What is grounding?
1. Physically connecting to the Earth (also called “earthing")
2. Reconnecting to the present moment and the Self
Why do you need to practice grounding?
Our lives are stressful, there is no question about that. No matter who or where you are, you experience stress. From circumstantial stress, physical stress, chemical stress, or even stress from the electrical impulses from your devices, stress is abundant in our lives. It is so easy to disassociate and worry about the future. Grounding practices can be used to reduce the body's response to store these stresses. Practicing grounding techniques are especially useful if you are prone to anxiety, panic attacks, or suffer from post traumatic stress. In the practice of earthing, you, a being full of electrical impulse, connects with the earth physically to discharge into the electromagnetic field of the earth. With all of the technology around us, pulsing electrical waves through our body, it is important to discharge this extra electricity that can cause imbalances in the body and mind. During this practice of grounding, you are able to reconnect to your present self and mind thus calming the “fight, flight, and freeze” nervous system response that is brought along with anxiety and depression. If you feel disassociated when you have an anxious or depressive episode, grounding is an excellent way to proactively move the energy so it does not overwhelm your system.
What are some ways to get grounded?
For earthing, the main focus is to connect to the earth. This can be very difficult in a big city, but not impossible. Create a circuit with your body to the earth by having both feet barefoot on the ground. Grass, dirt, and stone are the best places to do this. Simply standing for 1-10 minutes is enough to ground you. Walking barefoot in the park or lying on the ground are both excellent ways to get grounded and connect to the earth. If you need something to think about while you are standing, count your inhales and exhales or imagine a circular river flowing through you from the top of your head, into the ground, and all the way back up as you breathe. Grounding practice can be done quickly, anywhere, and as soon as you feel an extreme emotion rising (or any time you want to relax).
Connect your feet to the ground. Feel your feet evenly on the ground. Even in shoes, bringing your awareness to the sensations that your feet are feeling can ground you back into the present moment. This will make you feel stable and in your body. The feet represent moving forward or taking the next step, so as you bring your awareness to this area, you are preparing your mind to continue moving forward once you are calm.
Counting your breath. This common grounding technique may take some practice. Try not to force your breath, but allow it to flow and count alongside each inhale. Your body does not want to be in a “fight or flight” mentality so by counting your breath it allows your nervous system to slow, you ground yourself to be in the present and welcome a natural state of ease to your body.
This may sound strange, but taking a cold shower can help you get grounded. The shock of the cold water pulls you back into body and brings awareness to new sensations that your body is feeling as well as elevate dopamine levels (improving blood flow).
Stimulating your senses is another method of grounding in order to calm your mind. Examples include holding an ice cube, drinking something hot, diffusing or breathing in an essential oil, and squishing a stress ball.
Distraction. By giving your mind a designated task it will occupy your anxious mind by distracting it from the current state it is in (fight or flight) and redirect it to complete the task. For example: find all of the square objects in the room, touch all of the green things around you, count by 3’s, or recite something out loud.
Grounding exercises can be done for any duration of time and can be done anywhere! Completing grounding exercises prior to bed is also a great way to calm yourself and slow your mind, heart, and breathing prior to sleep.
Earthing and grounding are both practices that can fit in reducing anxiety, calm or relieve a panic attack, recenter you during a depressive state, and release adverse electrical currents in your body. You may not feel different at first, but small indicators can be celebrations. Distance between anxious or depressive episodes, a quicker recovery from those episodes, better sleep, less inflammation, and more energy are all worth celebrating!