Baby, it’s cold outside! Put the kettle on. Besides, tea is good for us.
How healthy is tea?
We’ve all been hearing evidence of the many health benefits of drinking tea; everything from providing flavonoids (antioxidants) to combatting disease to improving memory and cognition to increasing metabolic rates. The scientific community continues to research the benefits of drinking tea: in the last five years there have been over 6,000 scientific studies of tea published online.
When and how did we get tea?
Like many great discoveries, drinking tea was a happy accident (approximately 5,000 years ago in China). Tea became popular in Europe and the Colonies in the 1600s. So popular, in fact, that in 1767 the British imposed a tax on tea in the American colonies. In 1773, protestors of “taxation without representation”, boarded British ships in Boston Harbor and threw more than 300 chests of tea into the sea. This protest, thereafter known as The Boston Tea Party, would become a symbolic act leading to the Revolutionary War.
That’s nice but it’s already been a long day….
Another important and often overlooked health benefit of tea is ritual.
How is ritual beneficial?
Michael Jordan wore his North Carolina shorts under his Chicago Bulls shorts in every game. Rituals can increase our confidence and give us a feeling of control and luck. His ritual may or may not have had a causal effect, but it’s hard to argue with superstar status.
Great, but what does Michael Jordan’s ritual have to do with me?
Rituals can also ground us in the past and give us a feeling of calm and control. When we’re tired, stressed and sad/mad/bad we often feel a lack of control, whether or not we realize it. The more control we feel, founded or not, the less stress and other negative emotions we experience.
When we prepare and enjoy a cup of tea, we are connecting to the past. How many millions of people did the same thing before us? How many people around the world are doing the same thing right now?
But I’m really alone….
As we connect to our collective past and present, we are reminded that we are never alone. Our experiences are both unique and common. Whatever your spiritual beliefs, if any, we are all stardust and energy. Aloneness in the universe is an impossibility.
Ritual and revolution
Our problems can seem overwhelming and insurmountable. This is especially true when we’re tired. So, pour yourself a cup of tea. Think of those who came before you and the problems they faced.
Then think of the revolutionaries of The Boston Tea Party. If they can take matters into their own hands and change the course of history, so can you. Even if it means simply slowing down and savoring a cup of tea, dear.