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Day 29

I participated in a study about MMORPG players problems with gaming. Link here. Just send him an e-mail, he gets back to you pretty quickly with a word doc of 12 questions that takes about an hour to write out answers to. It's basically all thigns that we write about on here anyways, and that we've put a great deal of thought into. I feel like this community, on average, is more capable of answering these questions in a useful way than other participants they might get, so I hope others will do it as well. I think that there is a lot of work to do in the research-world about gaming addiction: the couple times I sought therapy when things were bad, I was paired with older therapists who specialized in gambling addiction and didn't even know what an RPG was.

In other news...

It's such a strange feeling simultaneously being bored with my habits and enjoying/being proud of them. I resist them so hard internally. Like my mind gets bored of being so stable. Days like this it's easy to see why addictive things are so dangerous to me. 

I'm listening to the audiobook Grit during my runs and car drives. It seems to be about persistence. The author mentions a few studies that measured short-term 'grit' (persistence, determination, ability to accept failure, etc.) in ways like endurance running and found it to predict long-term success/happiness (they controlled for physical fitness).

It's funny, and similar to my first paragraph, how obviously good something can be but still our bodies resist it. Like what actually is it that makes a person give-up on something they want. Self-doubt? Okay, but what if the habit was a cure for self-doubt and there is a bunch of evidence to prove it? What then causes the give-up? Doubt over the evidence? I just don't get it, even though I experience it. It's kinda the same with exercise. We know that it just makes life better, it's basically a fact at this point. Yet so many people just chose not to. It seems ridiculous to ask somebody if they would want a better life at the cost of 30-60 min. and have them say no, but that is the most common answer. I've been working out forever. I enjoy both the process and the endpoint. Still like half the time my brain is like 'nah'.

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First ever public journal, here we go. I've been an addict my entire life to different things. Drugs, games, sex, work. With games it started when I was young growing up in the country. Morrowind

Day 19 8:30 AM, did most of my morning routine, and I can already tell that today is going to be a 'just get through it' kind of day. Dark rainy weather and the start of a new work week. The perf

Day 33 Just a quick entry because I slept in and am feeling behind. Got to run into town in a bit to pick up some equipment that I'll have to spend the next few days testing, but more importantly

7 hours ago, Lampshade said:

It's such a strange feeling simultaneously being bored with my habits and enjoying/being proud of them. I resist them so hard internally. Like my mind gets bored of being so stable. Days like this it's easy to see why addictive things are so dangerous to me. 

Thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis so much. Why is instability so tempting?

8 hours ago, Lampshade said:

Like what actually is it that makes a person give-up on something they want. Self-doubt? Okay, but what if the habit was a cure for self-doubt and there is a bunch of evidence to prove it? What then causes the give-up? Doubt over the evidence? I just don't get it, even though I experience it. It's kinda the same with exercise. We know that it just makes life better, it's basically a fact at this point. Yet so many people just chose not to. It seems ridiculous to ask somebody if they would want a better life at the cost of 30-60 min. and have them say no, but that is the most common answer. I've been working out forever. I enjoy both the process and the endpoint. Still like half the time my brain is like 'nah'.

I think if somebody knew how to motivate people to do things that are good for them that somebody would be really rich. 😆

Maybe to be motivated to do those things you need a secure attachment style. Which, like, nobody has. Even people who are ripped are probably just coping with their anxious/insecure attachment style by compensating.

I think also, doing unpleasant things and keeping a routine can be skills that are practiced. Like most skills, it's harder to learn as an adult. How many of our parents made us exercise every day? Or do healthy habits besides brushing our teeth? (I'm assuming most people who got addicted to video games were probably escaping something, and that most people escaping something had parents that were not authoritative (authoritative parent => securely attached child)).

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10 hours ago, Lampshade said:

Like what actually is it that makes a person give-up on something they want. Self-doubt? Okay, but what if the habit was a cure for self-doubt and there is a bunch of evidence to prove it? What then causes the give-up? Doubt over the evidence? I just don't get it, even though I experience it. It's kinda the same with exercise. We know that it just makes life better, it's basically a fact at this point. Yet so many people just chose not to. It seems ridiculous to ask somebody if they would want a better life at the cost of 30-60 min. and have them say no, but that is the most common answer.

