My friend called to say she “NEEDED” a cup of tea. It had been a week! Plus, the kids were on holiday and off from school.
The call came in; I answered it and listened. My friend was going stir crazy because extreme weather once again prevented outdoor activities for her kids who had the day off from school. She needed a cup of tea. I had a different but equally challenging week sifting through mounds of a family member's paperwork trying to locate important papers. We both had a busy and intense week. We both needed a cup of tea.
My friend was stressed out. I invited her over for a cup of tea. I told her I was out in the garden, cleaning out leaves before the next round of snow buried the leaves. I warned her that I was covered in dirt, leaves, and scratches from pruning my rose bushes, and that I looked frightful. She is a wonderful friend; she didn’t care how I looked. She was just having a “normal crazy day” and a day that she needed to get out of the house and talk to a friend.
Types Of Stress
There are two types of stress. There is positive stress (Eustress) and negative stress (Distress). Eustress is positive stress with examples including; a long awaited trip, a wedding, or holiday time. Positive stress can motivate, is exciting, improves peak performance, is able to be coped with within our abilities, and is most likely short lived.
Negative stress (distress) can include death of a family member or friend, legal problems, or bankruptcy to name a few stressors. Distress may create a sense of anxiety while going through the distress. It diminishes task performance, and can be short lived or long term stress.
If you or a loved one is dealing with debilitating stress that is outside your coping skills and strategies… there is help! School counselors, numerous public agencies, hotlines, places of spiritual worship and gatherings, and private counseling sessions are available for help. These services may be free or possibly have a sliding fee scale for services. See the reference section below for several help hotline numbers.
What I call a “normal” stressed out day is a day full of one thing after the other that occurs, where the pace is fast, your time is not your own, and only a friend could relate! To me, the “normal” stress is a neutral stress; neither bad or good stress, more chaotic, and hectic stress of daily living. My friend was just having a “normal”, hectic, kids are home from school type of day. She expressed that she just needed to get out of the house and talk to a friend and laugh. In my opinion, these types of days could be helped along with a good friend, a cup of tea, and laughter.
In fact, the word “normal" as applied humorously to physiological evaluations of just about everything, I found was attributed to an author and comedian Patsy Clairmont. Her book "Normal Is Just A Setting On Your Dryer”, written through the lens of the author’s own spiritual journey, appears to have a light hearted approach to common everyday life observations. According to her book’s title and introduction, without actually having read the book, the word “normal” appears to suggest life is anything but “normal”.
Another author whose work I am familiar with is Erma Bombeck (1927-1996). She was a syndicated newspaper columnist who wrote observations about her life with a heavy dose of humor sprinkled throughout her works. In addition, she penned fifteen books throughout her lifetime. Several of her famous quotes are: “I come from a family where gravy is considered a beverage”, “Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died”, and lastly “When humor goes, there goes civilization”.
Psychologist and author Karen Horneffer-Ginger stated “The beauty of using humor and keeping a sense of lightness and playfulness in our life is that it helps us deal with life as it is-the ups and downs, the unexpected changes, and the frustrations we may encounter”. Laughter can be beneficial to us. According to the Mayo Clinic laughter can increase your intake of oxygen, increase endorphins, aid muscle relaxation, has the potential to decrease heart rate and blood pressure, and improve mood. Author Allen Klein states in his book "You Can’t Ruin My Day" that humor helps us not take ourselves too seriously. He also recommends that we have “humor buddies” in our lives that we can laugh with and who help us lift our mood when we start to slump in our mood.
Alpha Waves And Tea
Black tea and green tea, derived from the Camellia Sinensis plant, have a measured amount of a chemical called L-theanine, in the cup. It has been purported that L-theanine can possibly increase the alpha wave brain activity after exposure to the chemical. An increased alpha wave in the brain perhaps may lend to a more alert, yet calm state of being. Disclaimer: I am not claiming that tea will mitigate stress, cure bad moods, fix unwanted circumstances, and heal all physical ailments and diseases. What I am suggesting is that possibly the consumption of black and green tea may have an increase in alpha wave brain activity, thus maybe increasing a feel good mood.
My friend and I had a fun time drinking tea, and catching up on each other’s lives while laughing away the stress of the day. I am not clear if it was the L-theanine in the tea, enjoying a cup of hot tea on a blustery and chilly day, or the mere fact of laughing with a friend, but my mood was lifted. I could tell that my friend laughed more, seemed more relaxed, and her mood seemed to lighten too. Our busy schedules only allowed an hour that day to laugh and enjoy a cup of tea together. It was a well spent hour filled with humor, laughter, friendship, and tea.
“If you can’t make it better, you can laugh about it”. - Erma Bombeck
May you have a friend to laugh with while sipping tea,
Bombeck, Erma. www.brainyquote.com, www.Wikipedia.org
Clairmont, Patsy. “Normal Is Just A Setting On Your Dryer”. Tyndale House Publishers, 1998.
Klein, Allen. “You Can’t Ruin My Day”. Viva Editions, 2015.
Leaf, Dr. Caroline. “100 Ways To Be Less Stressed”. Baker Books, 2020.
Ukrainian, Mark. “The Ultimate TEA Diet”. HarperCollins Publishers, 2008.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255
About The Author
Leslie Sundberg is a World Tea Academy Certified Tea Specialist, a World Tea Academy Apprentice Tea Sommelier, a Specialty Tea Institute Level IV trained Tea Specialist, and a Tea and Business Etiquette Specialist. On any given day, Leslie can be found teaching, speaking or sharing in the joys of a cup of tea. No matter what Leslie is doing or where she is, one thing remains constant: 4:00 in the afternoon is tea time!