Scroll down for a transcription of this episode.
Research shows feeling connected with nature can lower our stress response. This visualization meditation can help you feel at ease, no matter where you are.
Link to episode transcript: http://tinyurl.com/2k6pdh7n
How to Do This Practice:
It is encouraged to try this practice outdoors
Today’s Happiness Break host:
- Begin the practice by focusing on your breath, and relaxing your body, noticing how it feels supported, particularly by the earth.
- Allow yourself to let go of anything you are mentally or emotionally carrying, visualizing it going into the earth, letting the ground continue to support you.
- Draw on imagery from nature to cultivate feelings of strength and sturdiness to support you. For example, imagine that your own body is rooting into the earth to become as unshakable as a tree, imagine that you are as steady as a mountain, your breath is the breeze and your mind is as open and boundless as the sky.
- End the practice by placing your hand on your heart, offering yourself kindness, well-being and joy.
Spring Washam is an author and meditation teacher based in Oakland, California.
Learn more about Spring’s work: http://tinyurl.com/3bbshnn7
Read Spring’s books here: http://tinyurl.com/4hkft4js
More resources from The Greater Good Science Center:
Happiness Break: What To Do When You’re Struggling, With Spring Washam: http://tinyurl.com/mrx8t9st
What Happens When We Reconnect With Nature: http://tinyurl.com/553xwm47
Why Is Nature So Good for Your Mental Health? http://tinyurl.com/ycx9ns4p
How Nature Helps Us Heal: http://tinyurl.com/2p93682j
Why You Need More Nature in Your Life: http://tinyurl.com/28z27wb2
We love hearing from you! How do you connect with nature? Email us at email@example.com or use the hashtag #happinesspod.
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We’re living through a mental health crisis. Between the stress, anxiety, depression, loneliness, burnout — we all could use a break to feel better. That’s where Happiness Break comes in. In each biweekly podcast episode, instructors guide you through research-backed practices and meditations that you can do in real-time. These relaxing and uplifting practices have been shown in a lab to help you cultivate calm, compassion, connection, mindfulness, and more — what the latest science says will directly support your well-being. All in less than ten minutes. A little break in your day.
Dacher Keltner: This is Happiness Break, where in the span of just a few minutes, we try practices shown to help us find tranquility, work towards deeper connections with others – and the world around us – and soothe anxiety.
I’m Dacher Keltner. Welcome!
This week we’re doing a grounding meditation to help us get inspired by the qualities of the natural world around us.
We know from the literature that when we feel more connected with nature, it lowers our cortisol levels and elevates vagal tone, which calms our nervous systems.
I really encourage you to try this practice somewhere outdoors if you can. But you can do this practice anywhere, including indoors.
We’ll be guided today by Spring Washam, a meditation teacher and author of the book, The Spirit of Harriet Tubman: Awakening from the Underground.
When you’re ready, here’s Spring.
Spring Washam: So as you begin to feel yourself sitting, and I always like to just begin with anchoring our attention to the breath as we come into the present moment, we use the breath as our guiding force. This is the anchor for our awareness. It’s inhale, rising. And then the exhale, falling. And now get a sense of feeling where you are sitting or standing. And feel how this element is holding you up, you are being supported in every moment.
Just relax your body, your whole posture, what we’re doing when we’re grounding is we’re allowing the earth element to support us.
This sense of grounding and the practice of grounding is also really about connecting to the earth.
As you sit and you breathe, let go of anything that you’re carrying. We give it to the earth. We allow the energy of the ground to hold everything. It’s almost like we allow our self to dissolve, allow the energy of this ground to hold you up.
The more we come back into our body, the more we feel this groundedness. Feel the earth body beneath you.
The earth is strong. It’s steady, it’s rooted.
When I think of the practice of grounding, I always imagine that I’m a tree. That my energy is like a tree with the roots going all the way down to the center of the earth, right? When we look at some of these beautiful trees, we see their roots go out deep into the earth.
We wanna imagine that our own body, is rooting down, is rooting in a way that is unmovable. We become unshakeable when we’re grounded. Life can’t push us over in the same way.
And as you breathe in and as you breathe out, let go and offer everything that you’re holding to the earth. The distracted mind, the anxiety, the fear, the restlessness.
Imagine that it’s just dissolving, and let your body be like a great mountain now.
And the breath is the breeze.
And the mind is the sky.
Feeling the presence of the earth element and the groundedness.
And with each breath let go.
Rooting, connecting, like the chunk of a tree. That our legs are rooting down into the earth and the branches are, it’s our upper body. So let your body, the upper body, reach to the sky, the branches of the tree reaching up toward the sky. The sun and the trunk is the lower part of your body and you’re rooting it down.
And as we close this meditation, I always like to end with placing my hand on my heart and just offering some kindness, the sense of wellbeing, joy. May this body be happy and peaceful.
These are wonderful tools and wonderful visualizations that you can practice at any time. You can take a moment when you’re overwhelmed, when there’s stress, and just become like the earth, become like the great mountain. I hope this practice was helpful for you. Thank you.