Most of us spend time analyzing and wishing. We are the only species on Earth that can predict the future and analyse the past (as far as we know). We spend a lot of time doing this which means that consequently, we are much of the time away from the present moment, either dissociating or ruminating. Our brains are always active and telling us we need to be productive and busy to be valued by ourselves and others. So, our busy lives and brains continue to function at high speed.
I often say to clients that if you raced a car on the motorway for a period of time, you would need to eventually allow it to cool down, service it and fill it with fuel. We wouldn’t generally treat our cars like that but we constantly push ourselves to the limit to the detriment of our mental and physical health. Why do we do this? Part of it is how society rates “hard-working” people. Companies value those who put everything of themselves aside for the mighty profit despite what they say about well-being programmes. Education systems value “diligent” students who concentrate solely on studies and parents expect results. Nowhere in all of this is the concept of grounding and that is something we need to create for ourselves.
In any busy schedule, there has to be time for personal relaxation, reflection and staying in the moment. We often sabotage this or prioritize other busier activities that we feel we should be doing. How many times do we sit restlessly thinking about what we should be doing instead of being? It is very important for our mental health that we prioritize something different.
One of the best ways to ground ourselves and stay in the present moment, while keeping “should” thoughts at bay, is to connect with nature. This is the ultimate right-brained activity and can regenerate and relax us in a way that other methods can’t.
Nature is consistent (factor our climate change) and is life’s great leveler. Whether you are rich or poor, nature treats you the same way. There is no hierarchy in nature and no employer bearing down on you to squeeze that last drop of effort out of you for good of the shareholders. Nature can ground us and that gives us a broader perspective of our lives in general. It puts things into perspective and helps us to stay in the present moment. When I cannot get out in nature, I meditate with nature in mind and have a list of favorite videos. This one is fantastic and the lady who sings it is truly connected to nature: Video Credit: ABØN
Many people who spend time in nature feel grounded and firstly, that they are more active than reactive (a curse of our modern times) but there are other benefits too. Taking a more holistic approach (grounded) to our lives means some or all of the following:
Can process emotions better
Have a more healthy sense of connection
Are more content with themselves
Show more tolerance and resilience
Are more calm, curious and compassionate
Boundaried but not inflexible… and many others
So just how do you become grounded? In nature, it is easy to be in the moment and watch everything happening in real-time. However, grounding is really about observing what is happening inside you and around using your senses and breath and you do not need to be in nature to do this, though it helps considerably. Grounding means being connected to the Earth and gravity does most of the work for us. We need to become more aware of that and what it means for us. When we become ungrounded, we can feel our anxiety and tension rising and then we go into our default defence “left-brain” mechanism of working harder to provide a solution where a “right-brain” angle would be more relevant.
So grounded means staying in the present moment and being aware of our senses, breath, what is happening inside us and around us at any given moment. Given the demands of our busy lives, we are not encouraged to do this very often but it is essential to do it as often as we can through mindfulness, meditation and connection with the elements.
Being grounded means finding out who we really are.
Featured Photo Credit: Freepik