While coffee and energy drinks can make you jittery, tea has never had that association. In fact, tea is often thought of as a calming or relaxing drink, something to soothe the nerves, to reduce stress, and to invite a feeling of being centered and at peace.
While tea does contain an amino acid known as L-Theanine that helps elicit these qualities, arguably just the act of preparing and enjoying a cup of tea is itself magnificent.
First you find your favorite teaware, perhaps a beautiful piece of fine china, a delicate gaiwan, or a giant mug with cartoon on it that makes you laugh. You appreciate the beauty or humor of your teacup.
Then, you activate your sense of smell as you sort through your tea collection, finding one that suits your mood. Just the act of smelling all those wonderful teas helps to bring you into the present moment.
Next, you hear the kettle begin heating up: it grows from a small rumble before it comes to full boiling. As you listen to the water getting more energetic, already you’re beginning to feel calmer.
Once the water is at the right temperature, you pour it slowly over your tea, watching the steam rise up and smelling the fragrance of the tea waft about.
With a now full vessel of tea, you gently grasp it in your hands and go to sit down. The warmth of the cup in your hands rises over you, relaxing your shoulders, settling any fears or worries, and you take a deep breath.
As you begin to sip the tea, you warm from the inside out, feeling comforted, whole, at home, loved; thoughts drift away, and your breath deepens.
Now you just enjoy the sight of your cup, the floral, fruity, or earthy scent, the taste of your tea, the feeling of warmth in your hands, and the sound of your own breath flowing in and out with ease.
Preparing and enjoying tea is itself a ritual that supports relaxation and feelings of calm. Let yourself experience it fully.