Grounding or earthing is all about taking little steps that can make a big difference in your life no matter where you live, work or play. The earth’s gifts abound everywhere, buoying spirits and benefitting bodies by nature’s sheer presence alone. In the past few decades a number of well-researched books by doctors and scientists have made the connection between nature and human health. Recently published new ones are springing up on the shelves at a fast clip. Included in many are the positive effects that just looking at nature can have on depression, immunity, vitality, productivity, creativity, memory and even cognitive functions.
Then there are two studies by Roger Ulrich of the University of Delaware worth citing. His findings reveal that just viewing nature can encourage healing and lowers the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood by 13 percent. A must read are Richard Louv’s works. He expounds on the topic and coined “Nature Deficiency Syndrome.” This phrase says it all.
The healing effects of a natural view are also increasingly being understood in stressful environments such as hospitals, nursing homes, and military sites as well as for people who work in windowless offices – that’s lots of us. Studies reveal that nature is an effective means of relieving stress and improving overall wellbeing. The Japanese call the grounding effect of looking at trees shinrin-yoku, which means “forest bathing”. They actually prescribe this for patients as part of medical care.
Newly published books, including Deepak Chopra and Kimberly Snyder’s book Radical Beauty makes the connection between nature and being grounded as one of their six core pillars and The Nature Fix, by Florence Williams, just now hitting bookstores, shares rich data and findings supporting the outstanding wellness benefits of the outdoors.
It goes without saying that living in the suburbs, near a park or close to the water offers endless opportunities to restore yourself. But even if home is in a concrete jungle or you can’t get outdoors easily from your high-rise office perches in the city, there are steps you can take to get grounded and partake in nature. One of the best things about grounding is that it is accessible almost anywhere, at any place and at any time. Sounds like early tree huggers knew a thing or two!
Meditation isn’t a state of being devoid of all thoughts. It also isn’t some type of escapism, of “getting away from it all.” Rather, it’s about tuning IN, being present and aware–and being mindful of yourself.
You choose what you want to concentrate on. You can’t escape having worries, but you can choose not to focus on them, or on any negative thoughts, while focusing on things like who you are, what goals you have, what’s important to you and other things.
Should you do it lying down? Actually, no, because you just might fall asleep. Sit comfortably in a chair.
Do you need a lot of time? It’s like anything else–make it a priority and schedule it into your day. We know someone who actually puts “eat lunch” on her daily calendar, because she tends to get so wrapped up in her projects she’ll forget, Then her blood sugar drops, she becomes shaky and tired and can’t finish the day. So she needs that reminder.
We once knew an executive who meditated every day at 5:30 PM no matter what–if he was out of the office, he’d just find a quiet place so he could stick to that schedule.
“In many ways, meditation will leave you feeling so refreshed you might find that you actually have more time. Deepak Chopra once told The Huffington Post: “In life’s paradoxical way, when we spend time meditating on a regular basis, we actually have more time. When we meditate, we dip in and out of the timeless, spaceless realm of consciousness… the state of pure awareness that is the source of everything that manifests in the universe. Our breathing and heart rate slow down, our blood pressure lowers, and our body decreases the production of stress hormones and other chemicals that speed up the aging process and give us the subjective feeling that we are “running out of time.”
To learn more, watch this video from Deepak Chopra:
It’s often said that savasana —corpse, or final resting pose—is the most difficult yoga pose to master. That’s the time when we let go of our breathing, set our mind free and absorb all the goodness of the poses. Both our energy and vibration rises. We take action, have confidence and determination.
That’s exactly what happens when we meditate, even for 10 or 15 minutes a day. We shake the gunk out of our minds. We focus and set priorities; after all, most of the time we just don’t pay attention to those little internal messages that can give us so much valuable information.
Deepak Chopra explains that, although many think the purpose of meditation is to tune OUT, the real purpose is actually to tune IN—to find that inner peace, to find the space between the thoughts.
We experience mindfulness. Most of the time we get so caught up in our busy lives that we neglect to pay attention to just what makes us happy or unhappy. We forget to be grateful of any good things that happen to us. We tend to ignore challenge and problems, rather than thinking them through to a solution.
Improved mental clarity. Empty the clutter and chatter, clear the overwhelm and you can set your intentions and explore your goals.
Better Health. Time after time, studies have shown that meditation can reduce stress and decrease anxiety—which aids sleep, one of the building blocks of health; in fact, chronic sleep deprivation leads to lower immunity, lack of focus, injury—and a host of challenges.
Little things don’t bother you as much. When you’re stressed, little things seem like big things—and big things seem almost insurmountable. Since meditation helps us find that inner peace, we’re much more able detach and focus on the present, rather than the past or future.