Grounding is a form of connecting to the earth and becoming more centered, focused, and present in the moment. It is being aware physically, mentally, emotionally, and even energetically of yourself, others around you, and of your surroundings and being able to come back to a focused, centered state of being. We often get caught up in the hectic and chaotic everyday pace of work, family, and life in general. Our mind wanders off, we are thinking about the five different things we still need to accomplish, we are judging and comparing things and people. We are everywhere but where we need to be, which is in the present. When we are in this state, our emotions become imbalanced as well, leading us to feel anxious, frustrated, sad, angry, anything but calm and relaxed. Or energy is lacking, too, and feeling tired or fatigue often follows. When we find ourselves in a state of not being grounded, is when we are most susceptible to transference.
How do you ground yourself? There are several ways to practice grounding. A few of my favorites are:
- Kick off your shoes, and preferably your socks too. Walking around barefooted is one of the easiest ways to connect to the earth and feel more grounded. Ideally, it is best to walk barefooted in grass, soil, sand, or the like, but for most of us that is not very feasible, especially during 9 months of the year. However, just the simple act of placing your feet on the ground and feeling the ground below you will help. Just like body awareness and mindfulness, noticing how you feel, how your body feels, how you are sitting or standing as your feet are planted firmly on the ground will help bring you back into the present and refocus you. I try to walk around my home barefooted all the time. It helps to not only keep the place cleaner, but to bring a better sense of awareness and calm. As a massage therapist, I work barefooted because I practice Ashiatsu (massage performed with using my feet) on clients, but even when I am doing a traditional massage with my hands, I will always work barefooted to help keep me grounded and more present while working on my clients.
- Take some nice big, deep breathes in and out. Tuning into your breath and filling your lunges with the healthy oxygen and slowly exhaling out will help center and ground you, giving you the feeling of being calmer and more relaxed. I often like to combine my breathing with some gentle stretching movements, opening up my chest and warming up my joints, by slowly sweeping my arms out to the side and up to the ceiling on the inhale, and then slowly bringing them back down to my sides on the exhale. This helps with not only focusing on the breath, but on connecting that breath to the body. I do this before every client I work on, and again at the end of the day.
- Close your eyes and focus on the intention. What is the goal, the purpose, the desired result of what you are doing or are about to do? Sometimes, the simple act of closing our eyes and taking the visual of our surroundings out of the picture will help us regain our focus, become more present, and find clarity. When you find your brain drifting or start to think about multiple things at once, it is good to practice this form of grounding. Take a moment and bring yourself back. What are you doing right now? Why are you doing it? What is the desired outcome for doing it? Refocus your energy and attention onto the intended act you are doing at the present moment. You will find that you have better sense of purpose and accomplish the goal more successfully.
This is a good time of year to learn how to ground. Holiday shopping can bring out the worst in people, cause high stress, chaos, and some unpleasant transference. Before you head to the stores, place your shoe-less feet flatly on the ground, close your eyes, take a couple of deep breathes, and think about what you are about to go do, what it entails, and what your intended goal for this outing is about. Know that the parking lots will be full and that your patience in finding a spot will be needed. Know that the stores will be crowded and you will be surrounded by a lot of hustle and bustle of other people who will most likely not be grounded and act unfriendly or rude. Also, keep in mind that the check-out lines will most likely be longer too. Remember to stay grounded, focused, and calm during these times and not take on the negativity of those around you. When you get caught up in the chaos and whirlwind of negativity, you will feel disheveled and worn out. If you need to, take a moment to take some deep breathes and regain your focus and re-centered yourself to help tackle the task at hand. As with learning any new technique, practicing is the key to developing the skills. Do your best to keep your energy and health up with these grounding techniques and to help keep you calm this holiday season, after all, ‘Tis the season to be jolly!