Increase Joy And Happiness & Improve Your Mental Health With Coffee

13 min read FEB 26, 2024

Have you ever noticed, or do you regularly notice, a smile appear on your face when you take your first sip of coffee in the morning?

Or, perhaps this evidence of joy and satisfaction appears with your midday cold brew instead?

Of course, if you’re like most folks, maybe you can actually attest that each and every cup of coffee you drink produces this happy phenomenon?

I mean, personally, I get great satisfaction even when simply watching coffee prep videos (is it just me, or can anyone else relate).

There’s a reason why the internet is filled with relatable memes, videos, and pictures depicting sunshine and coffee, smiles and coffee, or happiness and unspeakable joy felt upon consuming small mugs and/or large glasses of coffee.

Part of this warm reaction to java has to do with the mental and physical health benefits our body receives from coffee.

But, there’s also something about the little things in life, or rather our intentional enjoyment of these things, that not only amplifies those physical and emotional health benefits, but also plays a large role in properly aligning our focus, our emotions, and our overall mental wellbeing.

As you can already tell, this article will delve into the connection between coffee and mental wellness, including how this beloved bean can even bring great joy and happiness to our lives, but before you read any further, I’d like you to do something with me

Let’s pause before moving forward.

If you haven’t already, join me in taking a break, right now, to prepare your absolute favorite brew.

I’m serious.

Take the time right now to prepare a hot or iced cup of coffee, and be sure to include any extra measures to make this a little “over the top” either in fanciful additions, health-boosting add-ins, or simply your tried and true go-to cup.

Don’t rush, take the time to truly enjoy each moment of your coffee prep, and take notice of your mood pre and post prep, pre and post sip.

… … … …

Okay, I’m back. And, before we move forward, can I just share my smile-inducing cup preparations with you?

No matter the temps or season, I always enjoy cold brew. And, Lifeboost light roast is my all-time favorite.

So, first I got my favorite cup out of the cabinet. It’s a tall glass, roughly 20 ounces, tinted green (my favorite color), with a wooden lid, and a clear straw.

I filled the glass about ⅓ full of ice, then I slowly inhaled the aroma of the cold brew as I poured it over the ice, listening to the cubes move and shift as the liquid covered them.

Next, I stirred in a few teaspoons of some homemade cinnamon simple syrup.

Then, I added a little half and half, some oat milk, collagen powder, and a pinch of cinnamon to my portable blender and turned on the blend function.

As I waited for the mixture to incorporate, getting all creamy and thick, I thought about the connection between coffee and happiness, and I have to say, it made me eager to dive into this subject today as I could physically and emotionally feel my mindset for the day improving, just from carefully, with intention, concocting this drink.

Once the blender was finished, I slowly poured the silky smooth topping onto my cold brew, placed the lid on the glass, inserted the straw, and proceeded to my work station.

I waited to take the first sip until I’d gotten comfortable, and tell me now if you can relate to this reaction:

As I sipped, I noticed my eyes closing and within seconds that familiar coffee-sipping smile creeped over my face.

I even noticed how I inhaled deeply with that first sip, and as I swallowed, that deep breath seemed to effortlessly escape outward.

Each of these responses and actions were involuntary, which really amazes me, because it is, afterall, just a cup of coffee, right?

Maybe…maybe not.

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The Mighty Mental Health Benefits Of Coffee

As I’m continuing to sip my preferred coffee creation, I can’t help but notice that I’m more focused now.

And, if you’ll allow me to be fully honest, it’s a Friday morning and I normally don’t write on Fridays, so I wasn’t in the best frame of mind as I began researching this topic today.

My mind has been divided, thinking of other tasks, wishes, and wants, but with each sip and with each thought of increasing joy and improving mental health (through coffee), I can’t even accurately describe to you how my outlook is changing.

If it’s possible, the sunshine peeking through my kitchen door seems to be getting brighter and brighter.

My thoughts feel more open, as if I’m unboxing an anticipated gift.

I’m better retaining the things that I’m reading as I research this subject matter.

And, the thing is, I almost always make a cup of coffee prior to writing, but today, the added element of intention is proving to be overwhelmingly powerful.

It just goes to show the reality of the benefits of coffee in real time, and when these benefits are coupled with the equally powerful benefits of mindfulness and intention, it makes an incredible difference.

So, let’s explore the benefits of both of these, starting internally, looking at what happens inside our bodies, as we consume coffee, that improves our mental state.