I think it's because when you start something, you don't see any results for a long time. In today's world, patience is extremely difficult to cultivate. I was actually thinking about this earlier. Imagine how insane life would be if you did something once, and your body immediately reacted as if you had done that thing every day for twenty years. Smoke a cigarette, drop dead. Eat a cheeseburger, gain 100 pounds. Eat a carrot, turn into Mr. Clean. That would be a lot more obvious, and easier. But life ain't that way. Good or bad, change takes time. And our memories play hell with us, which doesn't make it easier.

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15 hours ago, codepants said:

I think if somebody knew how to motivate people to do things that are good for them that somebody would be really rich. 😆

Maybe to be motivated to do those things you need a secure attachment style. Which, like, nobody has. Even people who are ripped are probably just coping with their anxious/insecure attachment style by compensating.

Lol man if that person existed I kinda feel like we would all just put on our blinders and pretend they didn't.

What do you mean by secure vs. unsecure attachment styles?

13 hours ago, JSmith said:

Imagine how insane life would be if you did something once, and your body immediately reacted as if you had done that thing every day for twenty years.

That's a really fun thought experiment. Definitely going to be in my head for a while

Day 30

1 month. It seems like both such a short time and such a long time. What's shocking to me is how much different of a person I feel like compared to a month ago. I keep imagining this recent version of myself side-by-side against where I was 30 days ago and the contrast is crazy. Time moves slower. I stand up straighter. I'm better at looking people in the eye. My habits are sticking. I'm still overwhelmed with life but I feel like I at least have a chance to deal with it, or the ability to put in a good effort at least. That's compared to avoiding the feeling and pretending that everything is okay. Fundamentally, I feel like before I was a living-lie, and am now a more honest version of myself.

Reading has been the thing that's gotten me through. It's not the most productive hobby, nor the most creative. I'm sure there would be 'better' ways to spend my time. I'm okay with that, though. Most of my work day is spent learning new things, so it's not like I'm stagnating mentally or anything. I guess I'm also doing pretty good with exercise and I count that as a hobby. The lack of creativity is tougher; I would love to get back into writing but I'm not feeling up to the effort right now. Again, since I'm still considering myself in the early days of being a less addicted person, I'm okay with cutting myself some slack and just resting in novels. Maybe someday creative writing will be back in life. I do miss fun imagination, gaming used to give me that.

Today we're driving an hour to pick up a tv stand. It was me that said (around 30 days ago) that I wanted a tv again. Now I really don't, but my wife got kinda excited about the idea. The plus is that I could probably use some more braindead time. And I do love having sports on while I do my morning routine. It's just going to slow down that morning routine and risk sucking me in. Also makes it easy to be lazy at night. Gives the opportunity to watch stuff with my S.O., though, which is good. Idk, it's complicated and I'm all over the place with it

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On 11/12/2020 at 8:37 AM, Lampshade said:

@BooksandTrees Bunch of great stuff, thank you. I'm going to respond to most as a way of organizing my thoughts.

You first mentioned one of the things that I was struggling most with, the idea of consistent habit vs. deep work. Mostly for the writing, reading, and experiments. For the rest I've found I find I am more likely to keep with it it if I make it a daily habit. However, a day divided as much as I have above feels like it would be jarring, and too diverse. I think I can do A/B days for Reading+Writing /Experiments+Coursera.

Family time and hobbies I try to overlap. My wife and I workout together 3/5 days for example, so I count that as hobby, family, and exercise. I also consider spending time with her and the dogs to be something of a hobby. Basically just talking, learning, or doing what they want to do. Other than that the only hobbies I have since quitting gaming are stretching and readings. I also count those as family time because I am in the same room and available.

Scheduling breaks is good advice. My plan was to just work through the dailies until around lunch time, then take an hour-ish.

