Lighter Side: Is coffee secretly sabotaging your success?

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For anyone looking to improve their performance – and potentially save money at the same time – emotional intelligence expert Travis Bradberry says he’s found one. The only catch is; you’ll have to say goodbye to your daily Tim Hortons.

“Most people start drinking caffeine because it makes them feel more alert and improves their mood,” says Bradberry – but once you’re hooked, it actually has a negative impact on your performance.

The myth

In the past, several studies have suggested that caffeine actually improves cognitive task performance in the short term but Bradberry insists this is only because these studies fail to consider the participant’s caffeine habits.

New research from Johns Hopkins Medical School shows that performance increases due to caffeine intake are actually the result of caffeine drinkers experiencing a short-term reversal of caffeine withdrawal. 

By controlling caffeine use in participants, researchers found that caffeine-related performance improvement is non-existent without caffeine withdrawal.

“In essence, coming off caffeine reduces your cognitive performance and has a negative impact on your mood,” explains Bradberry. “The only way to get back to normal is to drink caffeine, and when you do drink it, you feel like it's taking you to new heights. In reality, the caffeine is just taking your performance back to normal for a short period.”

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