No doubt you have heard or experienced some form of grounding practice. But did you know that there are multiple ways to practice grounding meditation?
Grounding refers to balancing or centering the mind and body by connecting with earth energy and mother nature. Meditation practice is about using a technique or tool that invites the mind to settle allowing you to journey inward or tune into yourself.
So together grounding meditation brings your mind-body to the settled and connected present moment with deeper awareness and clarity to self.
Many meditation teachers, myself included, agree the best way to practice grounding meditation is to try different types and practice what works best for you.
Read on to learn more about creating a great practice – unique to you!
It’s 4:11 pm and I am waiting for my 4 pm life coaching client to join her weekly zoom session. Joining the meeting at 4:16 pm, she is frantic and breathless as if she just raced up the stairs to her home office. No doubt scrambling to find the zoom link and forfeiting a trip to the restroom to ensure she wasn’t any later than she already was.
“I’m so sorry I am late for our session; work has been insane, the markets are crashing, my company is being sued by an ex-employee, and the high-stress environment in the office right now is giving me a massive headache and I feel like I am having a panic attack.”
Not a breath, not a pause, just a verbalized string of daily buzz. Her entry to the meeting is what I expect her day was like.
No breath. No pause.
“I am so happy you took the time here for yourself today. No worries about the time. You are here now, nice work. Can you allow yourself a long deep breath?” I suggest.
“Colleen, nothing is going to ground me right now – did I mention we are being sued!”
No breath. No pause.
Ok, first things first, without saying a word, I take a deep breath and offer silence and space. The intention is to allow any release she may have to express, any energy that needs to escape from her mind and body. She fidgets, continues to tell the story of her manic day. As she does, and energy escapes her body slowly settles.
A few minutes later, the pace of her chest rising and falling slows. She takes a few deeper breaths and closes her eyes for a moment. Still in silence, allowing the external world to fade away or at least soften and feel into the present moment… if even for just a moment or two.
Stress and Panic Attacks
Ok, so maybe this isn’t an everyday example of overload to the nervous system or the stress you feel.
Or, wait a minute… is it?
Can you relate to the buzz of:
- jumping from one thought to another,
- feeling like you are racing from place to place, idea to idea,
- being late to each activity compounding at the end of the day into full-on exhaustion,
- or a sense of “threat” that constantly draws your attention into worry?
Yeah, unfortunately, I think most people feel that way. A day filled with multitasking, eating on the move, and a nervous system that’s racing. And then there are the stresses of COVID, global wars, inflated costs of all things. While research on stress and how prevalent it is varies based on “levels” of stress, types of stress, and other factors, most research suggests a 50% increase in stress over the past 5 years in the US.
Driven by the pressures of the external world, the general need to accomplish more, the sense that the clock drives your day, less than ideal nourishment choices, and never getting to the bottom of your “must-do” list (ugh… failure). It all feels overwhelming … but that’s ok, you will get to the rest of your list tomorrow… (sigh… ugh) another failure and you haven’t even gotten to tomorrow yet.
So ok, you can relate. But what steps do you take when you feel stressed and overwhelmed with your daily life?
Subtle Shifts & Consistency
Clearly, this blog is not going to make all your stress or buzz completely go away – at least not today 😉
However, a few subtle shifts, mere moments of full attention to your body or breath, fresh air, and blue sky, connecting with the earth’s energy can have a great impact on your day.
Impacts that allow the external world to quiet, the nervous system to settle, the electrical frequencies of the human body to balance towards healthy relationships with others and yourself!
The secret is you have to try a few practices, decide which you like and don’t like, and pick ones that work best for you. And you must be consistent. Consistent not to one specific practice (although I do think using the same practice for some time is valuable), but consistent with your commitment to making a shift away from the buzz and using tools aligned with moving more into…
Creating Your Great Practice
Everyone is always looking for the easiest way, I understand, because I like the easy way sometimes too… but I want the best way for me! And … I want the best way for YOU!
So, as I said, this blog will not hold the answers for you, but it may guide you to find the best ways or easiest ways for you to practice grounding techniques. You have to try them, modify them to meet your uniqueness, and be consistent.
So here you go… 3 practices you can try out for yourself.
You can think of these practices as grounding practices, meditation practices, mindfulness meditation, grounding meditation… let’s just call them great practices that can bring down the reactions to your high-stress environment (whether that be in your mind, body, or your dwelling space) and shift you closer to the present moment.
Go ahead, draw an Epsom salts bath, take a few deep breaths, and settle in for the remainder of this blog. I’ll wait while you are ready. No worries about the time, we are here now.
Breathe. Pause. Ground.
Root Vegetables Offer Grounding and Earth Energy
What? Yes, specific foods can be more grounding than others. But root vegetables in the spring? Yes, food grown in and close to the earth, root vegetables for example are grounding. Food offers us so much more than simply nourishing our bodies with their vitamins, minerals, and energy (calories).
Think of it this way, if you are buzzy, full of moving thoughts, and a racing body, you need the opposite to reduce that buzz, that movement. The opposite in this case is mother earth! The earth’s energy versus air-like energy or movement.