There's a lack of flexibility the way the schedule is done right now, for sure. It doesn't account for spending half-an hour writing a journal entry, for example, lol. You're right about the sleep too, I know for a fact that there will be days I sleep in, or have another appointment. It would be nice to not feel awful when that happens. I have a general feeling that there's just too much that I'm trying to pack into a day. I tried to account for that by leaving 3 hours open during the day, but yeah. Unfortunately 60 hour work weeks are kinda expected for my career track. A/B days seems like the most obvious answer to bring in more flexability and deep work.  It's possible I'm getting too carried away with trying to turn everything into a daily habit.

Truth. So hard to cut things out, though. Especially when feeling optimistic and motivated. Stay tuned for v2

Day 28

Going to keep this one short but I do have one update. My dog's mobility in his back end took a big down-turn last night. He's probably not going to make it to the winter. This will be the 3rd family dog that I've seen go to mobility problems, and the first dog that was raised by my S.O and I that we will have to put down. It's heartbreaking, but he made it to old age and had a rich, full life and a good death is one of the best gifts we can give him. We got him as a puppy when we were 18, so he got to be young and reckless when we were the same. He traveled to a bunch of new places and had no major health scares aside from those coming from old age in the last year or two. He's spent the last 7 years exploring the woods that surround our house (supervised, he was not a loose dog), and the last few of those he got to spend barking at squirrels and rabbits in from the deck. Lately it's been more sleeping on the deck, but getting him to that point was always my goal.

I think one of the reasons we feel so stressed out while quitting is figuring out a structure to life. It looks like you have a good amount of activities accumulated and are going through the natural process of piecing together something tangible. Don't let the schedule define you but allow yourself the freedom to partake in those activities you feel like doing and rank them with priority when needed. Maybe you need to clean or pay a bill etc. 

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10 hours ago, Lampshade said:

What do you mean by secure vs. unsecure attachment styles?

That's from the theory of attachment styles. Basically, secure individuals had parents that were authoritative—loving, caring, not too strict but not too lenient—and learned that they can be themselves and explore the world and still be loved. The other attachment styles (preoccupied, dismissive, and fearful) stem from other parenting styles (authoritarian, permissive, disengaged): if your parents were too strict, you're worried about getting in trouble; too lenient, and you don't feel like you need others; too distant and unloving, and you don't trust yourself OR other people.

tl;dr we learned from the way our parents treated us whether the world was safe or scary, and thus we either feel secure in our own skin and happy with ourselves, or afraid all the time and insecure, or we push people away, etc. etc.

I was trying to say that nobody has perfect parents so we're all a little f'd up and don't want to work on ourselves unless we're compensating for something. And I'm... half joking?

10 hours ago, Lampshade said:

Reading has been the thing that's gotten me through. It's not the most productive hobby, nor the most creative. I'm sure there would be 'better' ways to spend my time.

I actually think of reading as a very creative hobby. When you watch TV, you are consuming, pure and simple. When you read TV, your brain fills in what's not described. That's why I generally regret watching a movie of a book before reading the book—I feel like I'm no longer allowed to imagine what the characters look like.

Anyway, reading reduces your change of getting Alzheimer's; reduces stress (by a lot - 5 minutes can reduce stress by more than 50%); increases your verbal intelligence; and promotes physical, mental, and emotional development. Sounds pretty productive to me. :)

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Day 31

5:30 wake-up today. Was supposed to go for a big hike but my connection to the group flaked out. Sucks cause I'm trying to meet new people and this was a good group that shared my interests. Oh well, hoping there's another one that I'm invited to. Regardless, stayed awake, and plan on waking up at 5:30 this work-week coming up.

So tired. Must not sleep.

There's a craft sale at my community center I'm going to hit up with the SO. Included in the $2 admission is a coffee. It's gonna be old country folk coffee too, thick and strong. The kind that makes your breath smell like the inside of a cab-dispatchers office. Can't wait.

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Day 32

I'm so grateful that I picked up running longer distances this summer because the lessons, feelings, and accomplishments trickle so much into everyday life. It's amazing how often you just gotta keep going (at whatever) when you really don't want to. This message brought to you by another stupid-o'clock, uncaffeinated wakeup.

