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Drinking tea is a profound ritual that will improve your life

Drinking tea is a profound ritual that will improve your life

The simple act of drinking tea is one many of us take for granted. We do it on the run, sometimes letting it go cold or not even finishing it. We don’t sit down and stop to actually enjoy it. Drinking tea has a long history. It is something people have been doing for centuries all around the world and these days we can harness all that knowledge to make it a ritual that will enhance our lives; forcing us to slow down and embrace the many benefits of tea on a physical, mental and emotional level.

Tea has a long and complex history. It is likely to have originated in Yunnan Province in China as far back as 3 AD. Specifically, the plant itself originated near the lands of northeast India, north Burma, southwest China and Tibet. It was consumed as a medicinal drink, then later for pleasure. The Chinese used it not only as an antidote to poison, but also as a restorative drink. The Chinese introduced tea to the Portuguese during the 16th century and the British began tea production and consumption in India during the 17th century to compete with the Chinese market.

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It isn’t difficult to understand how people then spread this comforting and therapeutic custom across the globe. Drinking tea soon became a tradition for many different cultures and tea is enjoyed in different ways around the world.

The most well known tea ceremony in the world is the Japanese Matcha tea ceremony. The Japanese were introduced to drinking tea by the Chinese in around the 8th century and the green powdered Matcha tea came to Japan in around the 12th century.

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“Preparing tea in this ceremony means pouring all one’s attention into the predefined movements. The whole process is not about drinking tea, but is about aesthetics, preparing a bowl of tea from one’s heart. The host of the ceremony always considers the guests with every movement and gesture.” – The Japanese Tea Ceremony

We can apply the principles of the Japanese Matcha tea ceremony to our own tea drinking rituals to some extent. The first step is to just slow down and make time to enjoy the process of making a cup of tea and drinking it quietly. Acquiring utensils that are delicate and beautiful, meaningful and sentimental can also enhance our experience. Perhaps an ornate tea pot, tea cup and saucer; or a mug with our favorite sporting team or quote on it. Tea drinking souvenirs that we bought on a special holiday or from a place dear to our heart can be used to boost our nostalgia. Drinking tea at home or at work at a certain time of the day, every day can become a daily ritual to center us, make us more mindful and bring us back to the present moment.

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Choosing the tea we drink is important too. Black tea is the most common and accessible of teas and can be consumed in a variety of ways. You can drink it with or without milk and sugar, honey or lemon. These days there are also a variety of green teas, fruit teas and herbal infusions that are available in both loose leaf or packaged in tea bags. We are spoiled for choice and each infusion has its own unique flavour and health properties.

Drinking tea has been scientifically proven to have a number of health benefits due to the antioxidants it contains. It certainly aids hydration and is an excellent replacement for those wanting to cut down on their consumption of coffee and increase their consumption of water. Tea can be consumed as a comforting warm drink or a refreshing chilled beverage. Its versatility and simplicity is underrated.

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Visualize this scenario. You’ve had a long day at work and have a million things running through your mind. You come home and turn off your phone and find a place of solitude and silence. You take your favourite cup and place a tea bag inside; you boil some water. You pour the boiling water in your cup and let the tea bag steep. Imagine how you like to drink your tea. Will you add some honey or milk? Perhaps some lemon? You take your cup to a comfortable place where you will sit and contemplate. You close your eyes and take a deep breath; the aroma of the tea filling your nostrils, the warmth of the cup or mug in your hands fills your body.

You wait. In silence. Just breathing. Until the liquid is cool enough to drink but still very warm and slowly you take a sip. The warmth of the liquid touches your lips and tongue and fills your mouth, gently flowing down your throat and into your stomach. Your whole body becomes warm. You breathe. Close your eyes and just be. Drinking tea. Still and calm. Making time stop. At peace.

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Diane Koopman

Writer, Author, Novelist, Self-Publisher

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get comfortable with discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

4. See failure as a teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

5. Take baby steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

6. Hang out with risk takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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