Meet therapist, coach and founder of Fundamental Health Lindsey Paoli, MFT-Intern.
As the founder of Fundamental Health, I strive to help people see how simple daily activities can have an impactful and preventative effect on mental health. While I believe daily practice of the MIND Fundamentals (Movement, Intention, Nourishment and Deep Connection) to be the absolute minimum requirement for mental maintenance, there are myriad other ways to hone in on your body’s ability to calm and regulate your mood, energy and thoughts.
Grounding is a highly effective, evidence-based treatment for helping symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD and even sleep disturbance, and there are many different ways to create this effect. My favorite, and one of the easiest, I think, is Earthing.
What is Earthing?
Earthing is very simple: You merely create contact with the earth. Yep, it sounds a little woo-woo and a lot crunchy, but its effects have been documented as being beneficial. However, the research still tends to come from smaller studies relying on subjective measures such as self-reporting. There are endless ways to practice Earthing. You can walk barefoot or lay directly on grass or dirt. You can simply lean up against a tree. Or if you have a natural source of water nearby, you can submerge or wade barefoot through it.
The only key requirement is to ensure that your skin is in direct contact with the natural source of your choosing. If you want to double up on the benefits of grounding while Earthing, disconnect from any technology and focus on being present. Pay close attention to what you can hear, see and feel in your natural surroundings, and then notice the calming effects that your body can begin to experience almost immediately.
Why Does Something so Simple Benefit Your Mental Health?
I think part of it is my theory that our mental health is suffering the more detached we become from the simplicities that human existence are supposed to entail—such as simply being connected to nature. But research also shows that exchanging ions with the earth helps our body to heal faster, decrease fatigue and chronic pain, improve sleep and reduce blood pressure—all of which certainly have an impact on mental functioning.
Earthing has also been shown to decrease inflammation in the body. This is important because many studies are now beginning to correlate high inflammation with an increase in symptoms and severity of depression.
So take off your shoes and head for a walk around the yard, and don’t forget to leave your phone inside! Feel free to run your fingers through your desert landscaping, and when your neighbors ask if you’re OK, let them know you’re just connecting with the Earth to boost your mood. Heck, go ahead and invite them to join you, and get today’s Deep Connections out of the way.
Read: Learn to Embrace Movement, Intention, Nourishment and Deep Connections