Trying to decide whether to work on the couch or in my office today. Couch is so much comfier but makes it harder to get into business mode. Maybe just a little bit of couch work. It's rainy and cold outside and I have a fire going. Prime coze.

Got a bunch of e-mails to write requesting letters of reference. Been procrastinating it because, you know, social stuff. I'm not anticipating any issues from the people I'm asking, just the classic social anxiety. There's a huge range of time I can spend on each one. Most of them know me pretty well so I could probably get away with a couple lines, but the internet recommends putting together whole packets with all the info that they need. That's obviously the choice that does the job better, but takes up a few hours rather than 15-20 mins. I'll probably just hum/haw about it for another couple hours rather than making a decision.

21 hours ago, TheNewMe2.0 said:

Sounds like you have some cool things planned. My mom goes antique shopping reminds me of your craft sales. Maybe those would be interesting too. Going for a hike with a group sounds fun.

We go antiquing often too! I enjoy it, old stuff was made so much better than newer stuff. At least the newer stuff that I can afford. It's interesting too to think about the process that went into making the things, specially if it's handmade. I feel like the average level of individual craftmanship, and the ability/time/patience to apply it, was way higher in the past. Again, at least in terms of things I am exposed to. We went into the Brick the other day and looked at some bookshelves, they felt like they would crumble if I leaned against it, and probably only last 5 years before sagging, despite being like $300. Meanwhile, I've got some 100+ year old pieces that  that I'd be afraid to bonk against. I love finding wooden stuff that's literally older than Canada as a Country. Can't even imagine outside of North America.

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Day 33

Just a quick entry because I slept in and am feeling behind. Got to run into town in a bit to pick up some equipment that I'll have to spend the next few days testing, but more importantly to pick up the next Stormlight Archives book aw yea.

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Good luck getting your work done. I know how it is struggling to get things done like that. Applying for license renewal is a bit of a process for me right now. I haven't found anything that cool to buy at antique shops but I feel you on things being more nicely made in the past. I saw some old superhero toys that I thought were cool. It's got character.

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Day 34

4:30 wakeup today, plus had to take the dog out a couple times last night. Suuuper sleepy and planning on napping later on.

Wife and I are watching The Queen's Gambit on Netflix. It's pretty good. The main character does this thing where she gets super focused and turns into a killer on the board. It reminds

A lot of it reminds me of gaming. The routine of getting pieces just right reminds me of setting the mouse and keyboard just right. Mostly, I miss the level of locked in focus that comes with going against somebody. And the things that you do stemming from that focus. And the confident feeling of being good at something. And the comfort of that confidence. And the feeling of euphoria during the first hour or so of a really good game. And the times of staying up late and managing to ignore the fact that you shouldn't.

There's a lot I miss about gaming. It's tough to have to look at parts of your life and see things that matter to you and have to cut them out because of the cost. Competition is a good example. I can run a few races a year, play the occasional bball game when Covid ends (lol), and compete against myself, but we all know it's not the same. I really do wish that I could be one of those people who could game for a few hours a week and be happy with it. It's good to know that I'm not.

Today I think I'm going to mostly do some writing/editing. There are also some courses I want to start. Other than that, going to pick at some of the misc. things on the to-do list and try to knock off a couple hours early to read that new book.

And nap.

edit:

took a look at my schedule and I have a webinar, my first counseling appointment, and a community center meeting all later tody. fml.

Edited by Lampshade
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Day 35

Started the day off watching some presentations of other grad student projects on the couch. It was super chill and enjoyable but I continued working from the couch and lost energy around 1:30pm. Haven't done much since, (it's now 2:30) and it's looking promising for the rest of the day. Yesterday I had a good work day and I think the main difference was that I was set-up in the office. Also I had a more concrete pan for what I was working on that day. I'm glad I realized this. Easier to just commit to the work rather than trying to simultaneously work and relax. Doing shit with no energy sucks.

