Grounding is the practice of bringing your awareness back down to the earth, back to the physical.
This is helpful for anyone who feels disoriented, anxious, foggy-brained or flighty. Grounding can help us refocus when we are feeling neither here nor there and detached from our physical surroundings.
We all get ungrounded from time to time, but it becomes a problem when we consistently struggle to focus on what’s in front of us. In this modern age there is so much vying for our attention, especially with social media, technology and the prevalence of advertising.
Many of us are living solitary lives, have fast-paced work environments and are consuming more media. It’s no wonder that so many of us feel disoriented, rushed or out of focus.
It’s telling that we even need guidance in this area, considering how natural a process grounding should be. However as we spend more time with sedentary lifestyles, working at desks or focused on media, grounding becomes even more crucial.
Why is grounding important?
Grounding is important for everyone although on the spiritual path it has a unique purpose. Often when we begin to develop spiritually we cultivate a lot of energy in the higher chakras, and we might think we have to focus there.
This energy becomes a lot to manage especially in the third eye and crown regions, and so we often become disoriented or overwhelmed. Grounding practices allow us to bring these energy back down to a manageable level.
When we bring awareness to the physical body we also open up the root chakra. This higher energy is less likely to overwhelm or unbalance us as the lower chakras act as the roots to our energy body which keep us anchored.
Signs you are ungrounded
- You struggle to focus on tasks
- You struggle to stay organized or manage time
- You have a lot of restless or anxious energy
- You feel hyper-sensitive to other people’s energy/emotions
- You often feel exhausted
As you can see, being ungrounded brings both physical and mental problems. When we are ungrounded we have a hard time to sticking to deadlines and doing tasks efficiently, but also find it difficult to regulate ourselves and feel balanced when around other people.
4 ways to ground your energy
Connect to the earth
Grounding (sometimes earthing) is often used to refer to walking on the earth barefoot.
Find a spot in nature where you can walk barefoot safely and bring mindfulness to each step. Notice your surroundings, get in tune with all of the movement and sounds that you perceive.
This exercize can be adapted for those who do not have access to a space in nature they can return to often, or who need an alternative.
- Sit with your legs crossed, back straight and hands in your lap.
- Take a few deep breaths from your stomach.
- Continue to breathe and visualize roots extending from your root chakra (the base of your spine).
- As you breathe in, visualize/feel energy being drawn up through these roots, up your back and to your crown.
- As you breathe out, visualize/feel energy going down the front side of your body back into the earth.
- Repeat this for eleven cycles or until you feel deeply grounded, finishing on an exhale.
Visualizations like this can be difficult at first if our mind’s eye is not well developed, however the more you practice the more natural it will become. As you take breaths in make sure you are feeling the energy too, mentally pushing your awareness up your body so there is some resistance.
When we first do energy movement exercizes like this we might experience buzzing, vibrations and other sensations in the body. These can be intense at first, but as you get consistent with moving energy in this way, the energetic pathways in the body become stronger and can take on a larger flow with greater ease.
This exercize specifically targets the root chakra which is the energy center that deals with our sense of security and safety. Working on the lower chakras is an important part of grounding, and the first three chakras in particular relate to our physicality most closely.
Connect to your body
I think we focus a lot on the body nowadays as it pertains to physical appearance, but truly connecting with our bodies doesn’t seem as important.
We need time to connect with our bodies beyond goals that involve appearance, or even reaching a certain physical state – to connect with our bodies for its own sake. A lot of us feel ungrounded because we are overworking our bodies in day to day life but don’t have specific rituals to care for it.
We might be using our bodies but aren’t actually connecting with or caring for them.
Ways to connect with your body:
- Dance & movement
- Playing an instrument
- Creating with your hands
- Healthy eating & lifestyle
- Body-centered meditation
Through whichever activity we choose we want to practice getting into the flow state. This is where we start to operate beyond the ego, we get so focused on the moment and just being that we don’t have time to label or overthink things.
Pick one activity that resonates with you from the list or elsewhere, and just begin practising it. You don’t have to have a perfect routine or structure, those will come in time, you simple want to get comfortable with doing/being.
