Let's be honest; stress, change, and uncertainty are all inevitable. That’s why learning how to ground yourself is essential.
While you cannot prevent challenging situations from occurring, knowing how to ground yourself will help you remain calm amidst the chaos.
When connected to yourself and the world around you, you feel mentally and emotionally stable, present, and in control.
But how do you cultivate this state? That's what I'm sharing with you in this article!
Whether you feel more floaty than focused or more stressed than serene, read on. The following 10 grounding exercises and techniques will swiftly return you to your center.
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What is grounding?
Grounding refers to using techniques to realign your physical body with nature or universal energy. Grounding promotes emotional balance and healing. It can help us deal with distressing thoughts, work through challenging emotions, and better handle stressful situations.
But what does it mean to ground yourself?
There are many grounding tools and techniques, but essentially, grounding is a form of self-care. Grounding can look like many things, including:
- Spending time in nature
- Practicing yoga
- Doing calming breathing exercises
So, grounding is not a specific method but a range of techniques to feel more grounded and centered in everyday life.
Grounding also helps us connect more to the present moment; something that is increasingly hard to do in our fast-paced society. In this sense, grounding prompts us to slow down, breathe deeply, and stay present.
5 benefits of grounding
Research shows grounding practices like earthing have many positive effects on our body and mind. These include reducing stress, pain, and inflammation and improving energy levels, sleep, and blood flow.
Let's explore each of these benefits in more detail:
- Grounding reduces pain and inflammation due to the flood of electrons throughout the body. This reinforces our defense mechanisms and strengthens our immune system.
- Grounding eases stress, anxiety, and other mental health disorders by shifting the autonomic nervous system from sympathetic toward parasympathetic (rest and digest mode).
- Grounding improves blood flow.
- Grounding boosts mood and energy levels by decreasing cortisol and pain and reconnecting us to our creative, carefree nature.
- Grounding promotes better sleep and reduces insomnia by rebalancing our circadian rhythms.
How to ground yourself mentally
If you feel anxious, overwhelmed, or sense a panic attack coming on, connect to your breath. Breathwork is a popular mentally grounding exercise that anyone can do anywhere.
Taking a few moments to close your eyes and breathe deeply can help break the stress cycle as it gets you out of your head and into your body.
As an experienced yoga teacher of over five years, I always include breathwork at the beginning of my yoga classes. I find it helps my students release everything from their daily lives and become present.
Other mental health benefits of breathwork include enhancing clarity and focus and reducing brain fog.
Box breathing is one of the best breathing exercises to do when you feel ungrounded. This simple yet highly effective technique involves:
- Breathing in for a count of 4
- Holding at the top of the inhale for 4
- Exhaling for 4
- Holding at the bottom of the exhale for 4
- Repeat these 4 steps until you feel grounded again.
How does box breathing create a grounding effect?
When you hold your breath, CO2 builds up in the blood. This boosts the cardio-inhibitory response of the vagus nerve and stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system. After a few minutes, your mind will start to feel calmer while your body will feel more relaxed.
How to ground yourself spiritually
Walking barefoot is a spiritual grounding technique called Earthing that connects your skin to the ground. When you walk barefoot, the earth transfers free electrons to the human body. This absorbs any negative energies and emotions you may carry, leaving you feeling more centered and present.
This spiritual practice is also backed by science. Our modern lifestyles cause a major disconnect from nature; which researchers claim contributes to physiological dysfunction.
Emerging scientific research has found that feeling the ground beneath your feet helps to reconnect your body to the electrons on the earth's surface. This direct contact stabilizes our physiology at the deepest levels and brings us back into equilibrium.
Another form of earthing is to lay in the grass or on the beach. You can even play in the mud or run your bare hands through the sand to maximize the skin-to-earth contact.
However you choose to “earth,” be sure to pay attention to the sensation of your skin against the earth.
- Be mindful of how your body feels.
- Notice your surroundings by observing the sights and nature around you.
