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7 Easy Ways to Ground Yourself

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Spring is in the air.

With the influx of warm, gorgeous weather, it’s natural to be really giddy. It’s easy to get engulfed by the fair weather frenzy and feel utterly ungrounded.

In addition to the shift of seasons, there was a full moon and a powerful solar flare this week as well; both of which are known for their mysterious and peculiar influences on human consciousness.

Side note: Without going off on a big tangent, just know that we’re essentially blind to the spectrum of forces that are affecting us. What we perceive and measure is based upon the observation of three-dimensional reality with our five (quite limited) senses. We process an infinitesimally small sliver of “reality” through these human mind-body computers. Everything is fundamentally an interaction of energy, frequency and vibration (ourselves included). But it really comes down to this… Be aware of your state of being and act out of that place of awareness. That’s what this article is all about.

Now back to the topic at hand…

Being grounded is one of those terms that is tossed around a lot in so-called “spiritual” circles. And everyone has a slightly different definition for it. To me, being grounded means having full-body awareness (not being too “in your head” or “woo woo” or “floating in the clouds”) and being connected with nature.

If you’re still a little unsure of what I’m talking about, here are some signs of being ungrounded:
You feel spacey or even a little dizzy.
You find it hard to finish tasks.
You can’t concentrate.
You find it hard to make yourself understood.
You find it hard to understand others.
You get distracted or your mind wanders.
You lose track of time.
(source)

Everyone has experienced at least some of those symptoms from time-to-time. Here’s what to do about it…

“I tell them there’s no problem, only solutions.” – John Lennon

The Solution (7 Easy Ways to Ground Yourself)

1. Spend some time barefoot on the Earth – Even if you can’t get out in nature, just walking barefoot on a patch of grass will do the trick. It sounds so simple, but it’s incredibly effective and feels amazing. Watch the documentary Grounded for an in depth look at this.

2. Deep breathing – When isn’t this a solution?

3. Working out (resistance training) – Leg workouts are especially grounding. This “grounds” you both into your body and the Earth.

4. Turn off the technology – Too much tech will throw your hormones out of whack, make you dazed, robotic and too “in your head.” Take periodic breaks from technology and connect with your inner self and mother nature.

5. Eat grounding food – Anything with roots and anything that resonates with the root chakra is grounding. These include root vegetables, animal proteins (preferably grass-fed and organic) and red-colored foods. Minerals help with grounding as well (so don’t shy away from sprinkling some Himalayan pink salt on everythang). Also, make sure you’re eating enough food, as caloric restriction is ungrounding.

6. Watch the sunrise or sunset – The awe, the wonder, the captivating beauty. Something about the times of dawn and dusk are simply magical. And watching the sunrise or sunset will sync you up with the natural cycles of the Earth.

7. Go hiking – Getting out in nature is the absolute best thing you can do to ground yourself. Do not underestimate how powerful this is for your overall well-being.

My Personal Experience

Earlier this week, I found myself unable to concentrate or focus on anything. I noticed it on Monday, but on Tuesday there was no getting around it. I had the attention span of a goldfish. I couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t concentrate on the simplest of tasks at work. And the act of writing seemed as insurmountable as catching Mewtwo with a regular pokeball. It was frustrating, to say the least.

However, I’ve recently come to the realization that it’s useless to resist the flow of life and try to swim upstream. I’ve learned that everything works out when I sail with the currents of life, not against them.

When you can’t change the direction of the wind — adjust your sails” – H. Jackson Brown

So I decided to lean into the natural cycles and embrace my need for groundedness, as opposed to forcing myself to focus on digits on a computer screen.

What I did to reverse feeling ungrounded within 24 hours of noticing it:
1. I gave up on trying to accomplish anything. I acknowledged my state of being without resisting it.
2. I worked out (heavy deadlifts have quite the grounding effect).
3. I went on a sunset hike in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with good company (see the picture below).
4. After the hike, I ate… A lot. (Hooray for Carb Backloading)

Then before I knew it, I found myself more productive at work and effortlessly writing this post. No rigid forcefulness required.

Grow powerful wings to fly. But also grow powerful talons for when you need to perch upon the Earth.

Be as liberated and limitless as a mythical dragon, yet as deeply rooted as a mighty tree.

Stay free. Stay balanced. Stay rooted.

Keep feelin’ good, feelin’ great.

– Stevie P!

Sunset me

 

What You’re Completely Overlooking During Your Workout

So I was in the gym in my apartment building the other day. I warmed up on the yoga mat, then made my way to the dumbbells. But before I even picked up a weight, I noticed this guy… Painfully skinny, shrugging spastically jerking dumbbells with reckless abandon. Dropping the weights (like it’s hawwwt) and panting like housecat on crack, he picked up some lighter weights. Wise choice, I though to myself. But nah, he took two steps back and started swinging them up to his shoulders as fast as his little arms could move. An his head was turning from side to side the whole set. After this, he “rested” with some intense pacing around the gym like he forgot his keys or something. At this point I was done observing. I couldn’t watch anymore. I had to get in the zone and begin my workout. And luckily, Mr. Fant-spastic’s blind intensity reminded me of the most important factor when working out…

…Awareness.

mark your calendars

a·ware·ness [uh-wair-nis] – noun – the state or condition of being aware; having knowledge; consciousness.

Awareness of what you’re doing right now. The present moment. Awareness of the movement you’re performing. The correct form. Your breathe. Your body’s positioning. Your grip. Where you’re looking. Just being conscious of what your body’s doing.

