The other day I asked my teenage son if he knew what it meant to be grounded. He answered with a smirk, “You mean when I am not allowed to play video games because I got bad grades?”
After I gave him “the look,” he pivoted from his initial response. He said, “Of course, Mom. You talk about this all the time.”
All joking aside, many of us understand that feeling grounded means being more present in our bodies and energetically connected with the earth.
If you’d like help capturing and maintaining that feeling, make an appointment.
Picture a sturdy tree with deep, solid roots. An occasional burst of wind does not bother the tree, and grounded individuals function in much the same way. They are less likely to sway under everyday stressors or other people’s negativity.
The idea of grounding also includes being completely present in the here and now. It has the feeling of being aware in the moment. Have you ever talked to someone about an important issue but felt frustrated because the other person seemed to be somewhere else in their thoughts?
There are many benefits of being grounded. When we feel fully present and grounded, we can show up in the best way for ourselves and others. We make not only much better conversationalists, but also better students, employees, parents, and partners.
When you experience feeling grounded, you are free from distractions. Your mind is clear and focused, and your physical and energetic bodies are connected and in sync with each other.
Time awareness plays a significant role in feeling grounded. If you primarily focus on the past in your thinking, you may feel like there’s no hope for the future. These thoughts can lead to sadness and depression. Some individuals may even experience a very low will to live.
The opposite can happen when you focus too much on the future. Constant thoughts about events that have not happened yet (or may never will) can cause you to feel anxious. You may feel like you can’t slow your thoughts down because you are so worried about what might happen in the future.
"My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened." - Michel de Montaigne
Neither situation helps a person’s mental health. Being grounded in the present, however, can lead to you feeling calm, happy, and productive.
“The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.” — Abraham Maslow
If being present and grounded is an ideal state for optimal brain performance, why don’t we always feel it? Many people tend to function “outside” of their bodies in some way.
Here are just a few examples of what causes us to become ungrounded:
Chronic aches, pains, discomfort, or illness
Unhealed physical or emotional trauma
Over-consumption of TV, computers, and other electronic devices
Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
Most people notice that they are more in their body when they are having positive experiences such as enjoying delicious meals, hanging out with people they like, or being in favorite nature spots. While unpleasant, negative or scary experiences make us less present in our body.
Many trauma survivors made it through their experiences by dissociating or splitting from their bodies. After all, tolerating physical or emotional pain is a significant challenge. Our brains sometimes intentionally unground us as a safety mechanism. The problem comes when we continue dissociating long after the traumatic event is over.
And you don’t have to have undergone trauma for this to occur. Experiencing toxic stress on a daily basis can be equally damaging over time.
There are many daily exercises you can do that help you reconnect with the earth and with the present moment. Try any or all of these tips to learn which ones help you:
Deep belly breathing
Physically connecting with the earth by walking barefoot
Noticing an object with your five senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and touching)
Spending time with your pet
Using weighted blankets
NeurOptimal® neurofeedback is another fascinating tool that helps with grounding. It works as if it’s putting a mirror in front of the brain. NeurOptimal® shows the brain what it’s doing so that it can re-organize itself.
Neurofeedback disrupts familiar patterns of worry and anxiety about the past or the future. It gently brings you back to the present. And it does this without any effort on your part!
I’ve had many clients report that their typical thoughts were interrupted during a session. It’s as if the brain spontaneously decides that a particular idea is unhelpful and no longer needed.
If you ever tried to stop a negative and intrusive thought from running amok in your mind, you know just how hard it is. NeurOptimal® allows this to happen easily and, often, spontaneously.
Neurofeedback may not be the only thing you need to overcome significant or long-lasting issues. But it is incredibly helpful in making other interventions work faster and more efficiently.
NeurOptimal® offers a grounding effect on the nervous system. This impact may allow a client to stay in the emotional “window of tolerance” while processing traumatic memories with a licensed psychotherapist.
Everyone can benefit from NeurOptimal® sessions. You will feel calmer, more grounded, and more resilient in the face of new stressors.
You can choose to receive sessions in my office or rent a NeurOptimal® system to use at home.
You even can invest in your own device for ongoing self-care.