So, try adding anchoring, grounding foods to your diet. My springtime favorite grounding root foods are carrots, garlic, ginger, radishes, and peanuts*! These yummy high vibrational food choices are a great way to connect, stabilize and balance us on multiple dimensions.
*Quick recipe: put a little (call it 1Tbs) peanut oil and soy sauce in a pan. Add 1lbs carrots (cut like sticks) and 1lbs radishes (cut in disks), cook until soft 6 or so minutes. Add garlic and ginger. I like a lot, but 1Tbs is probably about right. Add a few cooked and shelled edamame and sesame seeds. Toss it all around. Sit down without distractions, appreciate what you have created to nourish and ground your body, and eat.
Breathe. Pause. Ground. Nourish.
Mother Earth As A Grounding Practice
Of course, getting outside provides endless ways to improve health. Can you think of a time when you went outside and felt worse? No.
(Ok, please, let’s agree the times when we were caught outside in the bitter cold walking to school uphill both ways, or the horrible rainstorm that ruined our hair on the way to a party are not what we are talking about here.)
I am talking about the many many, many times Mother nature relieved you of a headache when you put your bare feet in the sand, and when your shoulders softened after sitting in the park enjoying a warm breeze or when the of sound leaves rustling and birds chirping allowed you to forget all your worries for a moment.
So, try placing your bare feet on the ground. Yes, take your shoes off, and place your feet in the grass, hug a tree, or get your hands dirty gardening. For how long? Science says 30 minutes a day. That sounds good to me, but I say do your best and some is better than none.
If you can’t make physical contact that long each day because of the climate you live in, 30 minutes hugging a tree feels like a long time, or some other limitation, then try this.
I believe our connection with Mother Earth is a spiritual and physical energy exchange, one where our bodies and minds gain a steadiness and clarity and become centered, with unobstructed focus.
Breathe. Pause. Ground. Nourish. Balance.
Use Your Senses For This Meditation Session
Oh, I love this one! Why? Well it is always available, can be practiced anywhere, everyone can do it (try it with kids too), costs only a few moments of your time and the return on investment is… well… you be the judge.
It is so important to unplug from all the distractions around us and to come back to what we are experiencing in our surroundings. We miss so much in our daily lives because of the rapid pace we expect ourselves to move. Even on some of our most important days, we miss the beauty in the small moments if we don’t slow down.
Nearly 18 years ago, on the morning of my wedding day, a dear friend pulled me aside with a few words of advice that I carry with me to this day. “Colleen, today is an amazing day, and all too soon it will be over. You will exchange your vows, eat cake, dance the night away… and the day will be beautifully complete. But to capture the true essence of the day, you need to stop and pause now and then to just watch.”
Those words were truly one of the most precious gifts I received that day. A gift I try to remind myself of when I catch myself feeling too buzzy!
So, find an easy seat, a place you can be for 2-3 minutes (yes that’s all it takes).
- Breathe normally and allow the weight of your body to be held by the surface beneath it.
- From the base of your spine to the crown of your head sit tall.
- Soften something… it can be your shoulders, your forehead, your jaw, your thoughts, your hips, your gaze, just soften something (sure you can soften more than one thing!).
- Breathe normally.
- When you feel comfortable and have gained a bit more ease you will begin.
Become aware of what you see without the need to label or judge. Take a few minutes to look around you and simply notice what you see. When you are complete gently close your eyes.
Bring your awareness to your sense of touch. Notice what you feel. The temperature of the air, the texture of your clothes, the weight of your shoes, the surface beneath your hands. Simply notice.
Bring your awareness to what you hear. Notice the sounds far and near, familiar and not, soft and loud, allow all sounds to come in. Simply notice.
Bring your awareness to what you smell. Simply notice.
Bring your awareness to your sense of taste. Take a moment to just focus on one thing you can taste. Simply notice.
- Notice your breath. Bring awareness to your whole body. Take a deep breath.
- When you are ready, gently open your eyes, and slowly reconnect to the physical world around you.
Breathe. Pause. Ground. Nourish. Balance. Connect.
So What is Grounding Meditation?
Well, you tell me… what grounds you? Practice the tools above with consistency and pay attention to what happens for you.
For me, grounding meditation is about shifting my mind and body from overactivity and racing around, to a focused healthy distraction. Something I can practice for a few minutes that allows me to be aware. Grounding is about helping me create space between the feelings, emotions, and thoughts that cause me to feel buzzy, stressed, anxious, or disconnected from myself.
The result is a settling, calm, steadiness.
And you know what? After years of practicing, I feel more grounded than I was for most of my life. One could say the story above was about my old self. Consistent practice and patience with myself help me use the power of breath and pausing to feel grounded, nourished, balanced, and connected.
I wish you could hear my thoughts right now… the ones saying “you better keep practicing!”
Which grounding meditation tools will you practice and make your own? It’s not always easy, staying focused can be challenging. First things first, the easiest way to connect with the present moment is to make one subtle shift at a time.