Another thing I noticed was how much more likely it is for me to forget to do a good habit if I don't do it in the morning before work. I'm on a 33 day meditation streak but almost forgot to because I didn't have time this morning. 

Lessons learned: work in the office and do the things that you want to be a habit in the morning.

Oh, and I was thinking about this yesterday: it's funny to me how much less emotional my posts (and life) are since I quit gaming.

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Day 36

I'm so bored. My cravings for games specifically are still there, but not to an intense amount. I'm mostly craving anything that will take me out of this sober state-of-mind. I'm out of caffeine, cigarettes (I'm not a regular smoker, I had been picking at that pack for 3 months), no games, no alcohol. I don't know if I've ever been this sober in my adult or teenage life. It feels like I'm running and at that point where every moment is a conscious effort to just keep going.

A few potential triggers for this feeling: 1.) general boredom with life, specifically workdays. 2.) Finishing the Queen's Gambit and missing that feeling of flow and community that I used to have with gaming. 3.) Trying to apply that energy to my work and realizing it's just not the same. 4.) Getting overwhelmed with the number of things that I feel like I need to do to be happy with where I am at work 5.)trying to figure out how to structure my days so that they all get done.

Things that have helped are 1.) getting better at the 'Managing Anxiety' course on headspace. This doesn't make the feeling go away though, and isn't designed to. 2.) showering/tidying up 3.) stretching/exercise 4.)Waking up early.

I think 4 is the most interesting. If I wake up at 5:30 I don't feel nearly as overwhelmed with all that I have to do in a day. It's still surprising to me that, despite knowing that, I still try to force myself to sleep in later. It's not even a good sleep because by then the SO and dogs are up and about. I just don't want to deal with the day.

Anyways, today I want to start one of my coursera courses for an hour, write for an hour, clean up all my misc. notes and whiteboard (1 hour?), and then spend the remainder working with data and dealing with emails.

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On 11/20/2020 at 8:08 AM, Lampshade said:

I'm so bored. My cravings for games specifically are still there, but not to an intense amount. I'm mostly craving anything that will take me out of this sober state-of-mind. I'm out of caffeine, cigarettes (I'm not a regular smoker, I had been picking at that pack for 3 months), no games, no alcohol. I don't know if I've ever been this sober in my adult or teenage life. It feels like I'm running and at that point where every moment is a conscious effort to just keep going.

Right there with you man. Keep on keepin' on. You're not alone.

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Day 37

Today was a great day. It had been cold for a while and just today went up to 10c, which is a flippin sauna. Met up with my friend and played some bball. Best game we've had in a long time. Then went down to the beach and had a fun little photo shoot with the wifer. Felt like it was time to start updating my profile photos.

The down side is that my province is switching over to the next stage of covid restrictions. We're very well off in terms of the numbers, today was a record day for us and it was only 23 cases, but seeing people is now restricted. Masks have been mandatory for a couple months now so nothing has changed in that regard. We're just now in what we call a single houeshold bubble; you're not supposed to visit people outside your household starting tonight. No change to workplaces though, which seems strange. I think it might be to curb the transmissions from bars and nursing homes since that is where the bulk of the cases are coming from. Doesn't affect me much since I live in the country, work from home, and don't usually go out around town.

Edit: omg, I also completed a quest. Forever ago I found an old iPod from 12 years ago. It's not my highschool one, it's the one I got right after, but it's still got a lot of the music I would listen to all day instead of paying attention in class. Lots of Nightwish and staring moodily out the window, black long hair hiding the earbuds from the teacher lol. I don't even have hair anymore. Last month I found a charging cable at a thrift store and finally got around to trying it and it works. 80gb of music from back in the day when you could actually own digital music. I'm gonna enjoy the shit out of this in the coming week. Something about walking down the street in the dark, no chance of notifications or writing reminders on the phone. Just you and your music.

Edited by Lampshade
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Day 37

Gee, those number are getting up there

I think I'm giving up on quitting coffee. I'm going to try to keep it from becoming a daily habit, but indulge once in a while. My rule will be try not to do two-days in a row, and absolutely not 3-days in a row. So today, I am having no coffee. And the day is less fun 😞

Caught up on some chores, did a good physio-type work out, and about to clean up the office. It got mess-ssayy.

