Most of us know people who can’t function first thing in the morning until they have had their first cup or three of java. Without caffeine, they don’t talk. They don’t smile. They simply don’t function.
But is coffee always the answer? There was a time I battled a stomach ulcer and caffeine was the first thing the doctor put on my list of things I could no longer have. This was difficult for me. Not only did I drink nearly a pot of coffee in the morning, but I drank several Cokes throughout the rest of the day and into the evening.
Getting off caffeine was a habit I didn’t look forward to breaking.
But in order to heal my body, I had to do the right things for it. Obviously I had been doing a lot of things wrong, like working long hours, including weekends. I used caffeine to keep me focused rather than proper rest, food, and exercise. My stomach pain took me to the doctor, but the news changed the rest of my life.
I always believed that I was a healthy person, but that most of the healthier things in life I could do “later” in life. But a stomach ulcer at the age of 24 told me that later might be too late. I had to start them now. Here are some of the changes I made to my life that allowed me to be healthy, happy, rested enough to wake fully in the morning without resorting to a cup of coffee.
Every morning before I opened my eyes, I thought about what I wanted for the day. Not what I wanted to accomplish, but rather an intention. Rather than listing my “to-do” list, I thought about what I wanted to feel by the end of the day. My intention might be something like: “To easily manage the conflict at today’s office meeting without getting emotionally involved.”
By setting intentions, I was working to change how I lived my life and how I interacted with people. I used to revolve around reacting to my life rather than actively trying to live my life. I learned to be grateful for the small successes in my life and for the people in it rather than focusing on the long-term goals that kept changing as I learned to define what I wanted out of life.
It’s good to have goals, but focusing only on the future without being grateful for what I had in the present was killing me. In a very literal sense. My stomach had been my warning sign. I had been focusing on a lot of the wrong things in my life and none of the right things.
In addition I learned to move my body appropriately, eat well, and make sure I hydrated well.
Our bodies are intended to work well. Our natural state is to be healthy. When we are unhealthy at a young age, then something we are doing is wrong. Fortunately, my stomach healed. I learned to take care of myself is ways bigger than just myself. When you can do the same, you will live a bigger and greater life than you expected.