When was the last time your feet touched the ground - literally or figuratively? Grounding techniques can help you stay centred and connected to your physical body, and the benefits are worth getting a little dirty for.
Modern life moves fast: our transportation, our communication, even our expectations and responsibilities. With all of the “go” and the “more” that has been normalized in our societies, it may have been a minute since you’ve consciously slowed down, tuned inward, or connected with nature.
The reality is that with our increasingly connected structures - the devices demanding our attention, the volume of people that surround us, small spaces in tall buildings filled with electromagnetic frequencies - we often experience deep ungrounding and disconnection. Maybe it’s time to connect differently.
Being “grounded” can mean being fully present in your body, and it can also speak to a sense of connectedness to the earth. Without this connection to both ourselves and nature, we are more susceptible to stress, accidents, and burnout. To change the script on modern living, it's a good idea to have some strategies for staying grounded.
What is grounding, and how can it help you? Fill up your water bottle, find a nice shaded tree or patch of sunlight on your kitchen floor, and let’s root down together.
What is grounding, and why does it matter?
You’re walking barefoot on soft, green grass.
Feel the sweetness of the air in your lungs, the sun on your shoulders, the sound of whispering leaves.
You feel dew droplets on your toes, a deep cushioning under your heels. Do you feel a gentle tingle in your feet and legs as warmth moves up your spine?
In moments like these, you are grounded. While we can’t always be walking in a sun-dappled meadow or along an endless beach, there are many accessible grounding techniques to help us connect to - and stay rooted in - our bodies.
Grounding is a strategy to connect you to your physical body and the present moment.Grounding techniques are often recommended as a way of coping with PTSD or other forms of anxiety, however, being able to consciously connect to a state of groundedness has benefits for everyone.
Due to its focus on presence, grounding can be thought of as a form of mindfulness. Grounding is intended to redistribute the energy from our heads or minds into our bodies: as stress and anxiety can result in a disconnection from the body, the more rooted we are in our bodies, the less stress and anxiety we may experience.
Grounding techniques vs grounding or “earthing”
They may sound similar (and they can often be utilized together), but grounding techniques focus on mental and physical health strategies to connect you to your body and nature, while grounding therapy or “earthing” relies on earthing science and grounding physics to explain how electrical charges from the earth can have positive effects on the body.
While earthing deserves a blog post entirely to itself, the basics are as follows: our bodies run on an electrical current, and they can therefore absorb electrical charges from the earth.Studies have looked at grounding for help with cardiovascular disease, inflammation, muscle damage, chronic pain, and mood. The hypothesis is that by simply being in touch with the ground, the electrical force coming off the earth can restore the natural defences of the body.
Though they may have slightly different focuses, it may also feel deeply intuitive to combine the following grounding techniques with actual physical connection to the ground whenever possible. At FLVC, we are huge proponents of listening to your body and trusting your gut, so if you feel called to eat a carrot freshly pulled from the community garden while barefoot, or roll around in the mud with Fido, please, be our guest!
How to stay grounded in an urban environment
Ditch your shoes
Connecting your bare feet to the ground is the quickest (and cheapest) way to experience a sense of groundedness.
As we discussed above, studies have shown that the earth can (quite literally) ground us. A direct connection between our skin and the earth may help to stabilize our internal bioelectrical environment and regulate our body functions.
Kicking off your shoes in a backyard or park and placing them firmly on the ground, even for a few minutes each day, should do the trick to reduce overall stress and tension levels. Not a fan of being barefoot in public? Simply take a solo walk and stay present in your environment - no music, no podcasts. Mindfulness combined with gently moving your body can be a great place to start your grounding practice.
Eat grounding, seasonal foods
When the rush of the city becomes a little much, it can be tempting to reach for quick food solutions like take-out to help us cope. But taking a little time to truly nurture our bodies can be an amazing way to feel connected and grounded.
What foods come to mind when you think about being grounded… sweet potatoes, root vegetables, and dark leafy greens, perhaps? These foods are not only grounding and comforting but are also loaded with minerals and vitamins that will help boost your immune system (extra points if you can get veggies grown in organic and nutrient-rich soil).
For meals, try incorporating nourishing foods like soups, stews, and homemade porridges. Add some warming spices like cinnamon andturmeric in your meals: earthy foods help to ground us, and these spices can help calm the nervous system.
Aromatherapy is not only scientifically proven to positively impact your wellbeing, but it's also a simple way to care for yourself throughout a busy day. Aromatherapy assists in our natural ability to heal and recover from stress and illness by encouraging relaxation, and studies have shown that it can have a positive effect on those experiencing stress and anxiety.
Grounding essential oils could include scents such as sandalwood, myrrh, cedarwood, and ylang-ylang. But remember, scents can be highly personal: pick an aroma (or blend) that smells earthy and grounding to you, and carry it with you to apply on wrists or pulse points when you need support throughout the day.
Get intentional with nature
If you live in a city, it can be disconcertingly easy to go days (or weeks) without breathing in pollutant-free air or hearing something other than the constant buzz of civilization. North Americans spend about 90 percent of their lives indoors… and we are missing out on quantifiable health benefits when we confine ourselves to homes and office buildings.
Research suggests just 120 minutes per week is needed for our wellbeing: make a regular, committed practice to day trips to the forest, beach, or mountains, or even spend some time with your feet in the dirt at your local park - your body will thank you!
Grounding is a strategy to connect you to your physical body as well as the present moment and is intended to redistribute the energy from our minds into our bodies. We know from the trees around us that the stronger the roots, the sturdier it will be - so make like a tree and get grounded, so you can stand tall and proud through the storms of life!
While you’re at it, make sure you’re soaking up all the nutrients you need from the soil around you - the FLVC Tonic dissolves in water or your drink of choice (without stirring) and is perfect for maintaining overall health.