Being Barefoot and Cognitive Health
Going barefoot has many benefits for physical and mental health. In particular, barefoot contact with the ground (in a safe and clean environment) may even be beneficial in helping someone combat anxiety. This practice, called grounding, allows a person to think about the textures of the ground they are experiencing as they move their feet along the ground and think about the present moment. In this blog post, we discuss why you may want to think about going barefoot in your backyard or at the beach this summer.
What is Grounding?
Grounding is a meditative practice that allows one to make contact with the ground around them and connect with nature. Connecting with nature has many health benefits; in particular, it is effective in helping ease anxiety and restlessness. By practicing grounding, one can make a connection with nature in a space of one choosing, such as in a backyard or on the beach.
How do I Practice Grounding?
While practicing grounding, take slow and deep breaths, listen to the sounds around you and think about the different textures that you experience as you move your feet along the ground. If you feel restless, try bringing a squishy ball to squeeze, which may help focus on the present moment while moving your hands.
What are the Cognitive Benefits of Grounding?
Many people experience restlessness, anxiety, and stress during their day. These underlying stressors can negatively impact someone’s ability to focus and remember. In our modern society, we do not have time to disconnect from the amount of stimuli thrown at us daily. This overstimulation can cause our brains to expend excessive energy and fatigue out. Grounding allows a person to decompress and reduce their stimuli intake to focus on the sensory details of the present moment. This break from a chaotic world may help a person feel more relaxed and concentrate on the tasks at hand during their day. It has the same cognitive benefits as mediation. By decreasing stimuli, it may be the pause your brain needs to have a better night’s rest, focus better, or have overall better cognition.
This summer, you may want to try to go barefoot in your backyard or at the beach to connect with nature and practice mindfulness through grounding. Grounding may help ease anxiety and the experience of stress by having you focus on the experience of the present moment. Connecting with nature has shown to be effective in improving psychological well-being, so much that people make it a point to bathe in a forest when they can. Try practicing grounding for a few moments each day to reap some mental health benefits for free.