Healthy For Life Starts Today
We’re all creatures of habit. Whether we realize it or not, much of what we do on a daily basis happens automatically. I’m not referring to things like breathing or digestion, but things we learn and then forget about, like tying our shoelaces, drawing a circle, or driving home from work.
Once we learn a task, our brains are designed to switch to automatic pilot to conserve energy and work efficiently. Instead of making a constant series of decisions (Do I brush my teeth now? How much toothpaste do I use? Do I start in the middle, or work my way from top to bottom?), once a habit is incorporated, we just do it. And it’s not easy to change it once it’s in place. (Try to brush your teeth with the opposite hand.)
Both good habits and bad habits occupy the same place in our brain, which doesn’t make a moral judgment whether or not the habit is beneficial or harmful. Once a habit is in place, it will happen like clockwork unless we exert a specific effort to change it. The same is true for creating a new habit, which requires decision-making and conscious effort until it’s established.
Although America is mostly a nation of coffee drinkers, tea consumption is on the rise, and for good reason: it’s tasty, easy to prepare, and loaded with health benefits. (note – I am referring to teas as a broad category, which includes black tea, green tea, herbal tea, chai, and fruit teas. As long as the teas aren’t loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients, all types of teas are healthy.)
Here are a few of the benefits you get from drinking some type of tea every day:
- You’re going to increase your daily dose of nutrients and antioxidants
- Your immune system gets a boost
- Tea consumption plays a role in disease prevention
- You can replace less healthy beverages like soda or energy drinks with tea
- You’ll be exposed to new flavors, cultures, and traditions from around the world
- A daily tea habit can create much-needed time to think and reflect, or catch up on your reading
- You can include others in your tea ritual; your family and friends will also reap the health benefits, and it will give you a time to socialize
The benefits of a daily tea habit can actually snowball and kickstart a series of other healthy habits, such as:
- Daily journaling
- Drinking more water
- Making healthy food choices
- Exercising more regularly
- Becoming more mindful in other areas of your life
You can tailor your tea habit to fit perfectly into your own life; just identify the things you like and get started! I’m going to borrow and reinvent a Chinese proverb to help motivate you:
The best time to start a healthy habit was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
This is the “about you” section, so you can think about your goals and choose what works best for you.
- Do you want caffeine or teas without caffeine?
- Do you like hot tea or iced tea?
- What do you want to get out of your tea habit? More energy? Help with relaxing? A specific health interest?
- What time of day works best for you?
- What types of flavors do you like? Fruity? Spicy? Unflavored classic black tea? Chamomile or mint?
- What types of tea-making accessories interest you? Do you want something reusable? Easy to clean? Dummy-proof? Something that looks good in your kitchen? Something that makes the perfect single serving or enough for a family?
There are no wrong answers, so jump in and get started! You’ll never know how great you might feel if you don’t take that first step.
If you want to learn more about how to break bad habits and stick to new ones, click here for summaries of two highly recommended books:
Better Than Before, by Gretchen Rubin http://fourminutebooks.com/better-than-before-summary/
The Power Of Habit, by Charles Duhigg
Learn about different personality types and how they break bad habits, and take a quiz to identify what type of habit breaker you are.
Tell us about your experiences!
In good health,