Lots of people underestimate just how important their health really is, but above all they underestimate the importance of their mental health. Many of us, from students and workers, face anxiety, stress and health problems from large amounts of work with little sleep and support. What people may not realise is the damage that these conditions can inflict on the body.
Surveys have found that a third of UK workers suffer from anxiety, depression and stress. A previous study carried out by the mental health charity Mind showed that almost half of public sector workers have been forced to take time off work due to mental health problems. This is a worrying amount; it is said by a study by The Independent that one in six people are affected by mental health problems during any week. It is also surprising to hear that close to a quarter of employees believe that their organisation doesn’t take employee wellbeing seriously. Part of the problem with this is that over a third of these people do not feel comfortable speaking to their employer about mental health. In many cases, this can make the sufferer’s condition worse.
There are many factors that can cause stress. The most common of these are money-related matters, work, relationships with family, partners and children. Stress can be caused by major life events and upheavals or a combination of number of minor issues. There are positive effects of stress. Research shows that our performance can actually be improved when under moderate amounts of stress. Some people find stress thrilling and engage in high-risk sports and activities. Stress only becomes unhealthy when it is long term. Prolonged or excessive stress can lead to illness and both physical and mental exhaustion. When under stress your body produces “fight or flight” chemicals such as adrenaline. These chemicals increase heart rates, blood pressure and the rate of perspiration. A chemical called cortisol releases fat and sugar to be used for energy production. However, these chemicals are very unhelpful in our every day, if there is no need for us to fight or run away. Over time these chemicals can damage our bodies. Symptoms could include nausea, headaches and indigestion. Over the long term, stress can put you at risk of strokes and heart attacks. You may also experience multiple feelings such as anger, fear, anxiety, frustration and even depression. Sufferers can even find it difficult to sleep and constantly feel irritable and tearful.
Besides being packed full of anti-oxidants and vitamins, matcha is also very effective alleviating stress. Matcha contains an amino acid called L-theanine. L-theanine is the reason why Zen Buddhist monks drink matcha before meditation as it can create a feeling of calm and focus. L-theanine has been proven to help with both psychological and physiological stress reduction in a number of medical studies. Matcha is one of the most abundant sources of L-theanine. The reason L-theanine is so powerful at combating stress is that it can access the central nervous system which controls the stress hormones. It blocks certain receptors, reducing the body’s response to stress. L-theanine also increases levels of serotonin, dopamine and GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid, one of your body's primary neurotransmitters that calms your central nervous system) which help to improve your mood. There are ways of managing stress and anxiety. A regular cup of matcha, alongside a healthy, balanced diet full of a variety of wholesome food and some moderate exercise can be an easy and simple way to help you overcome any stress or anxiety you may face.
Stress is a major problem which plagues many offices and schools. It can cause many serious illnesses and over time it can be a killer. Taking the time out of your day to lovingly make a cup of matcha is a very mindful exercise. Much like sitting down to have a cup of tea, matcha is very calming - a key aspect of overcoming your anxiety or stress. Overall, Matcha is an effective way to manage stress and improve moods.