what does it mean to be grounded? 

As a yoga practitioner, I hear this word all the time. Most individuals who attend a yoga class do so because they are trying to acquire this “grounded” state. 

Everyone wants to feel grounded. Grounded people are characterized by their reliability, unshakable attitude, humility,  their healthy self-esteem, their courage to stand up for what’s right, and not conform so people will like them and finally, their willingness to help others succeed. 

How do we acquire these attributes? 

Usually, the cause for ungroundedness is when life presents us with challenges and gets overwhelming. We might lose our job, get into deep debt, undergo a health crisis, get sick, dealing with a death in the family, new changes such as a big move or the birth of a child. 

You get the idea, at times of uncertainty, feelings of anxiety start to increase. 

The key is not to eliminate uncertainty and stress in your life because life events are out of your control. The key therefore, is to increase your resilience by allowing yourself to feel grounded even in the middle of a stressful, uncertain event. Then things become not such a big deal. They might stress you out a bit, but they won’t be the end of the world.

habits that lead to being grounded

The basic habits that lead to resiliency, and a feeling of groundedness, are things you can practice every single day:

get physical

This habit is simple but not easy. The last thing you want to do when in a slump, is to move. However, when we are anxious, we get distracted easily, space out, overthink or ruminate. When we engage in physical activity, such as going for a walk, heading to the gym, a yoga class, or out for a run, we distract our minds and allow ourselves time and space to connect with our body and give it what it needs. 

using food to ground and nourish 

We all need to eat; one of my favorite ways to feel grounded is to use food. Grounding ourselves with food allows the energy and nutritional content of food to balance our mind and body.

When it comes to nutrition, balanced blood sugar helps us feel grounded. Having consistent meal times with a variety of foods – including proteins, carbohydrates, and fats – helps our brain and body get essential nutrients. When your blood sugar is balanced, it supports balanced moods and stable energy. When it’s out of balance – often from restriction – we feel tired, cranky, irritable, and lightheaded.

A mindful snack can go a long way. I also find when I ditch the refined carbs and processed foods for a day or two and instead consume root vegetables, nuts, beans, and even some dark chocolate, I feel more grounded  and mentally alert. 

mindful walking

Simply walking and staying present with our environment can go a long way. My favorite way of feeling grounded is to actually feel the ground with my bare feet. Walking barefoot on my property, surrounding woods, or dipping my feet in a river have all proven effective in quelling my mind when it goes in many different directions.  

Research demonstrates that this physical action where we walk barefoot on the earths surface, called earthing, helps us connect to the Earth’s electrical energy and promotes physical and mental well being. Depending on how active my mind is, it takes a few minutes before I am mentally alert, calm, and centered. Further, our feet have pressure points and walking barefoot has the added benefit of massaging acupuncture points in our feet like in reflexology.

final thoughts

Other habits such as simplfying by being present with one thing at a time can also help us be more centered. We have so much going on that it can all be overwhelming. Can you simplify by focusing on just one thing right now? Trust that you’ll take care of the other things when it’s needed. Instead, be fully present with one single task. It can be as simple as washing one dish, or drinking one cup of tea. Be fully with it, and savor the experience fully. This leads to a feeling of groundedness, and helps us to not feel as frazzled.

Finally, practicing some techniques in resilience such as taking a moment in a period of confusion to say, (even out loud), “No Big Deal” to any kind of uncertainty that arises and savoring and being present with whatever uncertainty is coming up for us. This is a big step for most of us but staying grounded requires us to stay calm in the middle of chaos (even if there’s stress present), and finding a joy in being in that uncertainty. Resilience is taking a breath and then savoring that breath. It can be a wonderful thing when we learn to love it.

Try these habits today, whenever you notice stress, anxiety, uncertainty. They take practice, but with time, they lead to a feeling of being centered and grounded.