Getting Grounded

By Alana Simler

Twice in one week recently I had clients ask me the question, “What does it mean to be grounded, and how do I ground myself?”  They asked this question with that air of mystery as if getting grounded is a magical journey to conquer in the step toward enlightenment.

I get it though; it brought me back to being in massage therapy school and the instructors would always say to make sure you are grounded before you start working on someone.  Back then I kind of felt the same way about that thought as my clients seemed to asking their question.  Being young and going with the flow, I just muddled my way through hoping that I’d figure it out along the way.

Luckily, one of my instructors was unassuming and took the time to run us through some exercises to help explain grounding and how not being grounded can show in your work and your life interactions.  To help explain the effects of not being grounded she had us partner up.  One of the partners closed their eyes and the instructor wrote a feeling/emotion on the board.  Then the partner with their eyes open would massage the hand of their closed eye partner while thinking of this emotion and a time in their life when they felt this emotion.  The emotion/feeling was guessed after a brief time and it was quite impressive how accurate the feeling was transmitted without words or even facial cues.

She then guided us through a grounding technique and had us once again massage our partner’s hand with the intent solely to concentrate on their hand.   As you might guess, the massage was very focused and deliberate according to the needs of the tissue. This exercise clearly demonstrated the energy transference of where our state of mind is and how that translated across to someone else without words.  It made a mark on me and it is something I still think about to this day while I’m working.  I certainly wouldn’t want to transfer any of my crazy wandering mind over to my clients!

What I have come to learn about being grounded versus being ungrounded in my general daily life translates to something like this:

  • Ungrounded – a wandering mind/daydreaming, finding it hard to concentrate or stay focused, being forgetful and not able to listen and retain conversations very well.
  • Grounded – being fully attentive to the task at hand, feeling in control of my emotions and thoughts, having clarity of mind and intentional actions.

There are many ways to ground yourself and lots of takes on grounding exercises, but I like to scrub away the flare and get down to the nitty gritty of what I’m trying to accomplish.  Being grounded is really about pulling all of your energy and spirit back into your emotional and physical being.  To achieve this I follow these steps…

Simple Grounding Exercise: 

  1. Close your eyes and start taking some deep belly breaths. Feel the air as it enters your lungs and expands your belly and chest.  Continue to breathe deeply throughout this exercise.
  2. Visualize all your thoughts, energy and parts of yourself as a light that you can see. You might see some of this light off in a random thought, surrounding a project you’re working on, being carried by a loved one or wherever we might leave a bit of ourselves.  We seem spread thin with our busy lives.
  3. Gather up and call all that light back to your present self. Fill yourself with energy and presence.
  4. Now physically feel your feet on the ground. Feel them planted on the earth and rooting you to something solid.  Bring your thoughts to the task you are about to begin.
  5. Open your eyes and feel confidence and gratitude for the focus that fills your being.

This exercise can be done very quickly and as often as you need.  It can help you refocus for different parts of your day.  In fact, I’m realizing that I could use a little more grounding throughout parts of my day.  I definitely do a better job and get more accomplished if I take time to ground myself and give full attention to each task instead of constantly thinking about what else I need to get done.  Believe me, it is hard not to keep thinking of all the things I need to get done.

We all wear many hats – mom/dad, owner/employee, friend, home remodeler (yep, that’s me right now), athlete and a million other hats we put on throughout the day.  In order to get full enjoyment and benefit from each role, I suggest taking a moment to get grounded and be thankful for the true reason behind each of those tasks.  This just might help your life feel truly fulfilled and genuine.