Countering Stress Through Grounding
This post explores the energetics of being grounded versus ungrounded, and how to encourage the former in order to cope with stress. If a tree is grounded with physical roots that run deep, the tree is strong and can weather many storms. Similarly, when a person is grounded it's easier for them to handle stress because they're in a place of strength and power.
The terms grounded and ungrounded actually describe the condition of a person's energy field. Your essence, the energy that animates you, doesn't fully extend all the way down into the body when you aren't grounded. This can happen if you aren't drawing sufficient energy into your Root Chakra. In addition, energy may be escaping out of the Crown Chakra. Being able to jump out of our bodies energetically in this way is helpful as a survival mechanism for times when we really can't handle life's circumstances such as during chaos, abuse or other trauma; pain is felt less deeply. However, sometimes we get stuck in this ungrounded energetic pattern long after the initial trigger has resolved which makes it hard to focus, cope, and get things done. When ungrounded you can feel scattered, off-balance, even tipsy, and find yourself tripping a lot. Here are a few idioms that describe a person that isn't grounded: "lights on but nobody's home", "head in the clouds", "being spaced out", and "she was beside herself". The last idiom perfectly describes a person whose energy has jumped out, making them less able to deal with whatever is happening. A person that is very grounded, on the other hand, exudes strength and calm. They are vitalized by energy and are tethered at the same time. From this place of strength a person can deal with the storm around them, such as the whirlwind of activity and emotions surrounding the holiday season.
Now let's explore ways to ground, which will help you to more effectively deal with stress.
BUT FIRST, WHAT IS A CHAKRA?
As you know, the human body isn't just made up of dense physical matter. It is animated by energy, also known as Qi or Chi in China, Ki in Japan, Prana in India and Tibet, Waken by the Lakotas, Orenda by the Iroquois, and The Holy Spirit by the Christian tradition. This energy envelops us (aura) and also fills us. There are 7 major chakras as shown in this photo, where energy enters our body. Trauma can effect the chakras and cause them to close which results in a reduction of vibrant energy in the corresponding area of the body. The first chakra, located at the bottom of the spine, is called the Root Chakra and this is the chakra that helps to ground us.
4 TIPS FOR STAYING GROUNDED
THE COLOR RED
Each chakra vibrates at a different color frequency; the root chakra's vibration correlates with the color red. So if you're trying to stay grounded bring the color red into your life through your wardrobe, art, foods, etc. and see if you can feel the difference. Wearing red footwear is especially grounding, but even wearing a red scarf will help. Eating red foods has the added benefit of bringing this vibration within your body.
THE SOUND OF "C"
Just as each chakra has a corresponding color, they also have corresponding musical vibrations or notes. The root chakra's vibration is the same as the musical note C. Playing a singing bowl or other instrument tuned to C is an effective way to encourage grounding, especially when it is played near your feet or root chakra.
A grounding visualization is a very effective way to help you sink roots and stand strong. Simply picture yourself standing in a garden barefoot. Envision in your mind's eye that there are roots growing from the bottoms of your feet down into the earth.
I created the audio clip below to help you with this visualization.
My daughter trained to be a ballet dancer in NYC for several years. During that time I had the good fortune to be backstage during several performances and was able to help ground dancers with pre-performance jitters through a simple technique. When a ballet dancer is en pointe, her energy tends to move up because her entire foot isn't touching the floor, and there is a constant upward motion as they spring onto their toes while dancing and also when they jump into the air. Pre-performance jitters (any fearful situation) can result in one's energy "escaping" out the crown chakra. To help these dancers get back into their bodies before going on stage, I would encourage them to look down at their feet and press them into the floor. This had the effect of drawing their energy downwards; it's hard to dance if you aren't in your body!
If this simple technique can work for ballet dancers it can work for you! When you are feeling off kilter and need grounding, look down at your feet and press them into the floor. You may be surprised at how effective this is.
Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong teach energy movement exercises that are also very grounding.
I'll leave you with one last thought. When you are connected to Father Sky (through your Crown Chakra) you are connected to your hopes and dreams, and the path you are meant to walk. However, you also need to be connected to Mother Earth (through your Root Chakra) so you can bring those hopes, dreams, and path into fruition. Otherwise, your dreams will stay up in the ethers and will have a hard time solidifying into action and matter.