It has long been an English tradition that, when things get tough, our first instinct is to put the kettle on. If you Google ‘why do the British’, one of the top suggested question finishers is ‘love tea’, that’s how strong the association has become. It might seem like a slightly bizarre thing to do in times of need, but is there a problem that won’t be solved with a good cup of tea?
Time for calm
If you’ve just been hit with a major crisis and you’re having a full on freak-out, you’ll often be told to just take a few moments to calm down. Once you’ve had a few deep breaths, you can then begin to deal with the situation that’s hit you. When people panic, they often don’t know what to do with themselves and this is where the kettle can come in handy.
Making a cup of tea gives you something to do and something to concentrate on that isn’t directly linked to whatever issue you’re attempting to deal with. You have a few moments to clear your mind and concentrate on something else. Once your tea is made, you then have a warm beverage to distract you and give the illusion that everything is going to be ok.
Warm and cosy
When you have your first sip of a hot drink, it can feel like you’re getting a virtual cuddle. Your insides are warmed and there is a feeling of security. When you’re panicking about something, it can be just what you need to feel like you’re not alone anymore. The added bonus of it tasting good always helps as well.
If someone else has made you a cuppa while you continue your freak-out, you’ll often find that they’ve added a spoonful of sugar as well. This will help to bring up your blood sugar levels - which often drops dramatically when you start to panic - and stop the dreaded shakes from kicking in.
One of the key reasons why people offer to make a cup of tea is so that they can keep busy while you get over the initial shock or crisis that you’re having. Once they return with a steaming mug, they are then there with a friendly ear and ready to listen. A problem shared is a problem halved and what better way to solve it than over a cup of tea? Get the biscuits out and you’ve practically got yourself a party!
If you’re at work, you can find a walk to the vending machine or the kitchen is enough to calm you down and collect your thoughts. A quick chat over the kettle can make all those little stresses virtually disappear and you can continue with your day that much happier - just because you had a cup of tea.
Old habits die hard
Of course, there is also the point that having a cup of tea has become quintessentially British. We’re known for it, so we just embrace it even more. There are those who are more partial to a cup of coffee or even a hot chocolate, but when it comes down to it, a good, old fashioned cup of tea with a couple of biscuits or a cake is near-on unbeatable.
So if you’re having a bad day just know that once you put the kettle on, you’ll feel a little calmer, get a nice warm feeling in your tummy and realise that everything is going to be OK after all. And even if it doesn’t, at least you’ll have had a drink and a few moments to yourself to gather your thoughts.