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Hey Lampshade, I think that's a good decision!

Quitting gaming is tough enough, take those addictions apart one at a time. While there are some benefits to combining gaming, and, let's say, nofap, since they have similar roots both in terms of how you access them and how they alter your brain, coffee is a whole different beast and might exhaust you too much. 

Glad you are going so strong on so many things at once though!

Po

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16 hours ago, Pochatok said:

Glad you are going so strong on so many things at once though!

Keeping busy is the only way I can keep going!

Day 38

Mmm steaming cup of coffee. Trying to moderate my intake right now (where have I heard that before). It makes the days more enjoyable, but undeniably increases my anxiety levels an uncomfortable amount.

Other than that not much going on today. I want to get an hour of writing in on a paper that I've been neglecting. The rest of my day will be spent testing equipment and moving audio files from one folder to another. The reality of the less-fun side of science. Much as I complain about it, ten years ago pre-university when I was working factories and retail this would've been the best working day ever.

Oh and I also want to meditate, practice French, practice bird ID, practice coding, read my novel. Already worked out and walked the dogs. All that and I still feel like I'm not doing all that I want to do.

 

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Day 39

Yesterday was a decent day. Drank more coffee than I wanted to and got all the equipment tested that I needed. Also had Battlestar Galactica going in the background so it was pretty enjoyable. The downside is that it's pretty obvious how much less I enjoy being myself when I drink coffee. I don't know if I'm caffeine sensitive or what but the experience is so similar to other drugs that it's amazing to me how socially accepted it is. There's about an hour or so of energy, mild euphoria , and impulsiveness. Then a comedown where you crave more. Giving in builds tolerance and addiction. Quitting has withdrawals. It raises anxiety levels. Impairs sleeping. Decision-making is different. Conversations are different. I've been around a lot of drugs and the feeling I get walking into a caffeinated workplace if I haven't had any in a while is the same feeling I get when being the sober person amongst a group of friends. They are all just so obviously high, zipping about and saying silly things. Then everybody crashes and gets all quiet and withdrawn in the afternoon except for the subset who keep going. It'd be hilarious if I wasn't the same.

This is turning into a CoffeeQuitters journal. I need to stop complaining about it and ease up. If that's my biggest flaw right now I think I'm doing alright. Brain can't seem to understand that though.

Today is similar to yesterday. Going to get in an hour of picking at the paper I'm writing and then spend a bunch of time moving files from one folder to another. I mean *ahem* creating a master folder of positive controls.

 

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I definitely relate to feeling different on caffeine and not really enjoying it for more than the initial hour or so. I feel I am caffeine sensitive too because I get a whole host of symptoms as soon as I take the first tiny sip but the excited, euphoric feelings dominate for a bit. 2-3 hours later and I just feel irritated. The thing you have to remember about caffeine is that there is a psychoactive component to it...most other psychoactive drugs are illegal and/or heavily regulated. Caffeine consumption is encouraged by most! It is pretty baffling when you look at it from a biochemical standpoint (I'm a chemist) that most people don't consider it a drug since there are noticeable withdrawal symptoms after relatively low amounts of consumption. But yea, if you become that non-caffeine person then not only is there a significant portion of time before your workplace efficiency equilibrates but you also stick out when everyone starts to crash. 

I've never been much of a coffee drinker and I only have caffeine once or twice every couple weeks but I feel like meditation is what keeps me from getting drawn into it. When I meditate on caffeine, it's horrible most of the time. I can't keep my breathing consistent and I have a hard time staying still and focusing. When I don't have caffeine and I consistently meditate I feel like my focus and efficiency are up a few notches from even my caffeinated self in my every day tasks. 

I would try to reduce your coffee intake instead of cutting it out right away but maybe give it up on the weekends to give yourself some contrast. And since you meditate I would try to put a little more time into that and see how things feel after a little while. Your mind is at the core of your "doing" in life, it needs maintenance just like anything else.

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