It’s through this practice that we can begin to observe ourselves. We’ll notice the resistance we feel: the doubt or fear and procrastination. Creating a consistent practice is like looking at ourselves in a clear pool of water; the things we do and how we do them reveal ourselves.
When done in the flow states these activities allow us to tune into our intuition, rather than working with the body in a mechanical way (as we sometimes do in work or exercize). You’ll know what movement or action to do next because you’ll notice the prompts from your body.
Getting in tune with our bodies through this one activity, will make us aware of others areas we are neglecting. In how we eat, work, move throughout the world and interact with others.
Along with connecting to our own bodies, we can practice connecting with other people. Hugging, holding hands, laying with someone, or simply having a deep conversation are all ways to ground if we do them consciously.
When you do this type of inner-work it’s easy to forget how important social connection is. Although there is a lot we can do as individuals to become more secure, that doesn’t mean we can’t lean on others – in fact, it’s important to do so.
Going back to the increase in solitary living that I mentioned in introduction, a lot of us feel ungrounded because our connections with others don’t go as deeply as we’d like to them. Our main reference point is ourselves, which can become disorienting.
We can practice all of these grounding exercizes with other people too. Placing a hand on someone else’s heart area as you both breathe deeply is a great way to co-regulate (tune each other’s nervous systems).
Journaling has been such a grounding practice for me so I wanted to share some details here.
When we are doing spiritual work of any kind it can be helpful to journal our experiences. We don’t have to put everything onto paper, but having a physical record can make things feel more real.
One of the mistakes people make with spiritual development is keeping everything mental. Spirituality becomes an intellectual exercize rather than a true embodiment of spiritual concepts, and so we create tension.
Through journaling we bring things into the physical even if it’s only on paper to begin with, and consequently step out of our minds.
When our minds are racing or we feel disorganized, getting everything down in the form of a ‘brain dump’ can be extremely helpful.
Create affirmations you’d like to recite in relation to your body and see what resistance comes up when you say them. Use your journal as a way to record these reflections and process things further.
- What rituals do I have?
- How do I incorporate my body into my spiritual practice?
- If my body could talk what would it say?
I explore spiritual embodiment in my guidebook, and include 30 other journal prompts like this.
Setting boundaries isn’t often discussed in relation to grounding, but I think it’s one of the most important aspects!
Often being ungrounded means constantly being focused on what other people are doing. You might be in your body on a physical level but far away, visualizing or overthinking someone else’s activities on a mental level.
This is especially true for those who are more sensitive or consider themselves empaths. Often highly sensitive people operate by taking on other people’s emotions and energy, so much so that they become disconnected from their own.
When someone is going through a hard time, is confiding in us or asks for help, our instinct is to place our energy in their space and come out of our own body in a way. In an attempt to help someone else, we become unbalanced ourselves.
When helping others it’s crucial to stay grounded in ourselves, not because we aren’t empathetic, but because we know that by staying centered as someone shares with us we can offer help from that centered space.
When you feel yourself zoned out, focused on someone else, consciously bring your energy back in. Many times we are so fixated on someone else that it’s as if we’re having an out of body experience, we completely tune out our surroundings.
This is natural some of the time but if you find yourself obsessing, fixating or overthinking situations with others so much so that you are regularly tuned out of your present environment, this will be an important grounding exercize.
Take a deep breath in and feel your focus come back to your body, look at your current surroundings and consciously take them in.
As I said in the introduction, it’s funny that we even need this type of advice on grounding. Grounding should be a practice that we are all familiar with.
In a lot of spiritual and religious communities, grounding is an essential part of the practice. We see physical objects as symbols all the time in spiritual and religious contexts. We pray but also bring a candle, book or some symbolic object along with us.
In spiritual traditions we might create an alter to represent the physicality of our energetic work, we might use drums or singing bowls, we might dance together in a group. All of these practice involve bringing the physical and a sense of community into our spiritual work.
Today it’s beneficial in the corporate world, advertising and politics for the vast majority of people to be ungrounded. If we aren’t in tune with our bodies, intuition and natural rhythms we are better workers, consumers and voters.
So grounding has to be a conscious thing, we cannot wait until we desperately need it to start doing it.
These practices are great for day to day use, but if you suffer from consistent anxiety or disorientation, don’t be afraid to seek out help or find a community that can support you.