How many of you made the 2017 resolution to slow down and enjoy the little things in life? Or perhaps you have promised to practice meditation or mindfulness, but struggle to keep your brain quiet in the first few minutes. We get it. Really. That’s why we love the idea of bringing mindfulness to simple activities we already know and love—like brewing and enjoying a cup of tea.
When was the last time you paid attention to each step in making your tea? It’s easy for our days to be driven by habit, and even easier to go through the motions of something as easy as boiling water or opening a pouch of Bigelow Tea. However, by consciously directing our attention to the ritual of making tea, we can slow things down and let ourselves become aware of each step. And it is in those mindful moments where we are paying attention to all of our senses—the sound of the water being poured, the wafting scent of the tea as it steeps, the touch of the warm mug as you bring it to your lips, the delicious taste of your favorite flavor as you sip. Pretty cool, huh? It sounds relaxing just thinking about it!
Here are a few suggested tips from mindful.org to help you practice mindfulness during your next teatime:
- Pay attention to the sound of the water heating and boiling in the kettle. Hear its bubbling and gurgling. Can you see wisps of steam coming from the spout? Does the kettle subtly shake from the movement of the water inside?
- Pouring the tea, watch the color of the water change as it meets the teabag. Be interested in the transformation from clear water to tea, and the sound of the liquid as it fills the cup.
- As you remove the teabag, let yourself hear any related sounds. Do you throw it away in the trash can or the compost pile? Does the lid open and close? Do you add a splash of milk or a sweetener? Does the spoon make noise as your stir the tea?
- Notice the warming of the cup that contains the hot liquid. How do your hands feel as you hold it?
- Now, bring the cup to your lips. Be aware of how your arm and hand move. Are you sitting? Standing? Notice how your body feels.
- Take a sip of tea. Rather than gulping it down, see if you can let the taste tickle your tongue. Perhaps gently move the liquid around your mouth. Savor the taste. Feel the heat of the tea as you swallow.
- Continue drinking the tea until the cup is empty or you decide to stop drinking. Has the tea gone cold, has the taste changed, is there an impulse to get on with your next activity?
Of course these aren’t strict steps to follow. The key is to open yourself up to the ritual of making tea, and appreciate each moment, sense by sense. It’s also a great opportunity to pause. Breathe. Connect. And recognize how tea can truly sooth the soul.
Let us know if you try practicing mindful tea drinking and tag your special moment of bliss with #TeaProudly.