For many of us, the world is going through a turbulent time. It is easy to get overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, and uncertainties. Lately, I found myself in this situation. At times it can seem as though I am no longer in control of my own life.
While many of us are going through quarantine and social distancing, some professions continue to go to work. Whatever the situation, it is not an easy time.
Being based in big and bustling New York, it is hard not to feel the effects of the quarantine first-hand. When I become overwhelmed, it can even be hard to remember about the remedies I have at my side.
So I decided to turn the situation around — I picked up a packet of my favorite tea. I turned off my phone, put on some relaxing music, and proceeded to go to my special place that I have set up for tea meditations.
My tea set was already there waiting for me, and so was my tea pet, with which I like to enjoy my humble tea ceremonies.
Before brewing the tea, I set an intention — during the tea meditation, I will only focus on the tea in front of me and my own breath. I will dedicate the experience to it and push away unsettling thoughts. At least for the next hour.
Tea For Anxiety
How tea helps with stress and anxiety:
1. L-theanine. L-theanine is a tea-exclusive component found in all teas. It stimulates alpha brain waves, putting us in a state of alertness, creativity, and relaxed, meditative space. When theanine is combined with caffeine (like it is in tea), the effects of caffeine get subdued. L-theanine is a potent relaxer and anxiety reducer. It’s also what gives some teas their pleasant savory taste.
High temperatures, however, kill L-theanine in tea. Make sure to brew your teas at the appropriate lower temperatures.
2. Meditation. Meditating with tea, and meditating in general, helps quiet the mind.
If you are a beginning meditator, start off slowly. First, quiet the mind. Then take deep breaths. You may find it easier to count down in your mind. Until you become one with your breath.
Whether you are in self-isolation in a city apartment, or perhaps you live surrounded by nature, it is always a good time to quietly sit down with some tea. Practice telling yourself what you are grateful for daily.
Even a western-style brewed pot of quality loose leaf tea can gather friends. It is important not to rely on alcohol during troubled times. Alcohol is a downer drink. It may seem like a quick and effective remedy for stress, but ultimately — it isn’t.
Drinking quality tea will elevate your mood, putting you in a productive, creative, and, most importantly, positive state of mind. With a positive outlook, we can achieve anything and bravely tackle the challenges of the next day!
Steps To Combating Anxiety With Tea:
Having a dedicated routine is an excellent way to start. What worked for me was allowing myself a definite hour at least every morning to focus on my tea ritual. Honestly, the tools we have around us aren’t always the clear choice for when we need something to battle stress and anxiety. Sometimes we all need a moment to truthfully reconnect with the powerful tools we have at our side.
Set up your own little tea ritual space
Find a small space or corner of your house that isn’t meant for work or anything else of that sort. Make it comfortable. Fill it with things you love — perhaps art or plants.
Light an incense
This step is optional but is often practiced during the Japanese tea ceremony — Chanoyu. Japanese incense are usually much more subtle than those from western counties. They are small and thin and tend to burn really fast. Lighting some incense before tea will quickly put us into a more relaxed and elevated state of mind.
Light a candle
This is another option aside from the incense. Watching a burning fire, even one from a small candle is known to calm our eyes. Small candle flames can quickly make us feel warm and protected.
Prepare the tea
Brewing tea gong fu style allows us to become wholly absorbed in the experience, giving it our all. Just like the translation of “gong fu” — best effort. It is indeed our best effort to be present, be grateful, be in the moment.
When brewing tea, take time to appreciate the little things:
How does the teaware feel in your hands? Admire its beauty and warmth. Notice the gentle aroma of the tea. The smooth texture of the brew as we drink it.
You can practice these simple steps to relieve anxiety at any time of day, or even late into the night. Many people who are sensitive to drinking coffee before bed find that the caffeine in tea relaxes them without getting them jittery and unable to sleep. However, there are still some of us who are more sensitive to caffeine, even in tea. In that case, herbal tea for anxiety is a great alternative option!
What Tea Is Good For Anxiety?
- Genmaicha Brown Rice Tea
- Da Hong Pao
- Golden Buds Jasmine Black Tea
- Aged Fuding Chenpi White Tea
This is my personal list of teas that are able to put me in a relaxed and elevated state, no matter how hard the times. For every one of us, it might be a different tea. While some teas are best because of their composition, others just have that magical ability to bring us to that good place in our life.
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Studies have shown that the relaxing qualities of tea are a direct correlation of how tea is usually enjoyed. Unlike coffee — which is commonly consumed for energy during a busy day, many people choose to “wind down” with tea. The more effort you put in into creating a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere for your tea session — the better the calming benefits.
This is my routine. Every day I turn off my phone for an hour and brew tea gong fu style. I concentrate on the beauty of my teaware, on the pleasant aroma, and on the incredible subtleties of the taste. Right after I’m done with the tea, I sit down for a 30-minute meditation. Concentrating on nothing but breath, forgetting about all the troubles and worries. Once I started doing this, I noticed that I began to gain my inner-peace back. And this inner-peace allows me to see things more clearly and act on them instead of panicking.
Has tea ever helped you get through tough times in life?
Is there a particular tea that benefited you more than others? A specific routine?
We would love to hear about your experiences. Share in the comments below, and perhaps it will help a fellow reader looking for some anxiety relief.
Stay safe, happy, and healthy!