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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 July 8, 2020

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

    The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

    1. Understand Yourself Better

    Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

    Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

    2. Keep Track of Small Changes

    I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

    Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

    3. Become Aware of What Matters

    As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

    You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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    4. Boost Creativity

    The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

    When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

    You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

    5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

    A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

    Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

    6. Process Life Experiences

    When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

    Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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    7. Stress Relief

    In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

    Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

    8. Provide Direction

    Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

    One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

    9. Solve Problems

    Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

    Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

    When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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    10. Find Relief From Fighting

    Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

    Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

    11. Find Meaning in Life

    Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

    12. Allow Yourself to Focus

    Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

    13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

    When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

    14. Let the Past Go

    I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

    15. Allow Freedom

    Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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    16. Enhance Your Career

    Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

    Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

    17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

    All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

    18. Catalog Your Life for Others

    No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

    We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

    Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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