Tag Archives: Coffee

An Alternative to Coffee During the Afternoon Lull — Meditation

No doubt you’ve come across articles that explain that we have a tendency to fall into an afternoon lull. There have also been a number of article that offer a solution to beating this afternoon lull. However, I’ve yet to see any of these articles offer what could be the best use of that time, yet — meditation.

The benefits of meditation are endless not the least of which is mitigating the effect of cognitive biases. So, instead of reaching for another cup of coffee, why not try doing a quick 2-, 3-, 5-, or 10-minute meditation when that afternoon lull comes along. In fact, to up the stakes, I’d be interested to see some research on this. My bet is that meditation would be more effective (and sustainable) than coffee in picking you up. Of course, researching this might prove a bit difficult, but I think it’s doable. Let’s break it down.

I’d want to see three groups: meditation, coffee, and control. Of course, we’d need to have a representative sample, controlling for people who already have a proclivity towards meditation and/or coffee. If at all possible, it’d be great to have two meditation groups, actually: one that already regularly meditates and one that doesn’t.

Initially, I hypothesized that meditation would be more effective. We’d need to determine how we were going to measure effectiveness. I suppose one could consider the remaining hours at work, as the pick-me-up during the afternoon lull is likely a way to get one to the end of the day. In that sense, we’d also want to control for the amount of hours that people continued to work after the meditation/coffee break. At a minimum, it’s something we’d need to measure to maintain internal validity.

I also hypothesized that meditation would be a more sustainable solution to the afternoon lull. Again, how are we going to measure this. My thinking would be including some sort of fatigue/health factor in the study. I suspect that those inclined to have a cup of coffee as an afternoon pick-me-up are probably already drinking coffee to start their day and as a result, might just be taxing their system by having that extra hit of caffeine in the afternoon. Conversely, plenty of research has been conducted on the health benefits of meditation. So, not only would some folks be eliminating the overtaxing nature of a second dose of caffeine, they’d also be reaping the benefits of meditation.

If You Want Something, You’ve Got to Reach Out and Take It

Several months ago when I was still a student at George Mason, I was sitting in one of the coffeehouses on campus. Well, actually, it was the Starbucks. I differentiate Starbucks from coffeehouses because I know that some folks don’t necessarily see Starbucks as a coffeehouse anymore. Nonetheless, I was sitting in Starbucks, probably writing a post. In fact, I think it may have even been a Monday and I was working on a post for the list of biases in judgment and decision-making. Anyway, not entirely relevant.

As I was sitting there, I noticed a stranger ask a table of two if he could use one of their computers to charge his phone (they didn’t have their computers out). Invariably, I knew he was going to make his way to me and ask if he could use my laptop to charge his phone (he happened to have his USB charger, but not a charger that plugged into the wall). When both of the girls declined and he turned to me to ask if I’d be okay with it, thoughts of espionage raced through my mind. I think this was about the time that I had just spend a weekend watching a number of episodes from Alias, so “spy-stuff” was on my mind. Eventually, I caved and let him use my laptop to charge his phone.

As his phone was charging and he was waiting for his ride to arrive, we chatted briefly. I don’t remember how we got onto the subject of politics, but we did. He told me that he’d written a couple of books of poetry and sent them to the White House — to President Barack Obama. He also had written one to former President Clinton. I was quite shocked that he had been so bold as to send books of poetry to the 44th and the 42nd presidents of the United States. In fact, he even gave me a signed copy of the one he sent to Pres. Obama. More than that, he received responses from both of the presidents. In an updated edition of the book he sent to Pres. Obama, he had a picture of the letter he received from Pres. Obama.

Shortly after this, our conversation ended as his ride arrived. When he left, I got to thinking about the gusto it might have taken to drum up the courage to write a book of poetry and send it off to the President of the United States. Many of us may balk in anxiety at the kind of response we might get (if we even get a response!). Paralyzed by fear, we fail to reach for our dreams. If you want something, you’ve got to reach out and take it. This is exactly what this gentleman was doing. He wanted to write something for the President and he did — and he sent it to him!

I bet there’s something in your life that you’ve been putting on hold. Something that you’ve thought, ‘Oh well, I’ll do that later,’ or ‘I’ll wait to do that until I’m ready.’ I contend that TODAY is that day. Today, you are ready to do the thing you’ve been waiting to do. Don’t wait for your future. Reach out and seize it – today!

Could This Have Happened in Any Other Country: Only In America

A few years ago in a coffee shop “,” there was a man who was so desperate, we’ll call him , that he decided he was going to steal the money out of the tip jar, (which contained less than $5.00 — thus, Desperado). Another man, we’ll call him , saw what Desperado was trying to do and chased after him. Hero and Desperado struggled outside until Desperado was able to break free. Desperado raced to his car and tried to make a quick getaway. In doing so, he ‘accidentally’ backed over Hero. Hero was rushed to the hospital, but succumbed to his head injuries and passed away.

Now, given that this happened in “far, far away,” Hero’s estate decided it would be most appropriate to file a lawsuit claiming that the coffee shop was at fault! Only in “far, far away,” would Hero’s family sue the coffee shop (because they’re actually part of a larger corporation with oodles of money) and not Desperado. It is clear that “far, far away’s” legal system needs some adjusting.

While I have introduced this as a fictitious scenario that took place in a fictitious land, — in the USA — recently! In 2008, a Desperado-character really did try to steal money from the tip jar and a Hero-character really did try to stop him. The Desperado-character really did “accidentally” run over the Hero-character who later succumbed to the head trauma. And, the Hero-character’s family really is suing the coffee shop (Starbucks), and !

I think that there are a number of noteworthy things here and I’ll try to summarize them briefly.

  1. How can you accidentally run someone over? I don’t mean to be funny, but if you’re engaged in criminal activity, isn’t your intent somewhat, say, criminal, so in trying to get away from the scene of the crime, wouldn’t that just be lumped in with the criminality of it all? I can understand the semantics in that the Desperado-character was maybe backing his car out of a parking space and the Hero-character just happened to be on the ground behind his car, but still — it seems a bit strange that in every article I’ve read about this, it’s bluntly stated that the running over of the Hero-character was accidental.
  2. I’m not going to talk about the absurdity that some lawyer actually thinks that they can make a case against Starbucks in this scenario (they’re really just doing their job, right?), but more importantly, I think it’s absurd that the legal system is set-up such that this is even a possible outcome! I’ve heard of a number of , but this one seems to go beyond the bounds of frivolousness. Why? Because they’re not even suing the human directly responsible for the death! It’s clear that the prime directive is to gain retribution (in the form of money, of course), for the death of the Hero-character.
  3. Is our society in that much trouble, really? I realize that this happened in 2008 and some may attribute this happening to the , but this scenario played out in March of 2008. At that point, and statistically, was similar to where it had been for the last few months. The tip jar apparently had less than $5. I suppose stealing from a tip jar at Starbucks is infinitely easier than , (unless you’re interested in stealing the pen attached to the counter?), but is that really what we’re coming to as a society?