As someone who has always loved living in my head (reading, thinking, writing, analyzing, often overanalyzing!) being grounded is not something that comes naturally to me. To compound matters, I was not an outdoors type of person. My mom used to force me to go outside as a kid, because left to my own devices I would have preferred staying inside and reading for hours. (Thanks, Mom!)
Living in New York City, I see a lot of clients and Reiki students with anxiety, as well as people who have trouble quieting their mind, and empaths who feel overwhelmed by the energy and feelings of those around them. Being grounded can really help, so I put together this list of 25 easy techniques on how to stay grounded.
First, what does it mean to be grounded?
To be grounded is to be fully present in your body, to be connected to the earth, to the world around you, to your breath and the way it moves through your body, to be aware of your emotions and how you’re feeling. Being grounded means you remember that you have a physical body.
By balancing the energy in your head with the energy in the rest of the body you can connect to your feet and how they touch the earth.
Here are 25 easy ways to help you stay grounded.
1. Pound the bottoms of your feet with your fists for a couple of minutes. We have 14,000 nerve endings on the bottoms of our feet, and this will help activate them and redistribute our energy into the feet and instead of the head.
2. Pound the outside of the legs from the hips down to the feet with your fists (you can do this gently or more firmly). This will help energize and stimulate the Chinese meridians, or energy pathways located on the outside of the legs. Again it helps move the energy into the feet.
3. Try reflexology. It’s probably one of the most grounding kinds of bodywork because it’s focused on the feet. Reflexology is based on the principle that a map of the body is represented on the feet. Applying pressure to specific points stimulates the nerve endings on the feet and balances the nervous system. (Anxiety is a sign that the nervous system is out of balance.)
4. Take a bath with sea salt or Epsom salts. This is one of the most popular spiritual grounding techniques. While swimming in a lake or the ocean can really connect us to the earth, a bath can be an easier option (or try a foot bath if you don’t have a bath tub).
How can an empath protect themselves? This is an especially good tip if you have a tendency to feel too much and take on other people’s energy and emotions.
5. Use essential oils that are grounding such as cedarwood or pine (any essential oils from trees). I absolutely love Andrea’s Alchemy grounding cedar oil roll-on blend.
6. Try Donna Eden’s Daily 5-Minute Energy Routine for a week and notice how your body feels. This routine is another helpful tip for empaths to protect themselves.
7. Work out: any form of exercise gets you into your body and out of your head: kick boxing, yoga, running, walking. Do the kind of exercise you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to do it regularly.
8. Experience sensory deprivation: sometimes referred to as an isolation or flotation tank, the tank is filled with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts, with water at skin temperature, and devoid of sound and light. The mind is free from distraction and the body is free from gravity. I tried it at Lift Floats.
9. Try Frans Stiene’s grounding exercises. Known as the Reiki teacher’s teacher, and someone who flies around the world constantly to teach, Frans knows the importance of being grounded. Try both of his spiritually grounding techniques and compare.
10. Buy a weighted blanket. The heaviness is restorative and calming for the nervous system. I sleep more deeply and wake feeling refreshed. Talk about literally grounding you to the earth!
11. Go on a news fast for a couple days, or even a week. This can serve as a reset, helping you evaluate the frequency of news you intake and how it affects your mindset and body. Hint: the mind might love the chatter and 24/7 news cycle, but the body definitely doesn’t.
12. Leave your smart phone at home for a day. (I know! Can you even imagine?) I have one client who was sleeping with her phone under her pillow and checking news alerts on her phone first thing when she woke up, as well as endlessly throughout the day.
Those news alerts can trigger a very strong fight or flight response in the nervous system. So often the full news story takes time to become available, and there’s usually nothing we can do in the moment (except feel anxious and worried which doesn’t help anyone).
13. Meditate. Meditate. Meditate. This is a calming way to train the brain (Hypnosis is another). If you don’t have a practice in place, try the free Insight Timer app. It has lots of guided meditations for a range of issues, which are often easier to stick with if you’re just starting out.
14. Learn Reiki. Reiki is a simple way to connect to your intuition and center your mind and body. In my Reiki classes, I teach additional spiritual grounding techniques such as the purifying breath and dry bathing to help you center your energy and feel grounded. Again, this is another tool for empaths to protect themselves. (Learning Reiki years ago is what finally helped me meditate regularly after years of unsuccessfully trying other methods.)
15. Ask yourself “what’s the next smallest step I need to take?” This trains your brain to stay on track and to be as close to the present moment as possible, rather than running 20 steps ahead and getting overwhelmed. I learned this from top hypnosis trainer John Overdurf. Changed my life.
16. Walk barefoot on the earth—rock, dirt, grass, sand…. For thousands of years our ancestors did this as a matter of course. The fact that this isn’t an easy thing to do living in a big city like New York tells us something about our literal and metaphorical connection to the earth.
