What is grounding?
Grounding? What a buzz concept! It’s for good reason… but what does it actually mean?
Grounding is most easily understood as feeling centered, balanced, and at ease.
Grounding, derived from the phrase “to ground”, quite literally implies a sense of feeling connected with the ground below us. Often interwoven and similar to the term – earthing, which is when humans make an electrical connection to the earth’s energies. Imagine the earth, like a giant battery containing a subtle – yet strong – electrical charge, hosting a special kind of energy present in the ground.
It’s somewhat common knowledge that in order to rid our body of static electricity, we need to ground our physical bodies. In other words, we need to allow electrical impulses to move out of our body and back into the ground. Similar to static electricity, our bodies host an accumulation of pent up energy and when we ground ourselves, it allows our body to remove what’s stagnant in order to feel more centered and at ease.
From the foods that we eat, to the activities we fill our days with – grounding can be encouraged in so many different ways, and I’m here to suggest a few ways to help you get there!
Nourish with grounding foods
As we enter into the coldest months of the year, we typically begin to crave root vegetables, warming spices, whole grains, hardy fruits like pumpkin and squash, and lean meats – and there’s a good reason for it! These foods not only keep our bellies full, but they also have a very innate way of bringing our bodies a sense of warmth and grounding. From the days of eating what’s produced locally, we’ve come a long way from understanding the benefits of intuitively adjusting what we eat throughout the changing seasons. It is of great service throughout the winter (and other seasons), to listen to these cravings, knowing that food does more than nourish our bodies – it helps us stay grounded on a multidimensional level.
To give you a few ideas of things you can incorporate into your diet, try foods like: potatoes, beets, ginger, warming spices (cinnamon, clove, cardamom, nutmeg, and ground chilies), onions, carrots, lean meats (mindful animal products are always the best option – keep an eye out for organic, grass-fed, and pasture raised), and any of varieties of squash. These are of course just a few ideas, but explore what suits you! It may be suggested to connect with your local farmer, as foods that are grown and consumed during their appropriate seasons are more nutritionally dense than any other time of year.
Get grounded, literally
It’s a cold out… so as much as we’re probably not walking barefoot outside at the moment, you can still get the benefit of grounding by putting both of your feet flat on the floor. With or without shoes or socks, firmly planting your feet establishes a strong foundation in your body, mind, and energy. As a side note, walking barefoot outside, when it’s warmer out of course, is highly recommended if you haven’t tried it since your younger years!
If you’ve taken a yoga class, you’ve probably heard the term, “ground down through the sit bones or through the soles of the feet,” and it’s for the reason that every pose is built from the ground up. In yoga, just like in nature, we have to root down to rise up.
It’s called the great outdoors for a reason
There’s something about the cold winter air, that is fresher than any other time of year. It can do us the most wonderful service just to step outside and take in some deep breaths. Plus, after bundling up and acclimatizing to the temperature outside, nothing feels better than returning indoors to the warmth of your home, perhaps to a cup of hot cocoa or warm apple cider!
Get out of your head and into your body
Whether it’s dancing, a workout, or a yoga practice – whatever it is, you gotta do what suits you. Sometimes we get so stuck in our heads wrapped up in ever-flowing thoughts, that we just need to get back into our physical bodies – and what better way to do it, then to MOVE.
It can be hard to imagine we breathe roughly 20,000 breaths per day, and most of them go by unnoticed. The art of meditation is by way so effective, as it uses the breath as an object of concentration. By focusing our attention on the breath, you can quickly realize the mind’s tendency to jump from thought to thought. The simple discipline of concentration brings us back to the present moment and all the richness of experience that it contains – thus allowing you to feel more balanced and grounded.
Sip on grounding herbal teas
Hunker down in your favourite seat with a cozy cup of herbal tea, or your favourite elixir!
Medicinal mushrooms and herbal medicine have both been used over the centuries as support and balance for the body and the mind. They are easy to use, safe and effective tools and can help you live your best life. Keep in mind, everybody’s palettes and bodies are different, so make sure you pick the flavour profiles that suit you. It’s safe to say, if you don’t like what you’re sippin’ on, it won’t do much good!
Here are a list of some adaptogenic (help you manage your stress response) and nervine (calming to the nerves) herbs and mushrooms to help get you started:
Reishi – known to help you sleep better and stress less
Holy Basil (Tulsi) – helps the body adapt to stressors of various kinds, balancing, broad-spectrum action that maintains homeostasis
Scullcap – one of the best herbal agents to help stimulate and nourish the nerves, and to promote a healthy response to stress
Chaga – adaptogenic properties help maintain a healthy stress response, and is anti-inflammatory (a common stress pathway)
Passionflower – cooling to the body, calming to the mind, and soothing to the spirit
Chamomile – a calming nervine that can help reduce anxiety and restlessness
Above all, remember that feeling grounded doesn’t need to be complicated. Find something that works for you, and stick with it. Oftentimes just returning to a habitual practice or ritual can feel grounding all on it’s own. Happy grounding, friends!