The benefits of taking time out to enjoy a good cuppa

high tea

Mia Woolrich

Posted September 15, 2021


The simple little things in life have made a serious comeback. Well, they never actually went anywhere, but people are no doubt taking more notice of them in this world full of distractions.

Finding joy in the little things is what it's all about, and words like 'mindfulness', 'meditation', and 'mental health' have never been so important. The good news is that meditation doesn't have to be an eyes-closed, cross-legged spiritual exercise. 

We've got some tips for how to turn something as simple as having a cup of tea into a restorative practice.


How to enjoy tea properly

Zen Buddhists have practised tea ceremonies in Japan for thousands of years, and to this day, tourists are invited to come and have the experience. Steeped in tradition, these ceremonies, or ‘Chado’ in Japanese, follow a set of four principles (harmony, respect, purity, and tranquillity) and a strict protocol in order to evoke a sense of peace.

Whilst traditional tea ceremonies in Japan can last for many hours, we can still use the four traditional principles to turn a 10-minute cuppa at home into a blissful ceremony. Here’s how:

 

Harmony

Traditionally, this is the idea of embodying a feeling of oneness with nature and our environment. 

Our tips: Try enjoying your cuppa in nature. Find a sunny spot on the balcony or under a tree in the backyard. No outdoor space? Just find a harmonious and decluttered space in your home - even if it’s a tiny corner of your kitchen. Decluttering the area can have the same effect as decluttering your brain.

Respect

Guests of a Japanese tea ceremony must enter the room by crawling in through a small entrance, which signals respect for all things in life, no matter what one’s status or position is.  

Our tips: Handle things with care and precision. Mindfulness is all about taking care, respecting your environment and possessions, and being present. You can practice mindfulness by watching the water boil (read: stop scrolling Facebook while you wait) and notice the steam as it hits the cup. Meditation and productivity experts have said that small acts of mindfulness such as these can serve as a break from the stresses of life and leave you feeling recharged and renewed.

tea with infused leaves

Mindfulness can serve as a break from the stresses of life and leave you feeling recharged and renewed. Image: Marco Secchi via Unsplash. 


 

Purity

Maybe you've heard of 'ceremonial grade tea'. Traditional tea ceremonies are practised with the purest matcha (a type of green tea), but that's not always so easy to find here in Australia. 

Our tips: Whether you're an English Breakfast or a peppermint tea drinker, try purchasing the purest and highest quality tea you can find. Check out farmers' markets, specialty tea shops, or look for organic and sustainable teas from the supermarket.

Be mindful while sipping your tea and really focus on savouring the complexities of the flavours. Try using a favourite teapot or cup rather than reaching for any old coffee-stained mug to make the process even more special.

Tranquility 

Japanese tea masters believe that this final principle comes as a result of practising harmony, respect, and purity. The idea is that by embracing and experiencing these other principles, one can enjoy a sense of peace and calm. Ultimately, it refers to the concept of a mental awakening by doing simple things. 

Our tips: Take the slow, mindful and peaceful feeling from your cup of tea into the rest of your day.

To find happiness and calmness in the simple things, try eating lunch without using your phone, notice the sunset light trickling into your space, and be present at the family dinner table. 

enjoying a peaceful cup of tea

Take the slow, mindful and peaceful feeling from your cup of tea into the rest of your day. Image: Miti via Unsplash. 


 

There’s something to be said for a practice that’s still celebrated today after thousands of years. Whilst it sure would be lovely to jet off to Japan to experience a traditional tea ceremony, it’s nice to know that the principles of the practice can quite simply be applied to our everyday life. Grounding ourselves in the present moment whilst enjoying a nice hot cup of tea is a simple, accessible, and highly beneficial way to better our mental health. 

Oh, and did we forget to mention that traditional tea ceremonies include a sweet treat? Take that as your cue to turn the kettle on and break out a biscuit – mindfully of course. 


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