- If you are walking or standing, imagine your feet are tree roots, which the earth's energy is firmly rooting into the ground.
- If you're lying down, relax your entire body. Surrender to the warm embrace of Mother Nature, envisioning her wrapping her arms around you.
Experts recommend walking barefoot for at least 20 to 30 minutes to feel the calming, centering effects. And don't worry if you don't have a garden or a park nearby; walking barefoot on concrete and paving stones will also help you get grounded.
5 grounding exercises for beginners
If you've never heard of grounding before today, you're probably wondering how to ground yourself in daily life. You'll be pleased to learn that grounding techniques are simple and require no special skills.
Here are 5 grounding exercises I recommend for beginners.
1. Immerse yourself in water
Aside from walking with bare feet, another way to practice grounding by connecting to the earth's energy is to soak in water. Natural water sources, such as the ocean, lake, or river, are best. But no worries if you can't get to the beach, as soaking in a bath can feel just as grounding.
To make your bath extra soothing, add crystals known for their grounding qualities. Black Tourmaline, Smoky Quartz, and Red Jasper and three popular choices.
Various essential oils also help when feeling ungrounded. These include Sandalwood, Black Spruce, and Cypress. Essential oils (often used in Chinese medicine) are like nature in a bottle. So adding a few drops to your bath is an easy way to access the healing energy of plants and trees.
2. Meditate with a grounding crystal
Meditation is widely known for its mental health benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety. Mediating also slows brain activity, which helps to reduce the thoughts in our minds and brings us into the present moment.
Meditation alone is one of the most effective grounding techniques. But combining it with crystal healing is even more powerful. Hold a grounding crystal like Hematite in your palm as you close your eyes and focus on your breath.
Many people find visualization meditation particularly centering. This can be a wonderful technique if you cannot get out into nature.
Here's how to do it:
- Imagine yourself at your favorite nature spot: a pristine white beach, at the top of a mountain, or in a lush rainforest.
- Visualize this scenario in as much detail as possible, engaging all of the senses so it feels like you are really there.
For example, if you imagine yourself at the beach, visualize the sound of the waves and the feeling of warm sand in between your toes.
Or, if you're visualizing yourself at the top of the mountain, imagine feeling the crisp air against your skin and the sounds of the birds soaring over you.
3. Try grounding mats
Grounding mats are electronic devices that recreate the earth's electrical currents. They allow you to replenish your electron balance from the comfort of your home.
You can sit, lay, or stand on a grounding mat. This means you can ground yourself in whatever you are doing – cooking, working, watching TV, etc.
You can also get grounding blankets, which can help you feel warm, cozy, and grounded while lying on the couch.
While many would argue a grounding mat is not as good as nature, grounding mats are ideal if you can't get outside to walk barefoot or breathe in the fresh air.
Just make sure you don't use them while sleeping, as they are designed for short bursts of usage (around 10 minutes).
4. Eat earthy foods
Yes, it's true – eating specific food is a grounding technique. Foods that come from the earth, such as root vegetables, are particularly beneficial for reconnecting you to the earth's energy.
I learned this when studying the chakra system during my yoga teacher training. Each energy center has associated foods that match that particular chakra's vibration. So eating those foods can enhance the qualities of that energetic vortex.
The root chakra is all about grounding, stability, and security. Foods grown underground can activate and strengthen this chakra.
Note that currently, no scientific evidence backs this up. But there is no harm in adding more root vegetables to your diet to see for yourself – besides, they are full of health benefits anyway. Think sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, beetroot, and herbs and spices like garlic, turmeric, and ginger.
5. Spend time with an animal
Spending time with a furry loved one is one of the best grounding techniques for anyone who appreciates animal companionship. This is because being around animals has similar effects to being in nature.
Well, animals tend to be much more connected to Mother Nature and universal energy than us humans.
Our pets also serve as prompts to be more present, as animals live in the moment, never worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. So, sitting with your pet when you feel stressed can help you calm down and stop worrying about all the little things.
