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VERIFIED CONTENTAuthor: Dominika Wilk

Earthing is one of the therapeutic elements introduced by the psychotherapist Alexander Lowen. It is used to reduce anxiety. To reduce anxiety, you need to learn techniques that will help minimize its strength, such as the right way to breathe, the most frequent returning to the present, or just grounding. What is it?

What is anxiety and how does it manifest itself?

Anxiety is a subjective state of fear that is not directed at a specific situation or object. When we feel fear, we are usually afraid of something "tangible", such as failing an exam, receiving bad test results, etc. When dealing with anxiety, it is usually difficult to determine what we are afraid of. It is a fear of something that we cannot specify, for example that "something bad will happen".

Of course, anxiety may also be related to a specific situation that is to happen in the future and arouses anxiety in us, however, this emotion is disproportionate to the actual event, e.g. we have a panic attack due to a visit to the dentist or a serious one awaits us a conversation with the boss and we imagine that it will be very negative for us, which causes e.g. automatic sweating.

Anxiety is very often accompanied by somatic symptoms such as:

  • accelerated heartbeat,
  • excessive sweating,
  • strong muscle tension,
  • stomach ache,
  • nausea.

Besides, it manifests itself in the behavioral sphere - then we are paralyzed with fear, unable to act, we cannot cope with simple situations. Taking into account the question of the psyche: fear can flood us with a wave of great anxiety, lead to feelings of alienation from ourselves, and at times give the impression that we are going insane.

Anxiety can also lead to panic attacks. If this happens, then we have at least four of the following symptoms:

  • shallower breathing,
  • trembling or shaking,
  • excessive sweating,
  • choking feeling,
  • accelerated heartbeat,
  • palpitations,
  • sudden flashes of cold or hot,
  • nausea or discomfort sincesides of the stomach,
  • dizziness,
  • sense of imbalance,
  • sense of separation from oneself, alienation from oneself,
  • fear of going insane,
  • fear of death.

Grounding - what is it?

Grounding is a way of restoring consciousness to the body, when, for example, due to fear, we lose contact with reality. When we are afraid, fear obscures our rational thinking, and we cut ourselves off from the body, from the signals that come from it.

Reversing this situation - that is, returning to the body, to feeling, is able to reduce the anxiety and allows us to see that the threat we were afraid of does not apply to the present moment. Here and now we are safe, and the guarantor of our safety and inner peace is the body, which stabilized, with a steady breath, can calm down troubled thoughts.

The concept of grounding is derived from a bioenergy analysis created by a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, Alexander Lowen, who, through working with the body, helped patients release suppressed emotions and work them later on psychotherapy. Lowen also restored awareness of the body (if someone "froze it", e.g. as a result of sexual or other violence), and also helped to achieve internal balance through grounding, i.e. an energetic connection with the ground.

The concept of grounding was explained by Lowen using an analogy to an energy circuit, which is easy to overload when unearthed by a stronger energy charge, and thus more susceptible to burning. The same happens with a man who, ungrounded, absorbed by an excess of feelings and emotions, can break under the pressure of their strength, and his psyche and body will suffer a lot because of it.

The author of the bioenergy analysis emphasizes that a grounded individual will endure much more than a person who is unstable to emotions, because being grounded means connecting with your body, with your own sexuality and with other people.

Earthing - what is it?

Aleksander Lowen worked with the body, so the method of grounding that he proposed to his patients was associated with carefully selected physical exercises arranged in a specific sequence.

Grounding itself, according to bioenergy analysis, is to concentrate during exercise on communication with the ground, the ground, which contact is possible through the legs and feet (during Lowen's workshops, you practice barefoot).

The person participating in the session must feel the energy flowing from their body flowing down to the feet and finally to the ground on which they are standing to feel how strong they are.the roots with which the earth holds her whole body and with this surge of new energy feel how the great force flowing from this grounding comes back through her legs up her body, restoring vitality to the whole body.

Earthing - example exercises

Grounding by slope

One of the basic exercises for grounding is the "bend" position. However, this is not the usual inclination we remember from PE lessons. Before doing it, first try to feel our feet and the whole body.

To do this, take a tennis ball or another, small but hard ball, which you roll slowly with your feet to regain feeling in them. Then we restore awareness of our legs and the whole body. So we can start, for example, gently pat our body, starting from the calves, thighs, hips, abdomen, chest, through the back, hands and head. We should sigh loudly to regain our breath awareness. In this way, we revive the whole body.

Once you feel every part of your body, place your feet hip-width apart, bend your knees slightly and slowly bend forward, trying (but not required) to touch the ground with your toes. This exercise differs from the usual inclination in that we do not tense the spine or the muscles of the neck or nape. We try to let go of our head and hands as loosely as possible. Our legs are there to hold us - just as strong roots hold a tree.

We can finally give the burden of thinking about our earth's safety to something larger that holds us and will not allow us to annihilate us. It is a rest for the head and a moment of feeling the strength of the legs.

During such a bend, which lasts even a few minutes, we can sway a little and there is nothing wrong with that. Let's be flexible, let our knees hold the weight of the rest of the body. After performing the exercises that are worth repeating several times in one session, gently lift the vertebrae by the vertebrae. We sigh loudly at the end.

Chair exercise

Let's sit on the chair. Let us feel our body thoroughly, especially the feet resting on the floor. They will help us to complete the exercise in a moment. Now let's get up from the chair, not leaning on the furniture, but using the foot pads that will support the weight of the body.

We'll do this by pressing our feet firmly to the floor and pushing ourselves upward hard. Thanks to this exercise, we will feel the strength of our legs, which will carry us wherever we want, and which will bear whatever we carry within ourselves.

Grounding the head

When intrusive thoughts keep us awake, when an excess of stress and duties overload our heads, we may feel that we will not be able to cope withthere is too much of everything around us, and we are overloaded with what the world and life bring to you. Then the exercises to relieve the head and take care of it are salutary.

One of them is to keep your head in your own embrace. As trivial as it may seem, placing one hand on your forehead and the other on your back, on the back of the head, which reproduces the gesture of another person holding your head, allows your thoughts to let go.

Suddenly we feel safe, we don't have the feeling that we have to control everything or something bad will happen. A tender gesture towards ourselves frees us from the obligation of constant vigilance. The head feels like it is being held, so all the tension can drain off of it, and it can stop carrying so much weight, which allows the rest of the body to relax and, for example, to sleep better (if we are doing the exercise in the evening).

The second head relieving exercise is keeping the head "in a basket". We can do this exercise by doing a Japanese sit down or by assuming any sitting position in which we can lower our head to the ground.

Then we clasp our hands in front of us in a basket and put our head into this intertwining. At the same time, we check by asking ourselves whether we are able to give our hands the weight of what is in our head, whether our head feels safe in our embrace.

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