Travis Bradberry at Forbes.com recently wrote a piece about how the regular consumption of caffeine can be very bad for your EQ, or Emotional Intelligence. This is startling news for anyone who consumes coffee as a way to start their day. Some even use coffee to start their afternoons and evenings as well.
Bradberry begins by admitting that walking away from coffee might be a bit tough. Coffee has been proven to make people more alert and to improve their short-term cognition. But then there is the bad news.
“New research from Johns Hopkins Medical School shows that performance increases due to caffeine intake are the result of caffeine drinkers experiencing a short-term reversal of caffeine withdrawal. By controlling for caffeine use in study participants, John Hopkins researchers found that caffeine-related performance improvement is nonexistent without caffeine withdrawal. In essence, coming off caffeine reduces your cognitive performance and has a negative impact on your mood.”
In other words, he is arguing that caffeine withdrawal takes away everything you gain by drinking caffeine in the first place. Some people need caffeine just to be normal, meaning that if you don’t have coffee, you’re a dunce.
Then, he talks about the release of adrenaline from the use of caffeine. He says that adrenaline, the “fight or flight” chemical in your body, can have you responding to an email in the same way you would respond to the threat of a bear in the woods. Having your emotions jacked up unnecessarily can be bad for you in the long-run.
“The negative effects of a caffeine-generated adrenaline surge are not just behavioral. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that large doses of caffeine raise blood pressure, stimulate the heart, and produce rapid shallow breathing, which readers of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 know deprives the brain of the oxygen needed to keep your thinking calm and rational.”
Another point that Bradberry makes is that caffeine affects the quality of your sleep. By taking 24 hours to get out of your system, coffee can reduce the amount of Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep that you get each night, waking you up with an emotional handicap that can only be overcome by drinking more coffee.