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.
In their book, Your Brain on Nature: The Science of Nature’s Influence on Your Health, Happiness and Vitality Eve Selhub, MD and Alan Logan MD relays that spending just 20 minutes in a vegetation-rich area of nature improves emotional strength, perspective and vitality. A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that people who lived within a half mile of a green space experienced less anxiety and depression than those living farther away. That’s sure sounds like an appealing alternative to taking medications — at least worth a try. And it’s free.
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!