17. Try forest bathing. Spend time in nature and see how it changes your energy: walk by the river, spend time in a park, go for a hike, etc. In Japan, they call it forest bathing—immersing yourself in the forest for relaxation—doesn’t that sound beautiful? The Washington Post identified it as the latest stress-reducing trend in the U.S.
18. Get fresh flowers or plants for your home, as well as rocks or sea shells, especially if you live in a high-rise building because you’re farther away from the earth. Think about it, our ancestors didn’t live in the air.
19. Get crystals that are good for grounding—some of my favorites include selenite, shungite, and black tourmaline, but experiment and follow your intuition on what feels grounding to you. Energymuse.com has two good articles on crystals for grounding.
20. Lay in the grass and imagine any negative emotions or physical imbalances sinking into the earth and being recycled. (You can do this in the winter but it may be more enjoyable on a nice summer day.)
21. Stand and lean against a tree and imagine your heart becoming calm and your feet connecting to its roots.
22. Eat grounding foods: root vegetables, cooked foods, hearty stews (as opposed to raw foods like salads). This doesn’t mean don’t eat salads, but you want to experiment and see what foods help you feel more grounded, and find a nice balance depending on the time of year and temperature, as well as what’s going on in your life.
23. Drink more water than you normally do—the human body consists of 60-70% water and the body needs it for optimal function.
24. Cook a healthy meal. Think about it, cooking your own food is different than eating out or getting food delivered. Cooking brings you into the present moment in a very practical way—forcing you to pay attention as you measure the ingredients, follow the details of the recipe, and keep track of timing to ensure your food doesn’t burn, etc. You could take it a step further and reflect on where the food came from and all the people involved—from the farmer to the truck driver to the grocery store clerk—for this food to be here on your plate.
25. Develop a daily routine of things that personally help you feel grounded. Experiment with the list above and add your own. Know that this is personalized to you and will change depending on time of year, weather, stress levels, and what’s going on in your life, etc. Aim to do one or two of these practices and techniques on a daily basis.
Staying grounded can be one of the most important ways to connect with yourself: bringing the soul, mind, and body together. By acknowledging that you live on Mother Earth, honoring this connection and support not only to the Earth, but to your body that allows you to be here and to feel the full range of human experience is why we are here. Thank your feet for their efforts to do this every day for us.
Caroline Gomez is a yoga teacher, mom of three, and one of my most energetic Reiki students. She’s in the process of completing Reiki III. Here’s her experience taking Reiki I.
The Power of Taking Care of Yourself with Reiki
I learned from the Reiki Self-Care Protocol that I matter. I learned how the power of intention and self-care can change your outlook and energy. The effects of the Reiki self-care protocol are cumulative and become stronger and last longer the more you practice.
I also learned that we all possess the power to self-heal. And before we practice Reiki on others, we must first practice on ourselves.
Receiving Reiki: Getting a Reiki Session
I learned that surrendering and being open to accepting energy healing from someone else is an intimate exchange. There is a level of trust that occurs between you and the practitioner, and not everyone will practice the same protocol that I learned.
When I received Reiki by getting a Reiki session, it was different from practicing the Reiki self-care protocol, not better or worse, but the energy was different. I did feel that I could block or receive from the Reiki practitioner. I felt that I was in control of the process, even though I was receiving Reiki.
I also learned that I have some way to go as a Reiki practitioner, regarding being intuitive and able to sense what is going on with another person. I was amazed at how much information the practitioner was able to learn from me just from one session.
Giving a Reiki Session: Less is More
I learned that less is more when it comes to giving Reiki. I think I was trying too hard to squeeze the energy from myself to another person. I was trying to make something happen, instead of trusting the process. When I experienced this shift, I changed my view of how the Reiki energy flows through me.
I felt so much joy in sharing, and in the exchange of giving and receiving. I was being so careful and I wanted to nurture the person receiving Reiki. I was honored that someone would trust me to give them a Reiki session.
Happy year of the rooster!
Hope you are doing well this cozy time of year in New York. It’s lightly snowing as I write this, with the sun setting as night falls: the quietness of the snow so beautiful and peaceful. Similar to the way Reiki self care feels to me when I place my hands on my body: my mind centers and I feel calm. How about you?
I’m in the middle of teaching Reiki I and it’s such a good group of students—asking deep questions and moving outside their comfort zone as they think about energy, meditation, and self care in new ways.
Read on for simple tips for your Reiki practice.
Learning Reiki online?
I recently wrote a blog post about the pros and cons of learning Reiki online. Technology definitely has a place in learning, but is it the right place to learn Reiki?
