Do you remember when you were young and being grounded was a bad thing? Staying home and having time to think about your bad choice was not your idea of time well spent. But now, research and studies are beginning to show that physical and mental grounding in reference to our bodies and minds has very positive effects and benefits. Keeping yourself grounded can be a very healthy choice by relieving pain, reducing inflammation, improving blood flow and increasing sleep and vitality. Bodybio.com offers stories and testimonials from people who have experienced these benefits over time and exposure to the earth’s surface. “Earth holds billions of free electrons that we are free to absorb as long as we are physically connected to the ground via skin contact. The Earth generates this electrical energy through thousands of lightning strikes, solar radiation, and deep energy generated from the inner core of the planet. The electrical intensity of the planet rises and falls with the sun, as do our energy levels.”
You may have heard someone say “He is so down to earth.” Perhaps this is a way to describe someone who is practicing grounding in his life. By definition, grounding is staying calm and connected to your thoughts and feelings during times of uncertainty. Being grounded requires being present in the moment while not being swayed by stressors such as a job, family, friends or negative self-thoughts. Perhaps easier said than done.
There are recognized physical and emotional ways to ground yourself if you feel like you are losing control of your thoughts and emotions. Scholars at the University of Rochester Medical Center and James Madison University offer many techniques on the university websites, sources that are easily within reach:
Physical Strategies -
Breathe - it sounds simple, but focusing on deep breathing in and out can help relieve your anxiety.
Maintaining healthy habits such as plenty of rest, good nutrition and regular exercise - practicing healthy habits keeps your body in shape to respond appropriately.
Nature - spending time outdoors while breathing fresh air and feeling the sun on your face can keep you focused on staying calm.
Music - turn it up loud and fast and dance or keep it soft and slow and close your eyes.
Tactile Activity - doing something with your hands such as knitting or squeezing a stress ball.
Disconnect from social media and skip the news - let your brain rest from all the stimuli it is exposed to each day.
Connections - Make an effort to reach out to someone you care about.
Remind yourself this is temporary - your feelings of panic will pass.
Positive Self Talk - make friends with that voice in your head that sounds critical.
Avoid the worst case scenario - instead of thinking “what is the worst” try thinking “what am I learning.”
Take small steps - allow yourself some grace and time to make strategies become habits.
Using Your 5 Senses - In a moment of panic, let your senses explore and focus on these ideas:
5 things you see - a blue sky, a newborn calf, your child’s face
4 things you touch - a soft blanket, a warm cup full of coffee, a fidget toy
3 things you hear - a wind chime, a favorite song, a baby’s laugh
2 things you smell - freshly mowed grass, cookies in the oven, cologne
1 thing you taste - a lemon drop, Grandma’s chicken casserole, a candy cane
Grounding can also refer to connecting your body with the earth. Research is being done to determine the effectiveness of “electrically connecting” with the Earth. As the earth releases its electrons, we can be recharged by walking through the grass, building a sandcastle with our hands, or wading in a creek. According to The Christian Nutritionist, Chelsea Blackbird, “Grounding is about getting your body in contact with the earth. Exposing your body to the natural magnetic frequencies of the earth. Helping the balance of ions in your body.” You can find out more by visiting her website (thechristiannutritionist.com) or listening to her podcast.
It turns out that the groundhog has known all along the benefits of staying grounded. Perhaps that is why we experience six more weeks of winter, time and time again each year, beginning in February. Who knew a rodent could be an example of such a healthy habit? In 2024, begin to make grounding a daily experience to improve your overall self physically and mentally. And the next time the kids are grounded, remind them it really is good for them.