When we’re too action oriented, we tend to get stuck in the mind. We get so wrapped up in our to-do lists and all of the other things going on inside of our heads, that we lose sight of what’s important. When we live in a state of mental stress, the body goes into fight or flight mode, which then kicks the nervous system into overdrive. And if this state persists for a prolonged period of time, physical conditions may arise— breakouts, anxiety, hair loss, depression, etc.
And here’s the kicker about living in a state of mental stress: you thought your way there, but there’s no thinking your way out. When life has you spinning, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get grounded; to return awareness to the physical body.
- Get your feet on the Earth. Your bare naked feet. This practice is known as “Earthing,” and before you write if off as hippy-dippy, there is science to back it up. The Journal of Environmental Public Health says:
“It is an established, though not widely appreciated fact, that the Earth’s surface possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons. The Earth’s negative charges can create a stable internal bioelectrical environment for the normal functioning of all body systems which may be important for setting the biological clock, regulating circadian rhythms, and balancing cortisol levels.”
2. Tune into your 5 senses. Look around. What do you see? Now, tune into sound. What do you hear? Bring your awareness to your whole body. What do you feel? What are you smelling? What are you tasting? By tuning into your 5 senses, you are bringing awareness back to what is happening in the present moment. This is a powerful practice that takes less than 2 minutes and can be done anywhere at anytime.
3. Hold onto an object from the Earth. A seashell, a rock, your favorite crystal. Look at it in your hands and simply observe yourself holding the object. Feel its weight, flip it over in your hands, touch its surface. Tangible practices get you out of the mind, because when you’re feeling, you’re not thinking anymore.
4. Breathe Deeply. The body is so intelligent that it sustains the flow of breath all day long without conscious awareness. But, by tuning into the breath, you can use it as a tool for release, purification, increasing energy, and coming back to the present moment. Begin with three deep inhales and exhales and continue for as long as you need.
5. Sit in stillness (advanced). If you haven’t stopped moving in a while, you’ll find that this practice gets uncomfortable quickly. Do what you can to take a step back and observe the inner chatter of the mind without judgement. If you find yourself getting frustrated, don’t stop, remain seated and allow all of that mental “noise” to surface and move out. Eventually your mind will tire as you let all of the stories, and things to do. Tip: Breathing through it will help with purifying the mind.
Sometimes all we need is 5 minutes of grounding to regain balance between the mind, body, and spirit. Other times, we need an entire day to recharge and rebalance. These practices are meant to be done for as long as you need. If a practice doesn’t help you in 5 minutes, consider giving yourself 5 more, and then maybe 5 more after that.