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Monthly Archives: September 2017

A Cup of Tea in the Hour of Need

A cup of tea alongside teapots, milk jug and sugar bowl, all red china with white spotted pattern

A cup of tea can do more than you think.

It’s more than a cup of tea – it’s a cup of CALM.

A cup of tea.  How many nasty situations have been calmed by a cup of tea over the years?  I could not begin to guess; could you?

In 2015, an article in the Telegraph stated that the average British person enjoys 876 cups of tea each year: enough to fill more than two bathtubs.

Further research seemed to conclude that we Brits drink so much tea because it is associated with comfort.

Whether you take it with milk, lemon or two sugars, the fact remains the same: the presence of a hot, steaming china cup or mug of tea gives a feeling of safety and warmth, and it restores a sense of calm. This is no more true than in difficult circumstances or hard times.

A cup of tea – it really is a British institution. The bedrock of restoring calm.

So, today, when London has been rocked by another terror attack, it is no great surprise – although a welcome one – that the compassion of our capital city is shown by Londoners opening their homes and apartments, offering tea to total strangers.

A simple enough gesture, perhaps, but offering tea in this situation is actually a very powerful outward show of solidarity. It demonstrates care for total strangers who, away from home, found themselves caught up in a trauma they could not imagine.

A cup of tea in the aftermath of terror

These small acts of human kindness are extremely powerful. They are grounding and calming at the same time. Provided by strangers of all ages, these simple gestures will in fact prevent many of those poor people caught up in this latest atrocity from developing ongoing symptoms of trauma.

Coming to terms with trauma alongside others who are similarly affected, makes perfect sense. Basic human warmth, cohesion and generosity is sometimes much more powerful than anything psychology, religion or government can offer.

Making sense of an awful situation with the comfort of others is a powerful, calming influence, and bonding over a cup of tea will undoubtedly help.

Who would have thought that the humble cup of tea could be so necessary?

Written by Dr Chrissie Tizzard, Chartered Consultant Psychologist, PsychD, BSc, MSc, C.Psychol, C.Sci, AFBPS. Dr Tizzard is the Clinical Director of Christine Tizzard Psychology (ctpsy.co.uk). 

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