The ongoing stress of the coronavirus pandemic has caused a substantial increase of mental health issues, according to a study released by Indiana University at Bloomington.
Self-care in the form of grounding is one method that can be used to combat the effects of this long-term anxiety and tension caused by the pandemic.
Studies are showing that grounding can have positive health effects, but critics point out a lack of hard scientific evidence. Grounding can mean the practice of putting the body in contact with the earth. In its basic form, it means putting skin to ground or another element of nature, such as water or rock. Grounding can also mean clearing the mind of negative energies, releasing tension to reestablish clarity in the mind and body.
Scientifically, grounding draws on the concept that earth has a mild negative charge and human bodies have accumulated a positive charge from electromagnetic pollution created by modern lifestyles. This pollution comes from cell phones, computers, and other electronic devices. Uninterrupted connection with earth is thought to even out this positive charge and return the body to its neutral state.
This process helps to clear the mind and restore wellness to the body.
“Now more than ever as we continue to grow through this unprecedented year together, staying grounded and clear is so important,” Certified Integrative Holistic Life Coach Candice Sturtevant said.“With the amount of information being presented to us from day to day, it is so easy to get lost in our thoughts and fears, and give power to things that aren’t even real or under our control.”
Sturtevant is the Founder/Owner of Clearly Connected, LLC, an Integrative Holistic Life Coaching, Wellness and Event Center in Whitesboro. In addition to being a Certified Integrative Holistic Life Coach she is also a Certified VXN Instructor and an Advanced Level II Reiki Practitioner.
“This has undoubtedly been a challenging time for everyone,” she said. “But what if your life included grounding time where you could be still and in appreciation of what we do have versus letting fear take the lead? Staying grounded and clear will help eliminate any of the unnecessary and additional layers of stress and suffering, bringing you to a more present, calm and clear state which will impact your overall wellness in a positive way; mind, body & spirit.”
Results from a 2019 study conducted by the Earthing Institute indicated deeper benefits of grounding and meditation practice when combined. Gaétan Chevalier, Ph.D. reported that a deeper meditation was documented by brain mapping with electroencephalographic electrodes (EEG) during the period of the meditation when participants were grounded compared to not being grounded. About half of the subjects showed evidence of improvements in brain function through brain mapping, the study said. In addition, the measurements collectively revealed signs of a healing response and detoxification occurring as a result of the grounding.
More studies are needed, but of those that have been done, all studies have presented the same result. The research suggests that grounding can decrease blood pressure, tension and stress, reduce chronic pain, speed healing time, improve the quality of sleep, reduce inflammation and promote a general overall feeling of wellness.
Beyond grounding, Sturtevant has other suggestions to promote clarity and wellness. One thing she suggests is a social media detox.
“Interestingly enough these platforms are a main source of ‘connection’ right now, but keep in mind it is also not real connection,” she said. “It’s easy to aimlessly scroll all day, potentially making you feel worse. Take a break and try something new. Get creative. Lean in and connect with yourself and others in a more real and meaningful way.”
Another method she recommends is journaling.
“We are all dealing with current events in the best way we know how,” she said. “But instead of fearing or trying to escape your innermost thoughts and feelings, whether it be about Covid19 or life in general, write it down. The things that we avoid impacts our health in a negative way. Start journaling and give yourself permission to be vulnerable and real.”
Additionally, Sturtevant points out how important it is to eat healthy foods and exercise to stay well.
“We are also home more now than we ever have been and it is so important to keep our bodies and minds clear and moving,” she said. “What you feed your body feeds your mind and vice versa. Try your best to not overindulge in processed foods, sweets or substances and choose movement; exercise that you enjoy and will stay committed to.”
Sturtevant stresses that in addition to proactive self-care, learning to accept the current reality will help reduce tension and promote wellness.
“Any time we are fighting what has happened or what is happening this will also lead to more stress and suffering in our lives,” Sturtevant said. “Although COVID-19 is a challenge and has placed restrictions on some of our external freedoms, it is our minds and stories that keep us trapped and feeling ‘unfree.”