Many research studies support the benefits of spending time with animals, particularly cats.
Cats purr to soothe and de-stress themselves, and their healing vibrations can also have the same effect on us humans. So, having a cat sit on your lap purring loudly can be incredibly relaxing and grounding.
5 grounding techniques anyone can do anywhere
There are many reasons why you may struggle to ground yourself. For example, you may be experiencing physical pain, which makes it challenging to be in your body. Or you may be dealing with some very intense and consuming emotions.
If you find it challenging to stay grounded, try these quick and accessible centering techniques instead.
1. Connect to your senses
If you're feeling a disconnection between yourself and your body, one of the best ways to reconnect is through the senses. Noticing the sounds, smells, and sensations around you shifts you out of your mind and into your body.
Here's how to do it:
- Wherever you are, pause and close your eyes.
- First, become aware of all the things you hear around you, inside and outside the room. Mentally label each sound, such as “bird, car, music, etc.”
- Now, observe any smells in the air. Can you smell food cooking? Incense burning? Etc.
- Notice any tastes in your mouth, perhaps from your last meal or coffee.
- Now, bring your awareness to your body. Feel your body connected to the ground through your feet or sitting bones. Feel the weight of your body. Feel the sensation of your skin against your clothes or the air against your skin.
- Finally, move your awareness inside your body, observing any aches, pains, or sensations you feel within you.
2. Do a body scan
Body scans can help ground you by deepening your connection to your physical being. In a body scan, you move your awareness to each body part as you pay attention to any sensations that arise.
A body scan can be as short as a few minutes, and you can do it seated or lying down.
Start at your head, becoming aware of your entire head before focusing on each facial feature. Then, move down to your shoulders, upper back, mid back, lower back, torso, chest, etc.
Spend at least a few moments feeling into each body part.
3. Practice a grounding yoga pose
Standing yoga postures that stabilize and strengthen the lower body bring an instant sense of calm and connection. These asanas also activate the root chakra, which is associated with safety, security, and grounding.
Here are some of the most grounding beginner-friendly yoga poses.
- Mountain pose (Tadasana)
- Tree pose (Vrikshasana)
- Warrior 2 (Virabhadrasana II)
- Garland pose (Malasana)
- Eagle pose (Garudasana)
Even if you don't have time to do a complete yoga session, practicing one or two grounding poses, combined with mindful breathing, will help you feel more centered.
4. Use positive affirmations
Positive affirmations are a form of self-talk that can help to change your mindset and shift your emotional state. Repeating grounding affirmations can help to calm your nervous system and slow down your overactive mind.
Some people like to say their affirmations out loud in the mirror, while others prefer to recite them mentally. If you journal, you can write a grounding affirmation each morning and evening, too.
Here are a few grounding affirmations you can try:
- I am safe, I am protected, I am supported.
- I am rooted in the here and now.
- My body is strong, my mind is clear, my spirit is at peace.
- I trust the process and know that everything will work out.
- I am at home within myself.
- I inhale calm, I exhale worry.
- I am firmly rooted in the earth and protected by Mother Nature.
- I feel balanced, grounded, and secure.
5. List 5 things you’re thankful for
Gratitude helps you shift your perspective and raise your vibration, releasing stress, worry, and negativity. When you consciously think about your blessings, the things you don't have become less important.
Gratitude can also serve as a “reality check,” showing you there is no reason to feel overwhelmed or worried. Over time, you can train your mind to think positively, seeking the good in every situation. And the practice only takes a minute or two each day.
To do it, start your day by thinking about three things you are thankful for. You can contemplate this in the shower while sipping your morning coffee or eating breakfast.
Many people, myself included, also like to jot down daily blessings in a journal. Your gratitude journal then serves as a source of calm and positivity you can revisit whenever you struggle to find your center.
Takeaway on how to ground yourself
Being ungrounded can make you feel like a feather, about to float off at any moment without any way to anchor yourself.
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