We see the terms “grounding techniques“, “grounding” and “grounded” gaining momentum in the mental health and wellness discourses lately. There is a very good reason for that. Modern life is characterized by frantic everyday rhythms, stress, anxiety, and a host of pathological conditions, either mental or physical, to accompany all the frenzy.
Grounding techniques can be a way to save oneself from the insanity that comes with urban lifestyles. Grounding oneself can prove to be vital in achieving amazing longterm improvements in their physical and mental health.
But what does it mean to be grounded? What happens when one is ungrounded? And how do grounding techniques work?
Well, there have been many theories around grounding and its essence. Some are based around the effects immediate contact with the Earth might have and put a scientific spin on the phenomenon. Others take the concept of grounding as something more intimately linked with one’s mental health.
“Grounding” oneself in that context can mean calming oneself down from the edges of an anxiety attack or other similar episodes. But regardless of the approach people choose to adopt when encountering Grounding, one constant characteristic of the concept remains; it is a tremendous step towards self-care, healing and nurturing oneself.
When we are ungrounded, it easily shows.
Even if we cannot tell, others can; and even if others cannot tell, our body itself will alert us to the imbalance raging inside. A mind and a body unmoored, without grounding, will only deteriorate.
Mental health jargon might use the word “dissociation” for it. Feeling like a stranger in your own body, disconnected from your surrounding people and experiences, even at the moment when you are interacting with them directly. This can lead to severe emotional damage and physical symptoms.
These can include chronic pain, inflammation, sleep deprivation or worse. Then it simply becomes a vicious cycle of confusion and disconnectedness. This is where grounding and grounding techniques come in; it can range from a few simple tricks to a full-blown way of life, and it never disappoints.
The main principle of grounding revolves around re-establishing a connection between mind and body. It’s a connection that we have lost or neglected due to the hectic pace of everyday life. It revolves about regaining the forgotten, natural knowledge of what it feels like to be present and aware of one’s own physicality and place in the world, as a natural part of the circle of existence.
One can slowly yet easily achieve grounding via a few simple techniques, such as these:
It’s not a big secret that meditation simply works. It may have become more popularized in the West and achieved a mainstream status during the past couple of decades, but the art of meditation has a long history of practice and reverence and is deeply rooted in Eastern spiritual esotericism.
Grounding via meditation can have the extra characteristic of using one’s senses (or what is more commonly known as the 5-4-3-2-1 senses meditation). You look for five things you can see, or you try to visualize them. You then feel four things immediately surrounding you, by sensing their textures, shapes, and contours.
Next, you listen carefully to your surroundings until you can identify three sounds accurately. After that, you identify two different scents by smelling the air. The green grass, or the Dewey earth, for example. Or the smokiness of a warm fire.
And finally, you taste one thing. It might be nothing, or it might be a piece of candy you happen to be carrying. All these will help you unchain yourself from the never-ending trains of anxious thought overrun with duties, drama, deadlines, and dread.
The technique will help you feel present in your own body and remind you of a simple fact. That our sometimes overwhelming reality is only composed of small separate parts that we cannot enjoy unless giving them our undivided attention.
This one harks back to the scientific theorization aspect of grounding. It revolves around the hypothesis that the earth produces energy that is transferred to us through the naked soles of our feet. According to the theory, this can help us achieve a higher quality of life inside and out.
Earthing is not a new trend. Even if you’re skeptical about it, it can’t help but intrigue you a little. When was the last time you walked barefoot? Most likely on a sandy beach or a park, all moments of recreation, relaxation and quality time, either with yourself or your loved ones.
So, perhaps there’s value in giving earthing a shot. Simply take your shoes off. Feel the ground beneath your feet. Visualize yourself getting nutrition from below, take a deep breath… and let it all go.
3. Physical Activity
This is a grounding technique that easily combines the ones mentioned above and can yield multiple fruits. By “physical activity” one should not imagine the nightmarish, sardine-can idea of fifty strangers huffing and puffing in a sweat-soaked, linoleum-smelling box.
Physical activity is and can be completely natural. It can range from a morning walk to the nearby park, while walking a pet maybe, or simply taking the air, to swimming, playing with rackets, climbing, and so on. The benefits are at least two-faceted.
Your body releases toxins through sweating, and the connection to the earth without any mechanical mediation refreshes you. At the same time, exercise increases your focus and mental clarity. With the increase of endorphins, your system purges toxins, and you finish your session feeling reborn.
Grounding techniques may vary, but they all boil down to three basic mandates. One, become more aware by purposefully stimulating your senses. Two, manage to regain your sense of self and being present by enjoying an actual physical connection with the earth; and three, create a mental and physical space for yourself.
A place where you can simply exist as part of nature for a while. Heal yourself and deepen your connection with the Earth; it’s only a step away.