The term “grounded” used to be such a point of frustration for me. Like, what does that even mean? I hated to hear that in yoga spaces or by people who seemed like they were super in tune with life and the Earth, but come on, I’m a journalist and we have crazy sh!t happening all. the. time. What is “grounding” and why is it important??
Happy to report, I’ve finally figured it out. You see, as a journalist we tend to live in a constant state of stress. This happens because we’re typically on alert for the latest breaking news, deadlines, sometimes stressed from toxic newsrooms, we can be constantly connected to sources and news. That’s just the work side of things. On top of that, some journalists carry heavy stress from life, finances, family, health reasons, discrimination, health issues and the list can go on. When our bodies are under this constant state of stress, a part of the brain called the amygdala like to turn on and stay on. Scientists call it hyperactivity.
Ok, so we’re talking brains now, how does that relate to “grounding”? Stay with me, when our bodies are in that constant state of hyperactivity, stress hormones are pumped through our bodies activating the sympathetic side of the central nervous system. Basically, your body doesn’t have time to recharge and move into the rest, relaxation and digestion patterns it needs to relax. Here’s where “grounding” comes in!
We’ve all covered those crazy stories that left us exhausted. Maybe you even slept for 14 hours straight. (This happened to me after I covered the Dallas Police Shootings in 2017) I did not know how to regulate. Then my yoga practice led me to grounding. Grounding can be many things, as long as it’s something that feels safe and supportive for you. For me, grounding has shown up in many ways. Some days, grounding is doing a long yoga practice filled with challenging standing poses. Other days, grounding is just five minutes of me sitting in silence and just breathing. Grounding has also been cooking my favorite meal or re-potting a houseplant. Grounding also shows up for me by talking walks and being outside with my feet in the grass and the wind in my face. Grounding has been essential to get me through the days I couldn’t afford talk-therapy or even in between my talk-therapy sessions.
If you take away anything from this post, it’s to remember that grounding is anything that feels safe or supportive.
In celebration of Earth Day, I want to share with you one of my favorite walking meditations. I encourage you to give it a try! Find a park or a small patch of grass, get outside and get grounded!
5 Minute Walking Meditation:
Begin barefoot and notice your feet on the ground.
- Notice the way the grass feels on your toes.
- Take a few slow steps and notice the way your foot steps on the ground.
- What do you feel on your feet? Is there wind? What do you hear?
- What colors do you notice? Green grass? Birds? Brown tree trunks?
- Take a big belly breath to inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
- Relax your shoulders, the brow is soft and the jaw releases.
- Know that in this moment, you’re grounding and resetting even if it’s just for five minutes.
Stay grounded Newsies!