What is grounding
Grounding is a felt-sense connection with the Earth. It’s a feeling of being fully present and aware in your body and a part of the natural world in which we live.
Humans have this incredible ability to be disconnected from the ground on which they stand. We can be all up in our heads, consumed with worries about the future, wounds of the past or just the million things on our ‘to do’ lists. We can energetically separate from our bodies and walk or drive somewhere with no memory of how we got there.
While this ability to dissociate has some benefits in times of acute trauma, it tends to destabilise our systems and is not helpful in the long term.
When we are grounded, we are acutely aware of our surroundings, our nervous systems are balanced and our minds clear. Making decisions in this state is far more reliable whether it’s the speed at which to turn a corner or a major life decision. Grounding helps us to feel calm, connected, more rooted in who we are and less likely to be swayed in the moment.
If you’ve ever stood somewhere beautiful in nature, on a hilltop, in the bush or on a beach and just stood there for a moment taking it all in you may know the feeling. It’s as though time slows down and you feel a sense of being connected to everything around you and grateful for having a place in it all.
What makes it hard to be grounded
Almost everything about modern life is the short answer to this! Technology is a major threat as it distracts and consumes us. You’ll notice the number of people walking around (and even driving!) looking down at their phones and not paying any attention to where their feet are or who is around them.
Another aspect that interferes with grounding in a literal way is less contact with the ground, especially for city dwellers. Footpaths, roads and paths all covered by thick concrete and bitumen is unnatural. Many modern houses and apartments don’t even have one patch of true ground left available to stand on and feel the earth beneath.
It’s also increasingly hard to feel grounded in a culture that is soaked in stress, trauma and overwhelm. Mainstream media is saturated in traumatic stories, social media is a little different in that we are able to curate our feed but there is also a lot of negativity and fear projected on those platforms too.
All of these aspects make it a challenge to stay deeply connected in our bodies and the results are rising, spiralling energy that manifests in racing thoughts, irrational fears, anxiety and overwhelm.
How do I practice grounding
The simplest way to begin a practice of grounding is to spend a few minutes feeling your feet on the ground. This is obviously best if you are standing on the earth and bare feet is even better. You can do this with eyes closed or open but just spend a few minutes here feeling into your feet as you breathe slowly and consciously.
To take it a step further you may like to visualise some kind of connection that takes you deeper below your feet and right down into the earth. I use the image of either tree roots extending down or some kind of rope or cord but it’s whatever works for you. The idea is just a deeper presence into the earth and the feeling of a shared energy between your body and Mother Earth.
For those who are not visual learners, you might like to focus on the sensations in your feet. You may sense a quiet tingling of the energy on the soles of your feet as you ground down or just have a sense or ‘knowing’ of what the connection feels like to you.
If you haven’t done this practice before please just give yourself some time and start small. You may wish to begin with 20-30 seconds, eyes open standing on the ground and just feeling into your feet and naming the sensations out loud (cool earth, mild tingling, big toe hurts, space under my arches etc.). You can gradually build into a few minutes and connecting more deeply.
Grounding can be difficult for those with past trauma where you didn’t feel safe being settled in your body. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to develop a grounding practice, in fact, it’s extremely healing for you but do go gently.
Notice when your nervous system becomes activated and back off just a little. Remind yourself that you are safe and you are learning to get back into your body. Give it time and if it starts to bring up memories or past wounds reach out for some further support to help you work through and clear this old stuff.
You will notice that at certain times and in certain places grounding is more difficult. It can be tricky during seasonal changes, at times of major astrological events, when you are going through something big in your own life and in certain places where trauma has occurred and clearing/ healing is needed on the land.
I highly recommend you give Grounding a try and make it a regular part of your practice if you are dealing with anxiety or overwhelm. I believe Grounding is healing to ourselves but also to every living thing around us. We are all connected, we all benefit from this beautiful, peaceful practice.