Do you ever feel like you’re spinning around like a top?
Are you constantly bumping into different obstacles?
These two feelings make it hard to focus on your priorities on a typical workday. Your brain cannot entirely shut off at night. You don’t sleep well during your time in bed, and you wake up each morning, and the cycle begins again. Your often-anxious mind endures a pattern of constant exhaustion because your body is never well-rested. This means that most days don’t go as well as they could. The reason is this: you aren’t at your best because your mind isn’t grounded.
If this sounds familiar, don’t give up hope! You aren’t alone. Many people in today’s society feel the pressures of stress and anxiety, which seem to be at a level higher than ever before. Like you, they must learn to ground themselves so they can move through each day feeling more whole. It’s time to stop feeling like a spinning top.
Why Anxiety is Prevalent
Anxiety is a common problem for adults and children. One estimate from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America is that anxiety affects 18 percent of adults each year. Furthermore, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation cites two proven techniques for treating anxiety as self-help/support groups and stress management.
If you can learn to ground yourself, for example, it’s possible to relieve the anxiety that ordinary people feel every day. This is both a self-help and a stress management technique. If you don’t address them, huge levels of anxiety can negatively affect your mind, body, and emotions, which could require intervention by a medical professional.
What Does Grounded Mean?
Although you may have heard of grounding, you may not know precisely what it is. Quite simply, this activity will help you to reconnect yourself with the earth’s surface. This is a literal translation of what it means to ground yourself. However, there are also other natural ways to feel grounded if a piece of earth isn’t readily accessible.
That’s why touching bare feet to sand, grass, soil, or clay works well. In a pinch, rocks, stones, and water will also help. Literally grounding or centering yourself by calming down and focusing on your surroundings or the sensations in your body are ways to reduce the stressful physical effects of anxiety immediately.
How Does Grounding Help with Anxiety?
Grounding yourself puts you in direct connection with the electrons on the earth’s surface. This reduces the effects of free radicals on your body. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health found that there were several documented effects of earthing, including pain reduction, decrease in inflammation, and thinning the blood.
Another study found that reducing free radical damage to your body’s cells can stop your body from aging. If you try earthing, then the free electrons that your body receives from direct contact with the earth’s surface (or through a conduction device) can have an antioxidant effect on the free radicals threatening to damage your body.
Why You Need to Ground Yourself
When you learn to use the stress management technique of grounding yourself, you will help your body to relax and to de-escalate from heightened feelings associated with anxiety. By these, we mean signs of discomfort such as rapid heartbeat or breathing, fatigue, sweating, restlessness, irritability, muscle aches, and upset stomach.
First, you must learn to recognize these signs that it is time to ground yourself. Then, you can make time immediately to do what you need to do to feel more grounded. There are so many strategies that are easy to try in an instant. You can simply perform one that makes you feel more relaxed, breathe deeply and slowly as your body calms down, and then resume the current activity.
15 Ways to Immediately Ground Yourself
- Take a moment to do some deep breathing exercises.
- Go for a walk.
- Carry a weighted stone in your pocket and hold it while you work or participate in an activity.
- Take out an exercise mat and do some stretches that feel comfortable to your body
- Light an aromatherapy candle and take a hot bath. Feel the heat on your skin. Move slightly and watch the ripples in the bathtub. Watch as the light changes direction, becoming fragmented by the ripples.
- Lay down in your backyard on the grass or on a blanket and look up at the sky. Watch the clouds go by. Look for the shapes of animals, people, or other familiar objects.
- Sit in a chair, close your eyes, and feel the sensations as you press your feet on the floor and your palms on your knees. Breathe in and out. Focus on your heartbeat.
- Go outside and sit against a tree. Press your spine up against the hard pressure of the tree trunk. Inhale the smells of the tree, the soil, and other elements in the landscape.
- Lay back on your bed and watch the ceiling fan go around and around or listen for the birds chirping outside in the yard.
- Hold a pet on your lap and feel its pleasure as you rub its ears and stroke its back.
- Sit down and stroke our hand against a fluffy pillow or a stuffed animal. Feel the texture of th soft arterial ever so slightly as it tickles your skin
- Sit down on a bench on a busy street corner and watch the pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles pass by. Notice the details of each person or vehicle. Where do you think they are going?
- Go for a drive in your car and listen to an audiobook on a CD or on download through your smartphone.
- Go to the public library, pick out a book, and sit down and read it for an hour.
- Drive down to the beach. Remove your shoes and feel the sand massaging the soles of your feet as you walk on the sand. Each bit of sand has its own texture. Moving over the uneven surface stimulates the pressure points in your feet. Focusing on this sensation distracts you from what’s causing anxiety.
How Grounding Changes Your Life in a Moment
We understand that there is a natural level of skepticism that could cross your mind as you read the preceding tips. There are three medical studies referenced above that demonstrate how earthing can help patients immediately reduce the inflammation that is occurring in their body, such as after sustaining a wound from an injury or a surgery. However, it might be more convincing if you try it yourself so that you can quickly feel calmer following a stressful situation.
When you have just had an argument with someone at the office or a haranguing phone call from a client, go outside and remove your footwear. Place your bare feet into contact with the earth or the lawn. See if, without any special breathing exercises or visualization, your heart rate slows and you feel calmer. We encourage you to see how grounding changes your life just by using this simple strategy whenever you need it.
How Grounding Changed My Life
Now, this final anecdote might surprise you, but don’t let it break your heart. Two years ago, I was experiencing an enormous amount of stress on the job. I was teaching kindergarteners who had just survived the effects of Hurricane Irma. Many of their family homes, whether owned or rented, had been severely damaged, and their parents were trying to recover from the storm. Most of their parents worked in low-wage jobs, and interruption of their regular paycheck was highly disruptive to their families’ survival.
They were also traumatized, both adults and children, by living two or three weeks without electricity in the heat of September, which is very hot in Florida, and by not having regular meals. Short of the basics, from A/C to clean clothing, my five-year-olds were behaving only with difficulty. We were trying to restore their sense of normalcy, but it was very hard. I began using my iPhone to track my steps each day. Suddenly, I was spending more time outdoors, walking during the hot workday, walking after school, and walking around downtown where the restaurants and stores are in the evenings.
“Get yourself grounded and you can navigate even the stormiest roads in peace.” – Steve Goodier
I even walked laps around the playground during recess. Increased contact with the earth improved my mood, and the increase in exercise immediately helped me to feel stronger, sleep better, and lose weight. I was still feeling anxious having been an Irma victim myself, but I was better able to cope with my students’ more significant stress by always grounding myself.