Been a tea drinker for ages? Never had a cuppa but intrigued? Or you're a staunch coffee advocate instead? Wherever you fall on the tea spectrum, you'll be amazed to discover that tea makes you sexier, inspires spirituality and adventure, and creates a communal human bond that stretches across continents. The only thing tea doesn't do, it seems, is bring us back from the dead or change world governments…
(…oh wait. I guess tea did that once too.)
1. Tea helps loneliness.
A 2012 study showed that when people felt lonely, their fingers literally became colder. But when they held a cup of hot tea, it staved off the loneliness. Physical warmth and emotional warmth can sometimes be almost interchangeable: increasing your body's warmth can help offset the consequence of your body becoming colder in response to loneliness.
2. Tea makes you sexier.
Holding a hot cup can help you connect socially and can even help others see you as having a more warm and welcoming personality. Tea is soothing and reduces stress, which we all know has a negative and dulling effect on our skin and hair. Green tea possesses compounds that brighten complexion, enhance skin's suppleness, and combats wrinkles and sun damage. And that's not even counting the study that showed tea drinkers had a lower waist circumference and BMI than non-tea drinkers. Tea, it seems, does wonders for our attractiveness.
3. Tea supports and inspires adventure.
There are many well-documented cases of people having tea before setting off on an adventure (Bilbo, every Jane Austen character) or enjoying tea during their adventure (Alice in Wonderland, Pip, Lucy Pevensie, Mary Poppins). The best adventures always began with a cup of tea or had tea throughout—whether or not there was second breakfast.
4. Tea encourages reading.
(….. and no I'm NOT talking about reading tea leaves.) A steaming cup sets the perfect atmosphere for reading, especially when curled up on a winter evening with a fuzzy blanket and snow outside.
5. Tea is spiritual.
Meditative, grounding, and centering. Tea (properly brewed) awakens our awareness to the details in our life.
Preparing and enjoying tea is a calming, systematic process that focuses your senses with active attention (selecting the tea, pouring the hot water, setting the timer) and receptive attention (smelling your chosen tea, hearing the water boil, inhaling the steam as it steeps, observing the water darken with the tea).Meditation and tea dates back to ancient China and Japan. When engaging in meditative practices, Buddhists were not permitted to eat or drink—but they could drink tea. It was believed it helped them stay awake and focus on their purpose, and became a central part of the practice.
"The sounds of the tea being made invite the peach blossoms to peep in through the window."
6. Tea as ritual.
Rituals are good for the spiritual and nonspiritual soul alike. Rituals as simple actions slow us down and connect us to ourselves, our environment, and the present. For the moment, they ease our worries.
The practice of tea holds comfort, health, and inspiration: a sense that things will be all right. Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project, said a ritual is: "a routine we give importance to." It's simple, repeatable, and allows us to lose ourselves in them. A tea ritual can even help reduce cortisol levels, lower heart rates, and ease your anxiety and stress.
"There will always be a debate over coffee or tea. Coffee is like a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart: a burst of energy that riles you up but fades just as quickly. It is fast food, a drug, a temporary 15 minute fix every morning. But tea? Tea is a ritual. It is a million little moments to yourself that help you get through the day. It slows you down and gives you perspective. Tea is patience, it is meditation."
7. Tea is easily accessible.
Some health or spiritual routines, such as yoga or meditation, are amazing but can be time-consuming. But no matter how busy I am, I always have the time to make a cup of tea. Even if I skip selecting and brewing a loose-leaf tea and breathing in the steam as it steeps and just throw the kettle on, grab the first tea bag I see, and drink it in the car, the warmth and ritual of having a cup of tea still calms and settles me.
And most mornings, I might not have thirty minutes to do yoga, but I do have five minutes to slow down, sit, and drink my cup of tea. There are no right or wrong ways to make a personal tea ritual—it just needs to be right for you.
8. Tea has a literary history.
The sisters in Little Women, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, many Dickens' characters, Toad in Wind in the Willows, Mary and Colin in The Secret Garden, Beatrix Potter's animals, and Winnie the Pooh all shared a love of tea.
