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9 Groovy Benefits Of Green Tea

9 Groovy Benefits Of Green Tea

In his 1906 essay The Book of Tea, Kakuzo Okakura laid bare to Westerners the social, cultural, and spiritual essence of tea drinking. He dubbed the experience Teaism, and his work has become a minor classic. During an age when coffee consumption has become the cultural mainstay of society, Okakura’s writing is a vibrant reminder of the deeply ingrained history humans have with the other popular beverage – tea.

The health benefits of green tea have been repeated in many articles across the internet, but there is much more to this ancient drink than a significant health boost. The benefits of green tea have been exploited by humans for thousands of years, with a lengthy history in China and Japan standing testament to its incredible attributes. It remains a social and cultural exercise which can unite people, boost morale, promote inner harmony, and introduce fans to a new world of tastes and sensations. Read on to find out the wonderful world of green tea.

                              The Book of Tea

Book of Tea

    “Teasim is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. It inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.”

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    The now rather legendary The Book of Tea details the extensive role of tea in Japanese culture, which can be considered as Teaism. Kakuzo Okakura essentially wrote it as an emphatic love letter to Western audiences, explaining the joys and intricacies of tea drinking. It was originally written in English to promote the values Okakura saw in tea consumption, but has since been translated into many languages.

    Along with tea, Okakura promoted Buddhist ideals which, when merged with Teaism, the author believed could teach practitioners the joy of simplicity. This is the predominant benefit of tea – it removes the complexities of life and replaces them with a moment of untroubled perfection. Reading The Book of Tea would offer an introduction to this frame of mind, along with purchasing a brand of your choice to join this ancient and intriguing tradition. Green tea is easily accessible, readily available, and provides a multitude of benefits which can be enjoyed by everyone. Below are 9 examples of its far reaching influence, and how you can take advantage of it.

    1. It provides a positive social experience

    Tea drinking isn’t a solitary practice, it can be the basis of social events and a reason to get together. It can be even taken to a grander scale, such as in Japan where tea ceremonies are social exercises. “Ritual, grace, and protocol infuse many actions in Japanese culture, and none are more poetic in in chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony,” explains TeaClass. They add, “Patience, a difficult virtue in the western world, is essential for the conducting of chanoyu and even for an appreciation, yet the reward is tranquillity achieved through shared community between host and guests.”

    Googling your local town or city will no doubt unearth some tea ceremonies, or you can hold one at your home. Invite friends around and catch up, making an unique change to the more popular western option of heading to a bar.

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    2. It can boost your health

    Green tea has been used as a health boost for thousands of years, and in the modern era its benefits have now been backed up by scientific research. As noted by New York Times Best Selling author Dr. Mercola, tea can be a valuable part of a healthy diet. “If you enjoy green tea, by all means add a few cups to your day. Just be sure to drink your green tea ‘straight’. Adding sugar, milk, or other ‘embellishments’ (one exception being some citrus juice), will counter many of the benefits of tea.” Keeping to these requirements can help tea boost your memory, lower your blood pressure, and alleviate stress.

    It’s worth noting it would be wise to choose organic varieties of tea from reputable brands, reducing the amount of preservatives and pollutants on your tea. Organic food and drink gets a bad reputation as expensive, but a box of organic tea will only set you back a few dollars.

    3. It provides inner harmony

    The consumption of tea makes for a relaxing experience. It contains amino acids which are part of an amine group and a carboxylic acid group. When the tea is brewed the water soluble amino acids, of which L-theanine is 60%, release the “umami” flavour (which attributes to the distinctive taste). L-theanine, other than adding green tea’s palatability, “increases alpha brain wave activity, which induces relaxation. By relaxing you are effectively able to reduce stress!” Added to this, “it combines caffeine in a matter that produces relaxed alertness. L-theanine lets you enjoy the increased-concentration effect from caffeine (also found in green tea) without the associated anxiety and restlessness.”

    Additionally, as described by Natural News, you can try other herbs such as valerian, chamomile, kava, lemon balm, oat flower, and lavender as natural alleviators of anxiety and stress.

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    4. Tea brands often promote green practices

    Many organic tea brands, such as Pukka (a particular favourite of mine), are environmentally conscious. As stated on Pukka’s official packaging, their designs are “printed with vegetable ink on card from renewable sources and is recyclable”. As for the tea bags, “the string on each bag is organic; and because we don’t staple our bags, they’re wildlife friendly to compost. Add to that 100% non-BM ingredients, and you have an incredibly tasting tea that’s good for you, as well as the planet”.

    Other brands, such as Clipper, use unbleached tea bags alongside their organic ingredient commitment. This does highlight the importance of choosing organic tea; this will limit pesticide intake and help protect the environment. Once the tea bag has been used you can also add it to your compost heap (if you have one!), or bin it in the knowledge it will biodegrade.

    5. It helps promote Fair Trade practices

    Many organic tea brands, such as Yogi Tea and Clipper, promote Fair Trade practices. As Clipper confirm, “We use only the highest-quality sources, add nothing artificial, and strive to improve the welfare of the workers.” There you have it, drinking tea is good for you and the economy.

    6. It has unusual household benefits

    Aylin Erman, in his article from Eco Salon, records many of the unusual benefits of tea. Once you’re finished with a bag, it would be wise not to bin it. You can use the tea bags to feed plants (adding the tea under the soil “infuses the roots with nutrients”), prevent odors (“tea bags are highly absorbent and will take in both liquids and odors”), clean pots and pans (adding green tea bags to messy pots/pans filled with water allows the tannins in the tea t remove grease), and flavor meat as a marinade.

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    7. It can be used for cosmetic beauty purposes

    Thanks to Eco Salon, it’s also apparent green tea can be used for cosmetic purposes. Due to its antioxidant properties, green tea can be used to treat acne and help alleviate eye puffiness. “The tannins found in green tea constrict blood vessels and tame under eye bags,” the site claims. Just be sure to use tea bags which have cooled, rather than one straight from boiling water.

    8. It can help you buy unique gifts

    Catering for tea fans is straight forward as there are a myriad of unique tea based gifts. The variety available is impressive and takes in the likes of unusual teapots, wine inspired tea, monkey picked tea, tea kits, and eco cups. You can find a full list for inspiration here and surprise your friends and family in the near future.

    9. It will introduce you to the fantastical world of tea

    The world of tea is far more varied than you can imagine. There are the familiar names you may have heard of already, such as green, white, black, Earl Grey, and assam. Herbal teas aren’t to be forgotten, however, as they provide a remarkable variety of flavours which can assist with overall health. The likes of mint, ginger, nettle, and jasmine are often even merged with green tea to provide new flavours. You can find a detailed selection here.

    For other information sources try sites such as Learn About Tea and Tea USA, or gain a tea education from award winning tea historian Jane Pettigrew!

    Featured photo credit: Pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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