You hear about grounding and how we all need it, but outside of a term that yogis use, what is grounding? Why do we need it? Is it worth adding to our already filled to-do lists?
First, let’s pump it up, so we have a reason to care. According to an article in the Journal of Inflammation Research, The effects of grounding, (earthing) on inflammation, the immune response, wound healing, and prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, “Grounding appears to improve sleep, normalize the day–night cortisol rhythm, reduce pain, reduce stress, shift the autonomic nervous system from sympathetic toward parasympathetic activation, increase heart rate variability, speed wound healing, and reduce blood viscosity.” In layman’s terms, it reduces stress, inflammation, improves sleep and shifts our bodies from fight or flight into rest and digest mode. It also increases our immune system and allows our bodies to heal more quickly. That’s pretty impressive. Sign me up.
The first type of grounding, or earthing, is the reason why walking on the beach barefoot makes you feel so good. Many people are on vacation while doing this, so, of course, being on vacation can have something to do with it, but researchers are finding that there’s something to connecting with the earth, something we do less and less of in industrial nations wearing shoes daily. So how do we do it?
When you are grounding/earthing, you are connecting with the earth, literally with your hands or feet, or using some sort of device, like a grounding mat, that allows you do it through the electrical port in your wall that grounds your home’s electrical system into the earth. See earthing.com for more on the devices. To keep it simple, all you have to do is walk barefoot on the earth (concrete not included) or hug a tree…without gloves on for 20 minutes per day. Your health will thank you for it, and more and more research is proving it.
Grounding can also mean being fully present in your body. This can mean meditating, sitting outside, doing yoga, intentional breathing or breath work, observing nature, or whatever makes you feel fully present. Mindfulness is continually being shown to reduce stress, the catalyst of inflammation and many diseases.
Whichever way you choose, give grounding a try, both earthing and being present in your body. Create a list of things that work for you. What makes you feel fully present in your body? How can you get outside barefoot more frequently or get some earth in your hands?
Here are some suggestions you can try to see if any work for you. Feel free to add your own as well…
Pottery/ceramics/playing with clay
Intentional breathing or breath work
Walking barefoot outside in dirt, grass, or sand
Touch a tree with open hands
Make “snow” angels on the grass, dirt, or sand
Intentionally feel your body
Make a mini zen garden with sand in a box that you can touch throughout the day, doodling little pictures with your fingers
Observe your environment using all of your senses
Move your body-dance, martial arts, running, surfing, etc
If it makes you fully present, quiets and clears your mind, calms your emotions and/or gives you energy, you are doing it right. 🙂