Mindfulness for Managing Stress

By Jessica Darvell (Psychologist). MPsych(Clin.),GradDipPsych, BCom/BSc.

You’ve never had a cup of tea like this before!

Do you find yourself stressed on a regular basis? Do you get stuck going over and over things in your mind? Do you find it difficult to relax? Our lives are now so full, and we are trying to do it all. It can be hard to find a way to stop and breathe, to find time to be present and enjoy what we have. Try this simple technique to be more present in your life, to stop working on auto pilot, and to truly experience the ‘here and now’.


What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is about becoming present and noticing what is around us. Using our senses we can get out of our head and back into our body.

The 5 core features of Mindfulness:

  1. Observe
  2. Describe
  3. Participate fully
  4. Be non-judgmental
  5. Focus on one thing at a time


What is a Mindful Cup of Tea?

The concept: Using the above five features of Mindfulness and your senses (sight, smell, taste, touch and sound) to take a break. (Note: this example uses making a cup of tea, but you can do this with any hot beverage).

  • Take a moment to stop
  • Take your cup and consider how it feels in your hand, how it smells, the sound it makes as you place it on the bench, notice reflections, marks, and colours.
  • As you boil the kettle notice the sound of the kettle, how the sound changes, notice any steam, does it mist up? Can you begin to smell or taste the steam as the water boils?
  • As you put the tea in the cup notice the shape and texture of the tea, does it have a smell? Describe this to yourself.
  • As you pour the water notice how the colour of the water changes, listen to the sound of the water as it fills the cup. Notice the tea changing and evolving, the steam, the temperature and the feel. Take time to notice the tea as you make it. Describe the steps. Is there a sound as you stir the spoon?
  • Once your tea is ready to drink, bring it to your nose and smell, describe the smell to yourself. Describe the feeling of the cup in your hands, notice any sensation in your mouth, are you salivating?
  • Finally, take a sip of the tea. How does it feel in your mouth? What is happening in your mouth? How does it taste? How would you describe the experience of swallowing the tea?
  • Take these precious few moments to be present in the process of having your cup of tea. This is your time.
  • Remember – rather than making yourself a cup of tea and the whole time thinking about what you are about to do or what you have just done, STOP – turn this automated habit into a relaxing and precious ritual in your day.


Often managing stress on your own can be difficult and seeking professional help is a good idea. Speak with your GP, or contact Jessica to discuss this further.


Some more helpful resources:

Smiling Mind: https://smilingmind.com.au/

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or www.lifeline.org.au

Beyond Blue: 1300 224 636 or www.beyondblue.org.au/

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