No matter what’s going on in the world, we all feel anxious sometimes and could use a little help along the way. We’re entering into a time when “sensitivity” is not a bad word. Let’s take a dive into a particular coping strategy called Grounding.
What is “grounding”?
Well, it depends on who you ask. Some say grounding is centering. Some say it has to do with connecting to the similarities between the electromagnetic fields of the earth and the human heart. And some say it’s just putting your feet or hands on the earth to calm and connect.
When we feel like we’re spiraling and just can’t stop the racing “monkey mind,” slowing down and taking some deep breaths can give us a sense of ease. From this space, we’re more able to respond more purposefully and make sounder decisions.
Some people use the term “earthing,” and this refers to putting some part of our bodies on the earth. This simple act has shown to help decrease inflammation in the body by using the natural electrical field that exists in the Earth itself. Research has shown the significant potential of barefoot contact with the ground and how it can help day-night cortisol balance for better sleep and a decrease in pain. According to USNews, some studies show that just being in nature for long stretches periods of time can increase white blood cell count, which is critical in fighting infection. Another study concludes “research done to date supports the concept that grounding or earthing the human body may be an essential element in the health equation.”
But whether you choose to put your feet or hands in the grass, water, or even on concrete, you’re likely to experience a slowing- down effect. There is so much to feel and sense when we’re in nature and that it takes our minds off of the daily grind is a bonus.
Imagine standing on the sand or near a giant tree. Then picture actual roots connecting you to the ground. We’re all connected to each other, to the planet, and to the universe. This exercise confirms that deep down and has been shown to decrease symptoms of anxiety and PTSD by creating “space from distressing feelings.”
Taking deep breaths is an effective way to get out of our heads for a moment. This gives us the opportunity to connect to what is really happening. Another strategy is journaling. This provides an outlet for anxiety-producing thoughts, creating a space to feel more in control.
Getting out into nature — no matter how briefly — reaps big rewards. Recall how fun it was getting a little dirty as a kid; find that carefree feeling again in your grounding practice. Take a dive. Take a walk. And chill out.
Photo: Kalaivani Somiah via Wikimedia Commons