1- Coffee Boosts Energy

Sometimes our mental wellness is hindered due to low energy from a lack of sleep or even the weighty effects of stress.

As we all know, coffee contains caffeine, and this is a stimulant which works by blocking neurotransmitters like adenosine while increasing the neurotransmitters which regulate energy.

So, when you drink caffeinated coffee and experience these nervous system awakenings, your energy increases, making you feel more alert and ready to tackle your day. And, this goes a long way in improving your outlook, joy, and happiness as well!

2- Coffee Increases Happy Hormones

Oftentimes our thoughts of coffee’s stimulating effects end with the point we just covered (energy).

But, caffeine has many other benefits.

When you drink caffeinated coffee, as you sip, the caffeine also causes your brain to increase levels of dopamine and norepinephrine.

And, the boost in these chemicals, or hormones, actually leads you to feel happier.

I know I said we’d detail the mindfulness portion in a moment, but I want to also include here that experts have noted amplifications of this benefit when we recognize drinking coffee as a positive experience.

In other words, when you view enjoying a cup of coffee in the same way as taking a break, having a moment to yourself, or a time to relax and enjoy life, this acts as an amplifier of the benefits your body already receives from the caffeine content of coffee, increasing your overall happiness even further.

3- Coffee Regulates Anxiety And Decreases The Risk Of Depression

As you sip your brew, this causes your brain to increase levels of dopamine (see above), and this essentially gets released into your prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that helps to regulate mood.

But, caffeine also aids in storing some of this hormone in the amygdala, an area of your brain that plays a big role in regulating anxiety.

Closely linked to this same benefit, scientists have also found that those individuals who drink 2-4 cups of coffee each day reduced their risk of depression by 15-20%.

Those folks with depression and/or social anxiety typically have low levels of dopamine, and researchers believe coffee’s effects on dopamine can help to improve these conditions.

Additionally, the antioxidant content of coffee has been proven to reduce both inflammation and oxidative stress in the body and these benefits also aid in decreasing one’s risk of depression.

4- Coffee Improves Overall Brain Health

Studies have also linked coffee consumption to an overall improvement in cognitive function.

So, in practical terms, when you drink coffee, your alertness and wellbeing increases and your ability to concentrate, focus, and remember what you’ve read, seen, etc. improves.

Each of these benefits, of course, improve brain function, but can you see how these also increase happiness and joy in your everyday life?

Being present, alert, focused, and able to fully concentrate and take in (remember) what you’re experiencing, even in little morning moments, increases your joy as well.

5- Making Coffee A Part Of Your Routine Increases Happiness

Okay, this is technically not a direct internal benefit of coffee, but it certainly qualifies as an indirect internal benefit.

When you make coffee a part of your daily routine, and I’m sure for most of us this involves the morning hours, studies show this provides stability and predictability, which in turn increases overall happiness.

The consistency provided through a healthy routine brings us purpose and satisfaction, and it effectively reduces stress and anxiety.

I can personally attest, and this is why I detailed my change in outlook and focus above upon drinking my perfectly prepared cup of joe, that the simple act of intentionally making my glass of iced coffee increased my levels of happiness, improved my outlook, and equally improved my entire physical and mental well being.

So, let’s build on this notion of a healthy coffee routine and its direct link to happiness as we close out this discussion.

How To Increase Overall Happiness Through Your Daily Coffee Routine

As you’ve witnessed here today, both the introduction and some of the language I’ve chosen to use throughout this article were a little different than usual.

I intentionally…or even accidentally at first…did this to essentially drive home this point - drinking coffee is actually just a little thing in our daily lives.

Those sips don’t pay the mortgage. The pleasant aromas we savor won’t solve world hunger.

The foam that I absolutely love sipping my brew through doesn’t improve my relationship with my spouse.

But…these things do bring me joy. And, an intentional focus on joy can change your life!

So, the way I approach it, the lens through which I view this simple pleasure in life, makes all the difference in my overall mental/emotional wellness.

Life is so short.

I’m a mother, and in the midst of some struggles in that arena, a friend once told me “the days are long, but the years are short,” and this phrase has stuck with me.

Joy and happiness in life, true peace and satisfaction, I wholly believe these things are evidenced and even gained in the little things.

