How Does Tea = Stress Free?

How Does Tea = Stress Free?

Health & Wellness
Reading Time: 3 minutes



Hello TeaSouls: How does Tea equal stress relief in your life?

Stress is any change in your environment, and part of daily life. We often think of stress as the primitive fight or flight response in our bodies and that is one type of stress. Stressors may be positive, (such as preparing for a wedding) or negative (dealing with a natural disaster), but any type of stress causes chemical changes. These shifts provide adrenaline and cortisol for the fight or flight response, but constant hormonal stimulation creates wear and tear on our bodies. Being aware of our stress levels and managing or relieving stress in our daily lives helps us to balance our body chemistry and emotional well-being.

There are many ways to cope with stress by maintaining a healthy lifestyle; getting enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising, taking breaks, vacations and talking with friends or therapists. When it comes down to personal stress-management, it’s up to each one of us to find what works for us.

If you’re a tea lover or tea is your occasional indulgence, you realize the influence of tea on your system. The gentle lift and calming effects on the central nervous system are due to tea having a combination of caffeine and an amino acid, theanine, in the tea leaf. The effects of these two compounds are opposite: While caffeine is a well-known stimulant, theanine has a relaxing effect. These are qualities unique to tea.

Teas come from the tea shrub or tree, (camellia sinensis or camelia assamica). There are many varieties of tea from around the world. Like fine wine, teas have different harvests, characteristics and tastes based on their terroir or where they are grown (altitude and location). There are many ways tea leaves and buds are manufactured, oxidized and processed to create all the varieties of tea we enjoy. And, like wine, most people have their preferences and favorite teas that they enjoy.

A word about green tea and Matcha. Matcha is green tea. Technically Matcha is made of Sencha tea leaves which have been ground to a fine powder. Matcha originated in Japan as a ceremonial tea and is enjoyed in many forms today. The advantage to Matcha is that the whole tea leaf is ground into this beautiful bright green powder which is whisked to a frothy, warm delight and it has 400 times the antioxidants (protects your cells from free radicals and may prevent disease) as regular tea, because you are ingesting the entire leaf in the tea. If you haven’t tried Matcha, be daring and experience a high grade matcha prepared by someone who knows how to wield a chasen (a bamboo matcha whisk), it is a sensual experience!

There are also herbal “teas” which are made from flowers, spices, fruits and herbs, but not from the camellia sinensis or actual tea leaves. Herbal Tisanes have no caffeine and may promote relaxation, (lavender), or sleep and other comforts for you. Herbal infusions may include green, white, red, or black teas in addition to the herbs. These also may be utilized for stress-relief when caffeine is not desired.

So, how may your favorite tea assist you in your daily stress management?

When you have your next cup of tea, how about trying this exercise which demonstrates how Tea equals stress relief for you? Here are the steps:

  1. To begin, gauge your stress level. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being most stressed), how stressed are you now, before you prepare or drink your cup of tea?

  2. Choose your favorite tea; loose leaf or tea bag, your most enjoyable tea companion. Choose your favorite tea vessel, a mug, cup, bowl or gaiwan (Chinese lidded bowl without handle), to enhance your tea pleasure.

  3. Boil your spring or filtered water for your tea. While your water is boiling, take a few deep breaths; inhale to a count of 4 and exhale to a count of six. Feel your shoulders relax and settle into your body. Take these moments for you to connect with your inner self.

  4. As you pour the water and brew your tea, become aware by directing your senses to the tea: feel the warmth of the brew; smell the tea’s fragrance; see the color of the tea liquor; wrap your hands gently around the tea vessel and note the energy of the tea or what feelings are evoked; sip the tea purposefully and note where you sense the flavors on your palate, enjoying the sensory experience and uniqueness of your tea, or you.

  5. Take a few moments while drinking your tea breathing, relaxing. Ask yourself: “what do I want for me today?” Listen for the answer. Peace, joy, beauty, comfort, gratitude … appreciate your tea and appreciate you!

  6. When you’ve enjoyed your tea, gauge your stress level now. Take note how your stress level has changed on the 1-10 scale.

This practice demonstrates how tea is a vehicle to lessening stress or being stress-free, depending on your results. Living at this pace, the Pace of Tea increases your awareness, appreciation of self and creates balance and well-being in your physical and emotional bodies. The more often you take time for yourself, the more aware you become of your inner self. Enjoy your teas for the soul!





Sources


  1. Pharmacognosy Mag. 2016 Jan-Mar; 12(45): 75–79.doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.176061
  2. www.cdc.gov/features/copingwithstress/index.html

Shauna Poach is a Registered Nurse, Certified Medical Coder and Senior Healthcare Consultant for Health Systems across the US. Her passion is enjoying and sharing exquisite teas, imported from around the world! Her mission is to assist tea lovers with their personal growth, connecting to Self and Soul. You can find Shauna at Teas for the Soul.