Awareness (during workouts) creates focus and strengthens the mind-body connection (or as it applies to working out, the mind-muscle connection).

Focus on the task at hand. Focus on the muscles that need to be activated to execute the movement. Focus on producing tension.

The mind-muscle connection aligns the mind and body towards the same goal. It is shifting your awareness and focus to the muscles required to perform a movement. It’s basically living vicariously through your muscles.

Most people’s minds and bodies are doing completely different things while they’re working out. Their bodies are performing a movement, but their minds are elsewhere. They’re thinking about how they look in the mirror, what the person next to them thinks of them, what they’re going to have for dinner, the next exercise, whether Charmeleon evolves into Charizard at level 32 or 36 (it’s 36 btw), blah blah blah. Caught in an endless loop of mind chatter. They ruminate over everything but neglect the only true reality; the task at hand (the now).

They have no directed focus. Their attention is drawn to everything outside of themselves. Instead of focusing on the environment we have control over, they focus on the external. Their mind is elsewhere, and it’s obvious. Obvious in their frantic aura, unfocused eyes, and the structural integrity of their body. Don’t be one of these people.

If we can’t be aware of our own bodies and minds, then what can we really be aware of?

If we can’t focus on the movement of our bodies, then what can we really focus on?

If we can’t give full attention to the only thing we have complete control over, then what can we really give our full attention to?

You can just tell when someone is in the zone. They’re unconcerned with what’s going on around them. Completely focused. In a meditative dance with their body. Their awareness is where it needs to be in order to produce the desired results. And more often than not, their mental and physical states will reflect this.

When we harness awareness of the body and mind, it becomes a hinge. A hinge we can leverage to create success in every other aspect of life.

Awareness applies to anything and everything.

Now here’s the purely physical aspect of it all. That guy I saw in the gym doesn’t look how he wants to look. This was practically radiating out of him. He wants to be muscular. He wants to feel powerful. But he’s skinny, not muscular, and not even particularly lean. And that’s not me judging, it’s just an assessment of how it is.

Everyone deserves a body they can be proud of. A body they can be comfortable in. A body that enhances their experiences.

So where to start?

Workout Awareness 101:

Tell yourself that this workout will be some “alone time.” How you view your workouts is the most important factor in determining how aware you’ll be. Just you, your body, your mind, and whatever you have to do to get from point A to point B. You didn’t come to show off. You didn’t come to make friends. You didn’t come to impress anyone. You came to build a stronger version of yourself.

Learn correct form (and perfect it with practice). This should be obvious. But at least educate yourself a little bit on how to do something before you hurt yourself flailing around like a rabid monkey.

Visualize the exercise. Visualize the action, then actualize the vision. Throughout the day, and right before you perform an exercise, visualize yourself executing it perfectly. Visualization creates a desired outcome in your mind, and acts as practice for you to successfully make it a reality. It sets you up for success. All successful people do this. And you should too.

Touch/poke the muscles you need to activate. Seriously, this works. Touch the muscles you want to activate before your set, and you’ll have an easier time establishing the mind-muscle connection. I literally couldn’t activate my lats while doing pullups until I started doing this.

Focus on the muscles you’re going to use. Nothing else. No distractions or mental roaming.

Use a slower tempo than normal (you can increase the tempo once you get better at it) and squeeze the working muscles as hard as you can.

Breath deep. As Elliott Hulse says, “Breath into your balls.” The importance of breathing cannot be stressed enough. Deep breathing stills the mind and creates awareness. This is why deep breathing has played a big part of Eastern philosophy. Breathing also allows you to maximize the force your body produces (that’s next).

Inhale during the eccentric part. Exhale during the concentric part. Think of inhaling as drawing force into your body, and think of exhaling as exerting force out of your body. So  during a pushup, you would inhale as you’re going down (visualize bringing energy into the body) and exhale as you push yourself up (visualize that energy exploding out).

Make everything count. You will only have this moment once. Half-concentrating is doing yourself a great injustice. It’s conditioning both your mind and body to be weak and complacent. Take advantage of the now, because that’s all we ever have.

Potential side-effects of awareness as it applies to working out:

Laser-like focus and mind-muscle connection (see above).

Presence. This is what a lot of spiritual teachings stress. The present is all that exists. The past and future only exist in the mind. Being present puts you at ease and makes life more fulfilling. And like anything, you become better and better at being present with practice.

Meditation. Working out becomes a meditative practice. So you kill two birds with one stone. You get all the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits while being  _________________.

Body awareness. Posture, alignment, bodily tension, how you move, coordination, less risk of injury…etc.

Increased muscle activation and tension produced. You activate more muscle fibers and contract them harder. This means more strength, improved athletic performance, and more muscle growth.

Stronger mind-body relationship. Aligns the mind and body towards the same goals. You become more conscious of your body, and more in tuned with it. You’ll recognize things like how your body reacts to certain foods, situations where you tense up, your posture at work…etc.

Concentration. Working out with awareness is practice for concentration. We live in a world of multi-tasking and 24/7 distraction. Anything which allows you to completely focus will greatly hone your concentration ability.

Consistently hone your workout awareness and you’ll have the focus of a Tibetan monk with the strength of an Abdominal Swoleman.

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Some more good stuff:

Check out this great article entitled “The Zen of the Barbell.”

And here’s the ol’ Hodgetwins on mind-muscle connection.