Stress Relief: 25 Ways You Can Do This
As someone who has always loved living in my head (reading, thinking, writing, analyzing, often overanalyzing!) being grounded is not something that came naturally to me. To compound matters, I was not an outdoors type of person. My mom used to force me to go outside as a kid, because left to my own devices I would have preferred staying inside and reading for hours. (Thanks, Mom!)
This post is for you if you:
- deal with anxiety or panic
- overthink, ruminate, or overanalyze
- are an empath, taking on others’ emotions and feeling overwhelmed
- are working online too much, have trouble unplugging, or are attached to your phone and other devices
- have trouble quieting your mind or find it difficult to meditate
- live in a big city or aren’t able to get outside in nature enough
Being grounded can help all of these issues, so I put together this list of 25 easy techniques on how to stay grounded.
First, what does it mean to be grounded?
To be grounded is to be fully present in your body, to be connected to the earth, to the world around you, to your breath and the way it moves through your body, to be aware of your emotions and how you’re feeling. Being grounded means you remember that you have a physical body.
By balancing the energy in your head with the energy in the rest of the body, you can connect to your feet and how they touch the earth.
25 Easy Ways to Stay Grounded
In the Body
1. Pound the bottoms of your feet with your fists for a couple of minutes. We have 14,000 nerve endings on the bottoms of our feet, and this will help activate them and redistribute our energy into the feet instead of having too much energy in the head.
2. Pat or tap the outside of the legs from the hips down to the feet with palms or fingertips (you can do this gently or more firmly). This will help energize and stimulate the Chinese meridians, or energy pathways located on the outside of the legs. Again, it helps move the energy into the feet.
3. Get a reflexology gadget. It’s probably one of the most grounding kinds of bodywork because it’s focused on the feet. Reflexology is based on the principle that a map of the body is represented on the feet. Applying pressure to specific points stimulates the nerve endings on the feet and balances the nervous system. (Anxiety is a sign that the nervous system is out of balance.)
4. Take a bath with sea salt or Epsom salts. This is one of the most popular spiritual (as well as physical and emotional) grounding techniques. While swimming in a lake or the ocean can powerfully connect us to the earth, a bath can be an easier option (or try a foot bath if you don’t have a bath tub or are short on time).
How can empaths protect themselves? I get asked this question often and this is an especially good tip if you have a tendency to take on other people’s energy and emotions.
5. Use essential oils that are grounding such as cedarwood, spruce, or pine (any essential oils from trees). I love Eden’s Garden.
6. Try Donna Eden’s Daily 5-Minute Energy Routine for a week and notice how your body feels. This routine is another helpful tip for empaths to protect themselves.
7. Work out: any form of exercise gets you into your body and out of your head: kick boxing, yoga, running, walking. Do the kind of exercise you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to do it regularly.
8. Experience sensory deprivation: sometimes referred to as an isolation or flotation tank, the tank is filled with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts, with water at skin temperature, and devoid of sound and light. The mind is free from distraction and the body is free from gravity. I tried it at Lift Floats.
9. Try Frans Stiene’s grounding exercises. Known as the Reiki teacher’s teacher, and someone who flies around the world constantly to teach, Frans knows the importance of being grounded. Try both of his spiritually grounding techniques and compare.
10. Buy a weighted blanket. The heaviness is restorative and calming for the nervous system. I sleep more deeply and wake feeling refreshed. Talk about literally grounding you to the earth!
In The Mind
11. Go on a news fast for a couple days, or even a week. This can serve as a reset, helping you evaluate the frequency of news you intake and how it affects your mindset and body. Hint: the mind might love the chatter and 24/7 news cycle, but the body definitely doesn’t.
Bonus: Stop listening or watching the news, and try reading it instead (particularly long-form articles that give nuance, deeper insight and a broader perspective than the soundbites that are often created to instill fear to get our attention and higher ratings!)
12. Leave your smart phone at home for a day. (I know! Can you even imagine?) I have one client who was sleeping with her phone under her pillow and checking news alerts on her phone first thing when she woke up, as well as endlessly throughout the day.
