Is Coffee The Key To Workplace Happiness?
People really love their coffee, and some are even proud to admit their “addiction”. There are many coffee-related memes suggesting our need for that steaming cup of coffee. But is coffee the key to workplace happiness?
Have you ever walked into an office building with a coffee smell so strong, you had to stop and ask if you’re at the right place and that it is, in fact, not a coffee shop?
The ingredient in coffee that makes us love it so much is, of course, caffeine. A cup of brewed coffee contains about 70-140mg of caffeine, where a cup of instant coffee contains about 30-60mg of caffeine. This depends on the type of coffee and the strength or serving size.
But why do we love coffee so much? Maybe this can shed some light on our workplace happiness obsession:
“First I drink the coffee, then I do the things”
Our brains release a chemical called adenosine that causes us to feel sleepy. Caffeine interferes with your brain’s ability to respond to adenosine by blocking the receptors it’s supposed to bind to. Caffeine and adenosine have similar molecular structures which makes this possible. When your brain isn’t taking up the adenosine, you don’t feel sleepy anymore. Coffee can have its first effects just 10 minutes after you had your cup and can last for about 4 hours.
“Coffee makes me happy. You, not so much”
Coffee stimulates your brain to release the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical that makes you experience feelings of euphoria and pleasure. Some people reckon that you don’t get physically addicted to caffeine, but rather that you get behaviourally addicted to the happiness coffee produces. However, regular coffee consumption does cause some biochemical adjustments in your brain and mimics the effect of marijuana and cocaine. It also produces withdrawal symptoms like headaches and irritability when going off it cold-turkey.
“Coffee: Because anger management is too expensive”
The calming effect of coffee might be thanks to the extra dopamine released in your brain. But it might also be that, because you are dependent on coffee, you feel irritable when you don’t have your coffee. Coffee withdrawal causes irritability and anger, so if you’re used to your cup of coffee, don’t skip your cup. The workplace happiness level depends on you!
“How do you feel when there is no coffee? Depresso.”
Coffee might literally be able to help with depression. Two characteristics of depression are the inability to feel pleasure and the lack of motivation. By stimulating the dopamine release and blocking the adenosine from binding to their receptors, caffeine achieves this. However, there is a new hypothesis that depression is caused by inflammation in the brain and that the antioxidants in coffee may alleviate this kind of inflammation. Plus, acute sleep deprivation has also recently been found to be helpful in treating depression. Having a cup of coffee to keep you awake a little longer at night once in a while might not be the worst idea.
“Coffee is my favourite co-worker”
Quality coffee is a cost-effective way to improve company morale and show your employees that they’re valued. It can help them feel happy, motivated, less stressed, and more productive at the office.
Although moderate coffee consumption has some health benefits, consuming too much coffee coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, a poor diet, and chronically elevated stress levels can do more harm than good. Pay attention to how your body reacts to coffee. If it makes you feel shaky and irritable with increased pain and other physical distress after just a short while, rather give the coffee a pass.