According to literature, tea and buns make the world a better place (Wind in the Willows), can help you sleep and get better when you're sick (The Tale of Peter Rabbit), clear our muddled heads (Charles Dickins), restores our normality and is the thing we need when we are missing something important, (Hitchhikers' Guide). There is really NOTHING that can't be ameliorated by a cup of tea (Jasper Fforde, Shades of Grey).
The suffering heroine Sara in The Little Princess resorted to imagining away her circumstances in order to survive, but tea was one of the few things that brought her joy:
"Upon the table were spread small covered dishes and a teapot. The little, cold, miserable room seemed changed into Fairyland. The mug from the washstand was used as Becky's tea cup, and the tea was so delicious that it was not necessary to pretend that it was anything but tea."
9. Tea has a real-life history.
Tea has been around for thousands of years--tea is so popular today that it's the second most consumed beverage throughout the entire world. Cultures around the world have tea rituals, from England to China—in the Middle East, tea is about hospitality and entertaining; in Japan, it is an art to perfect; in China and India, it's appreciated for its health benefits.
10. Tea is amazingly healthy just on its own.
Tea can be high in antioxidants, protect your heart physically as well as emotionally, and help you exercise. Tea can even protect you from radiation, prevent neurological disease, and give you a skinnier waist.
"It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs. We cannot work, we cannot think, unless our stomach wills so. After eggs and bacon, it says, 'Work!' After beefsteak and porter, it says, 'Sleep!' After a cup of tea, it says, 'Now, rise, and show your strength. See, with a clear eye, into Nature and into life; spread your white wings of quivering thought, and soar over the whirling wind beneath you." http://www.quotegarden.com/tea.html
11. Tea is even HEALTHIER if you add to it.
Want an extra boost? Add ginger, lemon, or honey. Ginger fights infections and eases nausea, lemon eases fevers and sore throats and mental stress, and honey is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-cancer. Tea is practically a superfood and we should all repent of our other pathetic beverages and drink tea instead.
12. Tea is water and water is life.
Even if tea didn't have all these awesome benefits, tea is 90% water, and water is magic: it clears toxins, prevents multiple disorders and aches, and even improves your cognitive function. Black tea even contains potassium, which helps your body maintain and balance its fluids. So tea gives you fluids AND helps your body manage them--two for one.
13. Tea helps you sleep.
For the insomniac or chronically stressed, nothing is better than a good night's sleep—and tea can help with that.
14. Tea is there for you when you cry.
When your heart is broken, tea helps on a spiritual and emotional level. But tea also can help on a physical level. Chilled steeped tea bags can actually help reduce puffiness and dark circles.
16. You can be a snob OR a lazy bum: tea welcomes all.
Whether you're the finest tea connoisseur who brews loose leaf to the exact second or you happily enjoy the free tea bags in hotel rooms, there's a place for you on the tea wagon. And nowadays there are so many delightful bagged tea options that you don't have to sacrifice taste for convenience.
16. Tea is beautiful.
It's aesthetically pleasing: add milk to black tea and watch it swirl in spirals, changing every drop it touches to a warm glow. And it's pleasing to the senses: it smells good, the hot steam feels good, and it warms your entire body all the way down.
17. Tea helps us find ourselves.
When you don't very much feel like yourself—tea is there for you. Tea will never leave you. Even if your best friend or lover or sibling isn't around, tea will sit with you till you're better.
18. Tea sets us free.
Just ask the people who attended this tea party.
19. Tea is the most communal of experiences.
Sharing a cup of tea with another is nurturing, comforting, and communal. Even if you're drinking it by yourself, it ties you in to a greater community: you're participating in a ritual that has brought together families, societies, and civilizations for thousands of years.
Sharing and creating a tea ritual with your friends or children can soothe them, help them feel safe, and even help them manage their stress more effectively.
When we go to someone's home or when someone comes over, a drink will invariably be offered. Do everyone a favor and put the kettle on.C. E. Murphy said:
"In Ireland, you go to someone's house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you're really just fine. She asks if you're sure. You say of course you're sure, really, you don't need a thing. Except they pronounce it ting. You don't need a ting. Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble. Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn't mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it's no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting.
In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don't get any damned tea.
I liked the Irish way better."
20. The best sort of people drink tea.
Tea is clearly majestical. Come, join us in this beautiful ritual called tea.