taken the time to read what goes into them? If not, you may be surprised to learn what you’re really putting into your body.Due to their high levels of caffeine and other metabolic-boosting ingredients, energy drinks have been found to have numerous side effects. They can raise your blood pressure, boost your heart rate, cause sleeplessness, and have even been linked to disturbing your heart’s natural rhythm.  Though a lot of people chug energy drinks like water, this is not what they are intended for. Energy drinks have not been found to cause any serious side-effects when used in moderation; however, when they become a staple in your everyday routine, they can open the door to a host of negative effects.

What Energy Drinks Really Are

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    Starting with Red Bull’s tepid introduction to the U.S. in the late 1990s, energy drinks have gained a tremendous amount of steam—largely because most energy drinks were originally marketed as dietary supplements. As such, they were virtually free from FDA regulations.  Because those energy drinks weren’t forced to include the caffeine content and other ingredients on their cans, people naturally assumed that these drinks were perfectly safe.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t particularly true, as a growing number of deaths have since been attributed to heart-related issues caused by energy drinks. Check this website for further information on caffeine levels and the various problems energy drinks have had on the public.

    Beware of Sugar-Free Drinks

    Most energy drinks contain a laundry list of ingredients you have never heard of. Although most energy drinks include herbs and natural ingredients like ginseng or gingko balboa, they also contain a lot of artificial ones too. Many promote themselves as having no sugar. What they neglect to inform you of, however, is the artificial ingredient used in sugar’s place.  Sugarless energy drinks usually use either aspartame or sucralose as an artificial sweetener.  Both are relatively new sweeteners, and both raise a growing number of health and safety concerns. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has recently downgraded sucralose’s use from “safe” to “caution”, stating it should be avoided and “may pose a risk and needs to be better tested.”  Here’s a great chart that easily outlines the sweetener type in popular diet drinks.  Although sugar may not be healthy, at least it’s natural, and as such, it’s much safer than its artificial counterparts.

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      Energy drinks like to tout words like “all natural” or pride themselves on having natural sources of caffeine.  While this may sound good on paper, the truth is very different.  Energy drinks that say they are all natural usually get their caffeine from guarana, a seed from a South American plant which is almost identical to the coffee bean. Now get this: guarana seeds contain more than twice the amount of caffeine as coffee beans do. So although your drink does not contain coffee, it’s usually just as strong—if not stronger—than the average cup of Joe.  The level of advisable caffeine content varies per individual, so you should only consume energy drinks occasionally if you have noticed any kind of sensitivity to caffeine.

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      The Negative Effects of Energy Drinks and How to Avoid Them

      Energy drinks should be consumed in moderation, and never used in place of physical activity.  They naturally raise your heart rate, and coupled with strenuous physical activity, they can greatly damage your health.  It’s important to always read the labels that list the ingredients on energy drinks. If there’s an ingredient you can’t pronounce, think about drinking something else instead.  Remember that natural ingredients are always better than their artificial counterparts, and that sucralose and aspartame are not adequate substitutes. Also keep in mind that coffee, one of the most widely-consumed drinks in the world, naturally only contains one ingredient.

      From mild side effects to potentially lethal consequences, energy drinks should not be taken lightly. They may get the job done, but it’s a toss-up whether or not they’re really worth it.  If you’re among the millions of Americans who consume energy drinks on a daily basis, remember to drink in moderation.

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      Last Updated on July 10, 2020

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

      Boundaries are limits

      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
      • When do you feel disrespected?
      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
      • When do you want to be alone?
      • How much space do you need?

      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

      Sample language:

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      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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      Final Thoughts

      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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