When was the last time you touched a tree, smelled a beautiful flower, or rubbed your bare feet in the grass, dirt, or sand?
The answer may surprise you when you take a moment to reflect on that question.
Due to daily responsibilities like work and school, we typically spend an average of 90% of our time indoors surrounded by concrete walls, carpet floors, and fluorescent lighting (yuck). But being indoors for long periods of time is not within our natural state of being and can actually cause negative effects to our mental health, such as increases in anxiety, depression, restlessness, loneliness, and sleep issues. So in honor of Earth Day, I want to talk about the beautiful gifts the earth has to offer us through activities like grounding, earthing, and mindfulness, aka, your GEM vitamins!
Grounding is simple, free, and accessible to all, and the good news is that you can do it anywhere. You can invite grounding into your body whether or not you are stuck inside or outside in nature. Grounding, in this sense, is inviting the opportunity to connect your body to the ground beneath you and to notice the support the earth provides your body in that moment. This is especially helpful if you are feeling disconnected from yourself and need to bring in stability and connection.
Here are a couple ways to invite grounding into your day:
• While sitting or standing, gently sway side to side and notice the shift in weight where your body is in direct contact with the ground below you
• While sitting, push your heels into the floor/ground to increase awareness of the physical connection between you and the earth beneath you
Earthing is simple, free, and accessible to those who are able to be in direct contact with nature. When you are earthing, you are inviting the opportunity to be in direct contact with the earth itself, skin to ground.
The concept of earthing even has its own Earthing Institute dedicated to researching the benefits of such activities. Some benefits of earthing include stress relief, pain reduction, and better sleep.
Here are a couple ways to invite earthing into your day:
• Take off your shoes and socks and rub/walk your bare feet on the ground (grass, sand, dirt, etc.)
• Lay down on the ground and breathe
• With bare hands, touch dirt while potting plants or just for fun!
Mindfulness is free and accessible to anyone who is curious about paying attention to the present moment.
You’ve probably heard the term ‘mindfulness’ being used a lot lately, and yet you still might be confused on the meaning.
The simplest definition of mindfulness is being present in the moment with non judgement, which is easier said than done, but with practice can get stronger every day.
Mindfulness has been proven to help reduce anxiety, depression, and stress, and increase focus, cognitive flexibility, and working memory.
Here are a couple ways to invite mindfulness into your day using nature:
• Look up to the sky and notice the colors and shapes of the clouds
• Feel the wind and temperature of the air on your skin
• Listen to the birds chirp and the leaves blowing in the trees.
The good news is that all of these techniques are available to you right now.
We have the power to invite these opportunities of connecting with ourselves and nature anytime we want to.
If you’ve got 5 minutes to pause, breathe, and be outside, then take it.
Notice when you are choosing to look at your phone instead of look out a window.
Notice when you are choosing to get lost in worries instead of feeling your feet on the ground.
Notice when you are sitting on the couch watching Netflix instead of being outside breathing fresh air and feeling the sun on your skin.
When we start to see the opportunities around us, we can begin to invite more opportunities for connection and regulation.