By Guest Blogger Courtney Fleet
When one season ends and another begins, it can be hard to find your footing. Maybe you had big goals for last year that you didn’t quite meet. Maybe this year’s resolutions already feel heavy. I find that the best way to combat these feelings is to participate in an activity that grounds me. A grounding activity is one that allows you to clear your mind, deepen your breath, move your muscles, and ease your soul.
For my family and me, the activity that grounds us is being out in nature. Something as simple as picnicking in the backyard, riding our bikes through the neighborhood, playing in the woods, walking along a river, or even up a mountain trail, is exactly what our bodies need to reset.
The physical limits between the four walls of your home can feel cramped and noisy — and the mess of daily life can be overwhelming. The literal need to bounce off walls is removed when there are no walls. When everyone is outside, energy is expended, minds are clear, and moods are vastly improved.
As we all know, the time and energy required to get everyone dressed and out the door can feel daunting, but the benefits of being outside far outweigh the effort. These benefits include improving your physical, mental, and emotional health. Outdoor activities can improve immune health by breathing fresh air, elevate happiness by increasing serotonin levels, improve sleep by regulating circadian rhythms, as well as decrease stress levels and relieve brains from the constant stimuli of screens. It can also create opportunities for social engagement through sport or meet-up groups.
I grew up playing in the creeks and forest behind my house. I can vividly recall how calm I felt listening to the trickle of the water, how safe I felt within the canopy of the forest, or how mighty I felt balancing on the high branches of the trees.
These memories are at the core of my being; they are a part of me and make me who I am. It is why nature is so calming for me. It reminds me of a slower time when screens and responsibilities didn’t occupy my mind and control my day. Nature is a place where I can immediately disconnect, relax, and recharge.
Nature Grounds Us
The activity of grounding yourself removes the distractions that can cause stress and allows you to be fully present in the moment. It promotes self-awareness and connections with your immediate surroundings, and if you soak in the environment with all five senses, it can be a full body experience.
For example, when you’re in nature, you can:
- LISTEN to the sounds of the birds, the crunch of your feet against the ground, or the water as it trickles over river rocks
- FEEL the breeze in your hair or the sun against your skin
- SMELL the blossoming flowers or budding trees
- TASTE your favorite snack and savor the flavor of it
- SEE and appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature all around you .
Take the time to find what grounding activity is most beneficial for you. Go for a walk, take deep breaths, journal, sing, dance, move – whatever it may be, give it a try. Bring your family along and consider doing it outside. You just might enjoy it more than you realize.