Every day we wake up and get ready to take on whatever life throws at us. The vast majority of us go through our day-to-day lives with a determined focus to get through the task at hand so we can move on to the next one. We rarely take a moment just to stop and breathe and think.
As we move through the hectic aspects of our lives, our connection with the Earth is something that most of us take for granted. The feel of the sand between our toes or the sun on our skin is nice, but who really has time for that daily? When would it make sense for us to pull over and really, truly ground ourselves in nature?
Surprisingly, it might be worth doing so more often than you think. It turns out that building this real connection with the Earth can be a powerful means of transforming both your mental and physical health. This connection could be the turning point we all need to really feel alive in the things that we do every day.
The Power of Grounding
The idea of grounding — or being in physical contact with and using electrical charges from the Earth — is somewhat of an under researched science. However, there are plenty of promising studies that indicate that taking the time to be in real contact with the ground (i.e. skin on ground contact — no shoes here) and have a profound number of health benefits such as a reduction in inflammation, cardiovascular disease, muscle damage, and chronic pain.
In its most simple form, grounding can be walking around barefoot or lying in the grass outside your house. The positive charges naturally built up in your body interact with the negative charges naturally produced by the Earth. Some evidence even suggests that this neutralisation of charges can help with improving sleep patterns, which is a chronic health issue for millions of people.
Some studies even suggest that grounding can be one of many other beneficial ways to improve your circulation. Better circulation has many cumulative impacts such as reducing the risk of certain cardiovascular problems, improving sleep, and limiting the number of varicose veins that crop up.
Making a Mental Health Connection
We’ve heard time and time again that nature has the power to soothe a troubled mind or that spending time in nature is one of the best means of improving your mental health. This works in several ways. For instance, regular sun exposure increases vitamin D uptake, which is important in mood regulation. Likewise, natural settings have been proven to have a calming effect on the brain which can reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
Some experts believe that grounding and deliberately making a connection with the Earth can be one of the powerful means of spending time in nature. Something as simple as sitting or standing barefoot in a grassy park and practicing mindfulness for 20 minutes a couple of times a week could significantly improve mental health. As previously mentioned, nature and mindfulness can improve sleep, which has long been linked to mental health status.
Many more progressive physicians will even recommend or prescribe time in nature — particularly grounding — to patients that are going through a rough patch. Time spent outside can help in numerous simple ways. Grounding, for example, can rebalance electrical signals in the body. And breathing outdoors can help the body absorb some of the positive chemicals naturally released by trees. All of this can work together to strengthen mental health with no negative side effects.
There are significant mental and physical health benefits associated with the practice of grounding. Even something as small as walking around barefoot or lying in a park for 30 minutes a couple of times a week can have a substantial impact on health outcomes. The power of nature in our lives should never be taken for granted.
About the Author
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S.
She covers a wide range of topics but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to health and wellness, including mental health awareness and addiction education.