Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mellowing out with green tea

This morning didn't exactly go as planned. I found an unauthorized charge on my credit card, then the valve stem on my new bike tire broke. By the time I got to the office, I was pretty steaming about both. I made a cup of green tea simply out of habit, not necessarily thinking that the tea would help me calm down.

But after about the second or third gulp of warm, tasty, aromatic green tea, I could feel my heartbeat slow. Unconsciously, I let out a couple of deep sighs, as if letting go of what was stressing me out.

This is a good example of how the full benefits of green tea are not limited to what's in the tea itself -- green tea is an experience. This mellowing experience includes the act of preparing the tea, enjoying its aroma and taste, and feeling the soothing warmth of the tea spread through your body. The combined effect is a calming, relaxing one. (There is also a scientific reason why green tea is mellowing.)

No wonder some baseball players drink green tea before a game.

After this morning's experience, I wondered what would have happened if, because of an interruption, for instance, I hadn't made a cup of tea right when I did. That stress would have lasted much longer. The lesson there is to make it a habit to brew a cup of green tea as a way to simmer down.

—Mellow Monk

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