It’s early in the morning, you’ve just woken up, and you’re feeling groggy. The first thing you think of is where you’re going to get that cup of coffee. Or it’s early afternoon, you’ve just eaten lunch, and you’re starting to feel tired. So you hop on down to the coffee shop for your afternoon cup of joe.
But while coffee has numerous health benefits, many Americans are trying to reduce their caffeine consumption. Caffeine in all of its various forms is probably the most widely consumed drug in the United States today. It’s an incredibly powerful drug too, with severe withdrawal symptoms. And the more caffeine people ingest, the more desensitized they become to its effects. Fortunately, you don’t always have to consume caffeine in order to benefit from some of its effects.
Researchers recently sought to discover whether there were any psychological effects when people were exposed to reminders of coffee and its consumption. Then they sought to determine whether there were any physiological responses that resulted from that.
Interestingly enough, researchers discovered that there were effects from just thinking about coffee. Just thinking about coffee or seeing images of coffee increased the participants’ state of arousal, activating their brains in a way similar to if they had actually consumed coffee.
While the study’s results are interesting, it would be even more interesting to see how long-term these effects last. We can’t imagine that the psychological stimulation from looking at images of coffee would be able to occur day after day, as at some point the mind would realize that no coffee was forthcoming and the stimulation would wear off. But if you’re looking for an afternoon pick me up and you can’t get coffee in your system immediately, it’s good to know that just giving yourself some psychological cues (like looking at the picture above) may be enough to give yourself a temporary boost of energy and alertness.