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Looking At Coffee & Creativity

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Many of us rely on a cup of coffee to get us motivated for an uphill task, whether that’s getting through an arduous workout at the gym or toughing out a nightmare day at the office.

But one group of people that are commonly associated with using caffeine as a crutch more than any others are the creative folk, the painters, writers, poets and musicians of this world.

However, the jury seems to be out as to whether coffee and creativity are really that good of bedfellows.

Indeed, some say that coffee can provide invaluable fuel for the creative mind while others say that drinking coffee can drastically hinder the flow of creative juices.

So, without further ado, here, below, are some points from both side of the fence.


Coffee impairs creativity

For starters, too much coffee can diminish the amount of quality sleep that we get each night, and sleep – as shown by many, many studies over the years – is vital in order to keep us mentally alert and creatively fresh.

Secondly, when our body absorbs caffeine it rapidly crosses the blood-brain barrier and subsequently blocks the activity of a protective substance called adenosine – a substance which lowers energy levels and promotes sleep.

And although coffee keeps us focused, this is not necessarily always a good thing for the creative mind, as artists are often at their most inventive when their minds wander and become playful.

Coffee fuels creativity

On the flip side of the last point above, one can quite easily make the point that a focused mind is an essential ingredient for creativity to flourish – at the end of the day everyone is different!

What’s more, throughout history, some of the world’s most creative and exceptional minds have vouched for the magical creative powers released by sipping from a cup of coffee, such as Gustav Mahler, Beethoven, Simone de Beauvoir, and, famously, Honoré de Balzac, who, according to legend, ploughed through 50 cups of coffee a day to power his novel writing!

Lastly, one of the best ways to kick-start creativity (in my experience), is to make a start, regardless of how ‘good’ this start actually is. Indeed, fear of the blank page is one of the biggest barriers for the creative mind, and drinking coffee can inspire you with the confidence and motivation – as well as eking away all that self-doubt - that you require in order to get started and put pen to paper.

Signing off

So, there we have it, reasons for and against drinking coffee to inspire creativity.

What side of the argument are you on? For or against?

Do you find coffee helpful for any other activities apart from spurring on creativity?

Let us know here at Cafe2U HQ what you think!

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