May is mental health month—an entire month devoted to the importance of mental health. This month is about finding ways to take care of your mental health through relaxing and healthy habits.
So we thought… what’s something most people do in their everyday life which acts a perfect opportunity to take 5 minutes away and de-stress? A cup of tea of course!
Tea not only has antioxidants and calming compounds like L-Theanine which can reduce anxiety, but… it can be used as a form of meditation called mindfulness.
what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a form of meditation where you simply focus your attention on the present moment. Actual meditation is a bit intimidating to some - It usually involves a combination of sitting still, closing your eyes, breathing exercises, etc. (we tried it once in the office right before lunch, and the chorus of hungry belly grumbles quickly put a stop to it) Mindfulness is a bit simpler and can be used during everyday activities like taking a walk, eating, or drinking a cup of tea. For University students at Cambridge in this study, mindfulness training was more effective than University counselling services in reducing stress during exams!
how to have a mindful cup of tea
So… could a cup of tea be the perfect opportunity to try out mindfulness?
Here are some simple ways you can focus in on the present while making a cup of tea:
Boiling the water. What sounds is the water making? Watching the colours of the water change as the tea infuses. The warmth of the cup in your hands. Sip the tea rather than gulping it down in 2 seconds and try to suss out the complex flavors you’re tasting.
Selecting your tea in the first place also demonstrates conscious choice. Do you go for something new and adventurous like a lemongrass tea? Or stick to something you’ve had before like English breakfast? Making these choices switches off autopilot and helps build self-awareness.
The ritual of brewing tea involves many sensorial experiences to pay attention to focus your mind. This may be why Buddhist monks have brewed tea as part of their meditation practices. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk for 60 years, visited the Oprah show to talk about mindfulness and tea and said “If you are ruminating about the past, or worrying about the future, you will completely miss the experience of enjoying the cup of tea.”
We’d love to hear if you give it a try – keep us updated on your mindful journey by tagging us @teapigsUS on social.
You can find our top stress busting teas here