Do you ground with your children? Do you ground by yourself? And no, I don't mean the type of punishment where you don’t let your teenager out for the weekend because they failed a test. Grounding is something different that I learned about over the summer through a holistic Instagram account that touts earthy remedies to behavior problems. I liked one of their stories about not using the word “no” and recognizing that all of us have massive feelings and some of us just can’t express them or sort through them as easily—that group being young children. I loved their philosophy so I followed them.
One day the sister team posted about grounding and showed these beautiful professional photos of their children, barefoot, playing and doing a type of yoga practice. But the caption was what drew me in. She was talking about being connected to the earth and how doing this sorts through your physical body and sort of resets it. It was a very zen approach and I will be the first to admit that I’m not a super crunchy, organic-only, no processed foods, no crying mom. I definitely toe the line. But their ideas on grounding stuck with me.
We’ve been doing it almost daily since the summer and I’m going to share some more about it below.
So, what is it?
After doing a bit of research around what exactly grounding is, I discovered that grounding is a therapy technique that has very little research around it. At its core, grounding promotes connecting to the Earth and using Earth's electricity to your benefit, for your mental and physical health. The hard thing is, there isn’t a lot of research on the concept on grounding. The research that I did find, was not really comprehensive and didn’t have actual data to back it up. Now this doesn’t mean that the concept altogether is garbage. It just means that it doesn’t have any proven effects.
But there is merit to the idea of grounding.
Start by thinking about the activities that we do inside. I would say that 90% of the time, we are interacting or surrounded by various radiation whether things are on or not. It could be your TV or a cellphone siting idly your landline phones or your microwave buzzing. The refrigerator is always on and I bet you can’t even count the number of lightbulbs all around your home. Regardless of the size of your apartment or home or whatever, there is a constant movement of energy.
Take a moment right now to pause and sit in silence. What do you hear? I know right this very moment I am alone in my office. My two computer monitors are on and countless lights surround me. I do not sit in silence. There’s the buzz of the heater, a weird electrical buzz from the base of my computer. A phone, my cell vibrating, too. Movement. It’s all movement.
Let me preface this next part by saying that this isn’t bad. I freaking love technology and probably could not survive without it. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but you get my point. We need it in this world that thrives off of it and you most certainly wouldn’t succeed in life without having some basic comprehension of technology. I know I need my hot shower, powered by a water heater, pumped into the house. I need it.
At an individual level, there isn’t much you can do at home to prevent the flow of energy and electricity in your home. Sure, you can turn off things when you aren’t around and unplug as much as possible. But there’s still a big power line that most likely runs straight from the pole by the road to your home. Aside from moving into the woods and living an off the grid life, you’re stuck living in a technological world.
That’s not that say that we don’t need a break from it all. And how I look at grounding is exactly that. It’s an opportunity to check into the world, get to know the dirt and the ground and really connect yourself to the sounds of the world and the feel of it without all the other crap going on. I’m not transitioning into some electronic-free life and going completely paperless or green or whatever. But there is always one point in the day where we go out, take off our shoes, and just chill. It’s a perfect bonding point in the day, but also a breathing point as well.
One of the biggest parts of grounding outside is being shoe-free. Rubber and plastic soles really prevent us from feeling the Earth and connecting to it. Be barefoot. Sometimes it isn’t possible to be barefoot so I read that you can place your bare hands on the ground to get the same effects. Honestly though, for my family and myself even, the bare feet approach is the best way to go. You genuinely feel the connection instantly.
Grounding can be a slow, therapeutic moment. Sometimes we do yoga. Sometimes we sit down and talk about the sensory things going on. It could be the cool air whipping in your hair or the grass tickling the bottom of your feet. It might be the sound of birds or the way the dirt tasted kind of yucky when you licked your finger. We might sit or lay or stand or roll around on the ground. There’s not a standard way to make it work.
Sometimes grounding is chaotic. My kids are racing up and down the hill in our backyard. They’re tumbling and crashing into rocks and gravel. They’re sweating, hair matted to their foreheads, panting for breath and red in the face. But they’re still barefoot and they’re still getting the experience of grounding.
This is a real time we grounded and was such a nothing for us to accomplish. It was pretty warm out so I took the two kids outside and plopped them in a shady area. I brought out my coffee and I myself sat down in the grass. We all had our shoes off. The kids explored freely while I drank my morning coffee. That’s it. Grounding in real life and honestly, it always turns into such a beautiful, peaceful experience for me. Even if they’re running wild, they’re outside together and playing. Nothing more sweet than seeing your kids climb and explore and play and eat and smell the world.
I can say that I’m thankful for having a yard with grass and rocks and a garden and space to explore. We moved in January of last year (2020) and our old house had barely any yard, a couple feet in the front and nowhere near the amount we do now. But this doesn’t have to be done in a yard. Go to a park, a beach, a lake, a meadow, the strip by the sidewalk. Anywhere in nature works.
Will you try grounding?