A Simple Grounding Technique:
This made me laugh. Reflexology teacher Sue Ricks gives her clients a super quick grounding technique.
Ready, for this? Squeeze your butt for one minute.
It definitely moves your energy from your head down into your lower torso, helping you feel more centered. Try it!
In Japan, shinrin-yoku is the practice of “forest bathing” — immersing yourself in the environment of the forest for relaxation. The Washington Post declared forest bathing the latest stress-reducing trend in the U.S.
A friend and fellow Reiki teacher from Japan told me people in Japan will go to a place in nature like a forest or a park and say, “Oh, there’s so much Reiki here.” They aren’t referring to the Reiki System of Natural Healing, rather they are referring to the meaning of Reiki—spiritual life force energy.
So many of my clients and students who deal with anxiety or depression notice how much better they feel when they spend time in nature. If you live in New York City, you get extra credit because nature is a little harder to find.
A Native American client once told me she connects to nature in the midst of the concrete of the city by looking up at the sky. Isn’t that expansive? How can you incorporate being in nature into your life more?
Year of the Rooster
One of my long-time teachers, Gary Strauss, (who I also interview in my book, Building a Powerful Practice), wrote an article about how to live in these polarized times, figure out what we need to do, and honor the energy of the year of the rooster. Interesting stuff!
Remember it only takes a moment to place your hands on yourself, breathe deeply and get back to your Reiki practice.
Happy new year! How’s your year going so far?
I’m seeing more clients these past couple of weeks wanting to reset and refocus—letting go of the past year and thinking about how they want to open up to the new year.
While of course I absolutely love seeing clients transform throughout the year, there’s something special about the energy at the beginning and ending of the year, and these are some of my favorite times to work with clients.
For Reflection & Planning
Some of you have told me you started filling out Leonie’s fabulous Create Your Shining Year workbooks and/or using the 5-Minute Journal to change negative thinking.
I recently finished Susannah Conway’s free 5-day e-course: Find Your Word of the Year (my word is SPACE and I had fun creating a Pinterest board for my word to inspire me and help me embody this energy throughout the year.
And I’m in the process of filling out Susannah’s Unraveling the Year Ahead e-book (this is shorter and less detailed than Leonie’s workbooks, but it’s free.
One of the questions in the e-book is:
What are you looking forward to in 2017?
Close your eyes and take a deep breath to settle into yourself and then spend a few minutes answering this question.
Here’s a glimpse of what I’m looking forward to:
Working and learning with clients and Reiki students; hanging out and laughing with my husband; exploring the Hudson Valley (hello Pam!); finding a new place to live; celebrating my parents’ 50th anniversary; traveling (maybe to the outer Hebrides—hello Nicola! or Iceland); going to Jacob’s Pillow and seeing dance with my in-laws; starting new creative projects—learning to paint, taking photos; reading The Artist’s Way; writing poems and sending them to journals; learning more from the immensely lovable Master Sha; deepening my meditation practice; getting together with friends more often; going to Block Island (hello Katie!) and trying janzu aqua therapy again; continuing to study and get sessions with Frans Stiene, Gary Strauss, and my beloved Pingo; reading novels; sitting on the deck; cooking more; seeing how my practice evolves; taking yoga and bar classes; AND having more fun
Any goals or projects included in what you’re looking forward to in 2017? Perhaps you think about making progress in your daily Reiki or meditation practice?
Here’s an inspiring quote:
After you have practiced for a while, you will realize that it is not possible to make rapid, extraordinary progress.
Even though you try very hard, the progress you make is always little by little. It is not like going out in a shower in which you know when you get wet. In a fog, you do not know you are getting wet. But as you keep walking, you get wet little by little.
If your mind has ideas of progress, you may say, “Oh, this pace is terrible!” But actually, it is not. When you get wet in a fog, it is very difficult to dry yourself. So there is no need to worry about progress. It is like studying a foreign language. You cannot do it all of a sudden, but by repeating it over and over, you will master it.
It’s such a good reminder for our daily Reiki or meditation practice, though it also applies to other goals or projects. Reiki teacher Frans Stiene shared this quote and it puts the idea of “progress” in perspective, doesn’t it?
Sometimes I see clients or students and they want to make dramatic, immediate changes all at once in their life (believe me, I can relate to this desire!). But often, this isn’t sustainable. Practice and repetition are essential to sustaining a shift over time.
And this is where the importance of daily Reiki self care/meditation comes in. Three minutes of practice every day will be so much more powerful over the course of a year than an intensive hour once every six months.
How can you apply this to your life? What’s the next smallest step you can take to make a sustainable change in the new year?
Here’s to connecting with you in 2017—whether it’s through a class, a session, or online. Can’t wait to hear what you’re looking forward to in the year ahead and I’m honored to support you through the process.