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The One Major Side Effect of Not Having Your Morning Coffee, Study Says

Shockingly, it has nothing to do with caffeine.
FACT CHECKED BY Cheyenne Buckingham

If you're a daily coffee drinker, you probably have a consistent morning ritual. Maybe you prepare your cup of java the same way every day, by whipping out the ole French press and adding a dash of oat milk and a touch of sugar to the finished product, for example. Or perhaps it's where you sit in the living room each morning to sip on your coffee that's most important to you.

Whether you sip it while reading the newspaper, eating your breakfast, or not doing not much of anything at all, it's an integral part of your morning routine either way. And, it makes a positive impact on your mental health—more so than you may realize. In fact, researchers have found that this process may be giving you more than just that jolt of energy you need first thing in the morning. A new study revealed that rituals like these can seriously decrease your feelings of loneliness. (Related: 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work).

Loneliness has been a huge problem in the last year, with the COVID-19 pandemic forcing us to isolate ourselves from our support groups during an incredibly stressful time. Not only is this a problem for our emotions, but it's also a major issue for our overall health. For example, loneliness can cause sleep issues, heart disease, and can even weaken your immune system. Now, researchers have found that you can decrease these feelings of loneliness by creating rituals that work for you and help you create more meaning in your life.

And yes, this includes the simple task of packing your espresso grounds into the portafilter basket or even just scooping the beans into your portable coffee grinder. In other words, the thing you do every morning could be helping you combat feelings of loneliness, even when you're alone.

"Even seemingly trivial or minimal rituals can be meaningful and impact consumers' well-being," Thomas Kramer, MBA, PhD, co-author of the study, told Eat This, Not That! "That is, it is not only culturally- or socially-grounded rituals that can add meaning to one's life, but also idiosyncratic ones that consumers devise themselves, and thereby give meaning to people's lives that they might otherwise be experienced as lacking in meaning."

If you're not a coffee drinker, there are plenty of other ways to create rituals in your life. Kramer suggests looking for meaning in your daily meal prep process, saying that you "can easily devise rituals involving meal preparations that are done in a ritualistic and therefore meaningful way, instead of just in a habitual, routine way."

And for more, be sure to check out Skipping These Foods Can Be Dangerous for Your Mental Health, Study Says.

Clara Olshansky
Clara Olshansky (they/she) is a Brooklyn-based writer and comic whose web content has appeared in Food & Wine, Harper’s Magazine, Men's Health, and Reductress. Read more about Clara
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