Wellbeing and mental health

A nice cup of tea

Aahhh…a nice cup of tea!  There are so many great reasons to enjoy a cuppa, and making one for someone else can bring them health benefits, too.

The act of deciding to have a brew can sometimes be enough to lower your stress levels as you’re distracting yourself from a difficult task, tricky situation or ruminating on a problem.  Whilst waiting for the kettle to boil gives you roughly 90 seconds to create some breathing space.

As you’ve probably changed your posture to make the tea (standing up instead of sitting down), your circulatory system is going to thank you and your lungs are now able to expand fully.  A few deep breaths can be all it takes to lower your anxiety levels, and if you roll your shoulders as you wait for the water to boil, you can also reduce tension in your neck and shoulders.

The act of making a cup of tea is a creative undertaking which will fire up the left side of the brain but as it is also a logical process, your right brain gets involved as well.  Such tasks stimulate whole-brain activity which is good for your neural networks.  Additionally, making a cuppa is also an achievable goal – an easy win when life is stressful, complicated or downright difficult.  Have you ever noticed a sense of satisfaction as you sip your tea?  That is important as sense of achievement spurs us on to greater challenges.  Therefore, taking time out to make a brew may actually make you more productive if you are working on a taxing task or are facing a tough challenge.

Then there’s the tea itself, which contains antioxidants and less caffeine than coffee.  It’s more likely to give you a ‘lift’ without the crash associated with coffee.  Tea without milk is great for those trying to lose weight and some herbal teas have added health benefits.  Yet adding milk can be good, too, as often calcium levels in adults can be low.

But what about making a mug for someone else?  It can be a gift – a random act of kindness which demonstrates support and has the potential to boost the morale of the recipient.  When we feel overwhelmed we can find it hard to make even simple decisions.  Someone asking if we want a drink is just another thing to think about when we don’t want to be distracted.  A cup of tea appearing on our desk, on the other hand, demonstrates that someone has seen our struggle, thought of us and we feel valued.  People who feel valued have greater self-esteem, try harder and are more able to cope with the trials of life.  It’s called resilience.  And we need resilience if we are to have good mental health.

So, stick the kettle on and improve your mental wellbeing.  Milk, no sugar, thanks!