Updated: Jun 11
The trouble with our modern lives and the reason so many struggle with physical, mental, and emotional discomfort is because we live in an unnatural environment. As a whole, we have moved so far away from nature that most people eat chemicals for food, drink water contaminated with heavy metals and fluoride, and sit inside under artificial lighting, all while connected to Wifi most of the day. In the process, we have disconnected from ourselves. Health is our natural state, and in order to regain our health, we need to return to nature.
At our core, we are energetic or 'electrical' beings, and at that core is our autonomic nervous system. The nervous system is responsible for sending and receiving messages across the entire body, and it has two states, the sympathetic and parasympathetic. To simplify it, think of these states as 1. 'Fight or Flight' ( the sympathetic state) and 2. 'Rest and Digest' (the parasympathetic state).
The sympathetic state (fight or flight) is our survival mode. It tells us we aren't safe and sends stress hormones, such as cortisol, throughout our bodies. Sadly, this is the state many people live in due to stress and unprocessed trauma. One of the goals of self-healing is to restore balance to the nervous system because when the body can rest, it can heal. When the nervous system is balanced, it can also send and receive the proper signals throughout the body, which is why many self-healing modalities, from chiropractic work to breath work, focus on the nervous system.
One effective (and free!) way of returning the nervous system to the 'rest and digest mode is through grounding, also referred to as earthing. Grounding means connecting to the earth (standing barefoot in the grass or walking in the sand on the beach). Clinton Ober, the founder of earthing and its benefits, explains that the earth is negatively charged. He says if you think of a battery, there is a positive and a negative end. The positive end has no electrons. At the negative end, there is an excess of electrons, so when you put a light in between and turn a switch on, the electrons will travel from the negative side to the positive side until the battery is dead. As electrical beings, we need the negative charge from the earth. When we connect to the earth, there is a transfer of energy. When you place your bare feet on the earth, the earth's electrons are absorbed through your feet. In electrical terms, 'grounded' means to return to normal, says Ober.
Earthing restores your body's natural internal electrical stability and rhythms. It shifts the nervous system from a stress-dominated mode to one of calmness, and you sleep better. By reconnecting, you enable your body to return to its normal electrical state, better able to self-regulate and self-heal. - Clinton Ober
Ober explains that you are an antenna if you are not grounded. This means your body attracts low-frequency EMFs and electrical noise that is abundant in our environment today, and it perturbs the electrons in your body - creating disharmony, leading to health issues and mood disorders. If you are ungrounded, your sympathetic (the stress state) will work in overdrive - responding to everything in the environment no matter what it is (the slightest noise, wind, heat, cold), leading to adrenal fatigue.
Even without getting too scientific or technical (which it does, and I've linked some more resources below), I think everyone can resonate with the immediate shift in their own energy or mood when they get out in the sun or near the ocean. Spiritual teachers will urge people to get out in nature because it helps clear your energy field, raises your vibrational frequency, and nourishes your body in various ways. Intuitively, we know being in nature is not only good for the soul but good for the body. While we may not know specifically what is happening within us and how everything works as a whole, we know it makes us feel better. Sometimes we just need the reminder, and we don't always need a doctor or scientific explanation to tell us why something is good for us; we can know by the way it makes us feel. So this is your reminder to get outside (phone/EMF free!) and get your feet in the grass or the sand every day to recharge and restore your natural state. True health and happiness will be uncovered in nature - in natural food, natural air, and natural rhythms.
BENEFITS OF GROUNDING:
1. Calms & Balances the Autonomic Nervous System (Normalizes Vagal Tone) and activates the parasympathetic state.
2. Reduces Stress
3. Reduces Anxiety and Depression
4. Restores the adrenal glands
5. Reduces Inflammation (which leads to less pain)
6. Improves Mood
7. Improves Quality of Sleep
8. Improves Overall Well-Being
HOW TO START:
Simply removes your shoes when you are outside and place your feet on a natural surface, like grass, soil, sand, or ocean water. You can also lay in the grass or go swimming in the ocean. The negative ions are abundant in nature, so even breathing in fresh ocean air, or going for a walk in the mountains will have a positive impact on your well-being.
REFERENCES & RECOMMENDED LISTENING:
The Surprising Health & Healing Benefits of Grounding (Earthing) with Clint Ober
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Photo Credit: Christy Turlington