Those news alerts can trigger a strong fight or flight response in the nervous system. So often the full news story takes time to become available, and there’s usually nothing we can do in the moment (except feel anxious and worried which doesn’t help anyone).
13. Meditate. Meditate. Meditate. This is a calming way to train the brain (Hypnosis is another). If you don’t have a practice in place, try the free Insight Timer app. It has lots of guided meditations for a range of issues, which are often easier to stick with if you’re just starting out.
I offer a free weekly online 15-minute meditation that is ideal for those who find it difficult to meditate.
14. Learn Reiki or Tao Hands. Both are a simple way to connect to your intuition and center your mind and body as well as heal yourself and loved ones. Again, this is another tool for empaths to protect themselves. (Learning Reiki years ago is what finally helped me meditate regularly after years of unsuccessfully trying other methods, and becoming a Tao Hands soul healing practitioner took my meditation to even more profound levels.)
15. Ask yourself “what’s the next smallest step I need to take?” This trains your brain to stay on track and to be as close to the present moment as possible, rather than running 20 steps ahead and getting overwhelmed. I learned this from top hypnosis trainer John Overdurf. Changed my life.
16. Walk barefoot on the earth—rock, dirt, grass, sand…. For thousands of years our ancestors did this as a matter of course. The fact that this isn’t an easy thing to do living in a big city like New York tells us something about our literal and metaphorical connection to the earth.
17. Try forest bathing. Spend time in nature and see how it changes your energy: walk by the river, spend time in a park, go for a hike, etc. In Japan, they call it forest bathing—immersing yourself in the forest for relaxation—doesn’t that sound beautiful? The Washington Post identified it as the latest stress-reducing trend in the U.S.
18. Get fresh flowers or plants for your home, as well as rocks or sea shells, especially if you live in a high-rise building because you’re farther away from the earth. Think about it, our ancestors didn’t live that high up in the air!
19. Get crystals that are good for grounding—some of my favorites include selenite, shungite, and black tourmaline (these are particularly good if you need to be online a lot), but experiment and follow your intuition to find what feels grounding to you. Energymuse.com has two good articles on crystals for grounding.
20. Lay in the grass and imagine any negative emotions or physical imbalances sinking into the earth and being recycled. (You can do this in the winter, but it may be more enjoyable on a nice summer day.)
21. Stand and lean against a tree and imagine your heart becoming calm and your feet connecting to its powerful roots beneath the soil. Don’t worry if you don’t have access to a pristine mountain forest. Find a tree and connect with it daily–look at it and admire it, sit under it, notice how it changes with the seasons, etc.
22. Eat grounding foods: root vegetables, cooked foods, hearty stews (as opposed to raw foods like salads). This doesn’t mean don’t eat salads, but you want to experiment and see what foods help you feel more grounded, and find a nice balance depending on the time of year and temperature, as well as what’s going on in your life.
23. Drink more water than you normally do—the human body consists of 60-70% water and the body needs it for optimal function.
24. Cook a healthy meal. Think about it, cooking your own food is different than eating out or getting food delivered. Cooking brings you into the present moment in a very practical way—forcing you to pay attention as you measure the ingredients, follow the details of the recipe, and keep track of timing to ensure your food doesn’t burn, etc. You could take it a step further and reflect on where the food came from and all the people involved—from the farmer to the truck driver to the grocery store clerk—for this food to be here on your plate.
25. Develop a daily routine of things that personally help you feel grounded. Experiment with the list above and add your own. Know that this is personalized to you and will change depending on time of year, weather, stress levels, and what’s going on in your life, etc. Aim to do one or two of these practices and techniques on a daily basis.
Staying grounded can be one of the most important ways to connect with yourself: bringing your soul, mind, and body in alignment. By acknowledging that you live on Mother Earth, honoring this connection and support not only to the Earth, but to your body that allows you to be here and to feel the full range of human experience. Thank your feet for their efforts to do this every day for us.
Need additional support? Here are 5 tell-tale signs you could use a Reiki session.