Have you ever had a really bad day suddenly transformed by going outside? You may have experienced grounding. Many people stumble into grounding by accident, but you can recreate this effect deliberately through grounding meditation.
Science and modern medicine have made enormous progress in alleviating suffering. So much so that, in some cases, we have also forgotten old wisdom and lost our connection to the earth. Let’s explore how to ground yourself today, and see what we can learn by looking at ancient wisdom with a scientific lens.
What Is Grounding Meditation?
Approaching things scientifically in the modern world has solved many problems and transformed the planet. It has also created new problems and is a source of pollution and planet-wide harm. Grounding is a therapeutic technique that attempts to recapture some of what the modern world has lost.
The Earth has a dynamic electrical charge and magnetic fields. Humans evolved in constant contact with the earth and these influences. Modern inventions and conveniences have disconnected us from these natural sources of energy, and grounding is an attempt to reconnect. Science has shown us many benefits in getting back to nature, from avoiding processed foods to getting more exercise. Grounding is the vanguard of this new tradition.
You practice grounding by coming into physical contact with the soil, immersing yourself in water, or using specially designed mats or equipment. One study grounded participants by connecting them with wires to a metal spike in the ground. This is similar to what electricians do when they wire your house and is also called “grounding.” In U.S. electrical outlets, the largest of the three holes is also connected to a hunk of metal that is buried underground, which serves a similar purpose for grounding ourselves in the earth.
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Practitioners of grounding meditation, also called “earthing” or earthing meditation, believe that skin-to-ground contact creates an electrical connection. Free electrons use this connection to travel from the earth into the body and transmit energy. Other methods and sources of energy transfer have been speculated about and are being explored.
It’s important to distinguish earth-grounding from the psychological therapeutic technique of the same name. In psychological grounding, you put your hands in water, breathe deeply, or take part in self-soothing activities that help you reorient yourself. While psychological grounding is different from earth grounding, it can also be a valuable tool to help you find peace and gratitude. Give it a try, too!
Chances are, you’ve already practiced grounding at some time in your life. Children are naturally drawn to grounding techniques, and even adults often gravitate to the practice. You may have even done it recently and not know it.
If your skin is in contact with natural surfaces that are connected to the earth, you are engaged in grounding. Laying on the sand at the beach and swimming in the ocean are popular forms of grounding. My favorite grounding practice is to walk barefoot in the forest. I prefer to walk on rich, fertile soils, but grounding can also be done on grass, sand, and rock. It’s advisable to avoid concrete and asphalt, as these man-made constructions may not provide the same benefit. And if you do go barefoot, be mindful of broken glass, thorns, and other objects that can interfere with your experience.
The science behind grounding is not fully understood, and there is room for healthy skepticism. Even if the skeptics are right, grounding practices can still provide other scientifically proven benefits. Most forms of grounding include walking or exercising in nature. Sunlight provides vitamin D, and fresh air is healthy for the lungs.
Many soil bacteria offer beneficial impacts on the body. One example is Mycobacterium vaccae, or M. vaccae, a soil-based bacterium associated with anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and antidepressant effects. These effects can be seen through physical contact and can potentially be used to create new medications.
The science of soil is still poorly understood. One cubic centimeter can hold over 9,000 different species of microorganisms. What we do know is that communities exposed to soil are often healthier and happier than those who are not.
There are many benefits you can derive from grounding practices. Some have been scientifically proven, and others are still being explored.
Meditation Grounding Techniques
Mindfulness meditation can help you cope with racing thoughts, work-related stress, and other sources of anxiety. Taking time out to meditate on a regular basis can make you happier and more productive in every aspect of your life.
It’s easy to start meditating, even though some people find the idea intimidating. You can meditate by sitting in a quiet place, closing your eyes, and emptying your mind, or you can take a walk. Some forms of meditation are more effective than others, but as long as you are focused on quiet contemplation, you are meditating.
You can learn how to start meditating by deliberately practicing simple, easy, and relaxing activities you already do. As you practice these familiar activities with intention, you will expand your ability to meditate. The more you practice, the easier it will be for you to switch to more advanced forms like transcendental meditation and mindfulness meditation. After some practice, you may want to create your own personalized grounding meditation script. Just pick the activities and practices that help you relax, concentrate, and focus. Adding meditative practices can help you get the most out of your downtime, shedding stress and anxiety while recharging your soul.
Many people have discovered the value of planning their vacation time around getting back to nature. You don’t have to go to a secluded mountain, either. Many popular beach and island destinations are ideal for grounding exercises and meditation. You probably know someone who lives for their time on the beach. Ask them why, and explore the benefits your friends are already getting from grounding, earthing, and other related activities.
Practice a Grounding Meditation Right Now
The science around grounding is still evolving, but the benefits you can get are already here. Meditation, natural settings, and even soil bacteria are clinically proven to improve your physical and mental health, so there’s no reason to wait.
Grounding is easy and fun; you can do it by yourself, with your intimate partner, or even with a large group.
I recommend you take five minutes right now and get in contact with the earth. Go outside and stand in the grass or dirt, or take a quick dip in a natural pool, if that’s available. Pay close attention to how you feel before and after your experience, and make a note. If you feel better, commit to making it a regular practice, and find out how much grounding can change your life.