No matter what is going on in the world, no matter what is going on in your personal circle, each and every one of us have the opportunity to bask in true joy when we choose to see the positive, choose to truly enjoy the things we’ve been blessed with in this life.

And, I can think of no time more appropriate to incorporate ways to improve this focus on joy than through our daily coffee ritual.

Just as I detailed my coffee prep and ingredients earlier, intentionally focusing on the moment and observing my own positive bodily responses, I’m urging each of you to do the same.

I’d say it’s likely that some of you already do this, but let this be a reminder to do this regularly.

In my own life, the days where I rush through my mornings and afternoons and ignore the joy ready to be received in these moments, those are the days which seem most hectic and even draining.

However, the days I enjoy the most are those where I started my day with intention. These days are those in which I make time to wrap my hands around my glass on my back porch, feeling the sun on my face as I sip, even if it’s only for a few moments before I have to rush onto other things.

Please don’t overlook the power in these moments, the power to align your focus and increase happiness.

Whether you regularly do this or even if you’re saying “how do I slow down and shift my mindset, fully reaping the mental health benefits of coffee and such a routine” consider the following ways to add joy and happiness to your life all while enjoying a cup of coffee:


Studies have shown that when we practice daily gratitude, the act of intentionally focusing on and naming those things in which we’re grateful for, our mental (and physical) well being improves.

For me, this practice fits effortlessly in my morning coffee routine.

Actually, many experts recommend incorporating this practice while enjoying a cup of coffee to amplify the mood improving benefits of your brew.

When you intentionally list those things you’re grateful for - a walk around the block with your dog, your job promotion, a beautiful burst of belly laughter from your toddler, time spent with your grandmother, etc. - joy increases, your focus shifts, your physical health improves, your mind is centered, and you begin your day in peace, opening a window of happiness which can follow you throughout the remaining hours of your day.


To yourself and others…

When we think kind thoughts, set our intentions on kindness towards others, and engage in such acts throughout the day, we increase joy.

How can you incorporate this into your morning coffee routine?

Personally, I like to list at least one thing (each day if I’m able), while I’m enjoying my coffee, that I can do to show kindness to those around me.

I set my mind on a person or action, then I seek ways to enact this kindness.

As you’re sipping your brew, do you have a particular person on your mind? Plan to send them a note of encouragement later that day, or better yet, hand deliver that note along with a cup of coffee.

Or, as you enjoy your cup, let’s say you’re gazing out onto the street in front of your home or a nearby park, maybe you can make a plan to clean up any trash outside, plant a row of flowers in your yard, or set out a bird feeder.

Each of these kind actions not only enhance the world around you, but they also bring you joy in doing them as well as an added element of joy when you later view that clean street or park, flowers growing, or birds feasting.


I won’t labor this point, as I’ve already basically detailed this concept in action when describing my coffee preparation and enjoyment above.

But, making mindfulness a part of your coffee routine takes a mundane ritual and turns it into that which has prompted overtime hours at the meme factory.

Mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment, fully aware of your thoughts, intentions, and feelings, without distraction.

This approach to something as simple as preparing and drinking a cup of coffee takes this task from an enjoyable part of your day to something that can allow joy and happiness to flow in and from you for hours after you’ve finished your cup.

The Little Things Are Big Things

This is another point that I feel like I’ve hit on repeatedly today, so again, I won’t labor it.

But, as I close things out, let this be my lasting plea to you - the little things we do each and every day, they account for far more than we realize.

So, let’s intentionally view the little things in our life that bring us joy for what they truly are…big things.

As I’ve already stated, life is short…so let’s make sure we’re fully present in each moment, including the little things like opening a canister of coffee beans, inhaling this aromatic source of joy slowly, and appreciating that very moment of life.

Then, continue the next steps in your coffee prep with the same perspective, as opposed to just a rushed, sometimes mindless, occurrence.

Coffee is absolutely one of life’s gifts, one of its simple pleasures. So, let’s view it as that, improving our mindset, and increasing our joy and happiness in each and every day!

Dark Roast to Bright your Morning

There’s nothing sweeter than a cup of bitter coffee

Medical Disclaimer
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Charles Livingston nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

Headshot of Becky Livingston Vance
Becky Livingston Vance Content writer

Becky is a mother, educator, and content writer for Lifeboost Coffee. She has had three years’ experience as a writer, and in that time she has enjoyed creatively composing articles and ebooks covering the topics of coffee, health and fitness, education, recipes, and relationships.


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