What Is Grounding?
When I refer to grounding, I am referring to the act of planting your two feet firmly on the ground and being completely present in the moment. When we worry or overthink things, are stressed, or work with technology too much, we can sometimes “unground” ourselves. Meaning, we disconnect from the present moment and “float” in our imaginations.
We unground ourselves as a means of escaping the everyday for one reason or another. Sometimes we escape into our imaginations when we’re worrying about something or doing something we don’t enjoy, or simply because we are overwhelmed by the task at hand.
Being ungrounded can create feelings of anxiety, brain fog, confusion, or tiredness.
Why We Need To Ground
We are here on this Earth for a reason. We need to take part in our existence actively. An interesting study was published by Harvard University a few years ago where the participants were asked various questions at random points during the day to determine whether their mind was wandering, if they were daydreaming about a pleasant or negative topic, and what their happiness levels were at the time.
The results showed that those whose minds wandered the most were significantly unhappier than those who were more “present” in their activity, regardless of whether their daydreams were pleasant or not.
This means that no matter what you’re daydreaming about, you’re going to be less happy than if you were present (or grounded) in your current activity.
Happiness levels go up when we’re grounded.
Below I’ve listed 4 easy ways to ground yourself when you find that your mind is wandering:
1. Vigorous Exercise
The reason I say vigorous exercise and not gentle exercise is that intense exercise takes so much more physical coordination and mental focus that it becomes extremely difficult to focus on anything other than the task at hand. Engaging in sports and exercise and playing games with friends are all great ways to become more present. You may also find that after an hour or two of intense exercise your mind stays clearer for longer, which is a pretty cool side effect.
There is something incredible about connecting to the earth with our bare hands. Whether we’re watering, planting, or removing weeds, we are connecting to the ground. The more we touch and feel the plants or soil beneath our feet, the more all of the chaotic energies of the day seem to melt away. Gardening just happens to be fabulous exercise, you get the added benefit of being outside, AND eventually you get to eat the vegetables and fruits that you helped to grow. It’s win-win.
3. Creating A Masterpiece
Artists are familiar with the feeling of being swept away when they are creating their art. Whether that is molding clay, painting a picture, writing a story, or creating a piece of music, using our creativity requires us to be present and to clear our minds of any distractions. It is a healthy form of expression and is wonderful for de-stressing. Whatever it is you feel like creating, do it and don’t worry about how it’s going to turn out. Just enjoy the process.
It sounds kind of crazy because it’s something that we do anyway. But focusing our energy on our breath requires us to be present. Even a few minutes a day has a wonderful calming effect on the body and mind that helps us relax and focus on the next task at hand.
Those are my tips for staying grounded and present in the moment. If you have any that you’d like to share, post it in the comments below!
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A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind
Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert*
*To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published 12 November 2010, Science 330, 932 (2010) DOI: 10.1126/science.1192439
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