In honor of Earth Day this April, I’m writing a 5 part series to encourage you to get outside and get grounded — it’s easiest and most uplifting makeover you can do for yourself this spring… one that supports the function of every organ system in your body.
A spring grounding plan has the power to transform your life in just a few short weeks… you will see and feel the difference.
Here are the next 5 blog posts to help encourage you:
- A new study that helps explain why grounding boosts your mood
- My top 10 indoor activities to take outside this spring
- Holistic sun protection: tips to know before going outside
- Replacing minerals and avoiding dehydration as the temperatures rise outside
- Holistic skin care support: protecting against bug bites, ticks, treating athletes foot & more!
So today is the first one… and it’s an exciting one:
Why grounding boosts your mood!
We’ve know for a long time (and honestly common sense and personal experience tells you this as well) that time spent outside lifts your spirits.
In fact a double blind medical study published in 2015 found that participants who were grounded had measurable improvements in mood that were significantly higher than the sham-grounded participants.
We also know that inflammation in the body worsens mood and even plays a role in clinical depression. A medical study published in 2016 found that increased inflammation in the body worsens symptoms of clinical depression, and this one published in 2019 backs those findings up.
Researchers found that higher levels of blood markers of inflammation were found to be directly correlated with a variety of depressive symptoms, including sleep difficulty, decreased energy levels, decreased motivation and increased or decreased appetite.
- Researchers looked at data on C-reactive protein levels (a blood marker of whole body inflammation) in over 15,000 patients.
- Higher levels of inflammation were directly correlated with higher levels of depressive symptoms, and the correlation was dose dependent… meaning the higher the C-reactive protein (CRP) levels, the worse the symptoms got.
- Sleep problems, exhaustion and changes in appetite were all significantly increased with increasing CRP levels.
- Lack of energy was particularly correlated by high inflammatory marker levels.
- Inflammation was also found to contribute to cognitive changes such as loss of pleasure in activities previously found pleasurable (anhedonia), depressed mood, lowered feelings of self worth, decreased ability to concentrate, and even suicidal thoughts.
It gets better though, because the connection between mood and inflammation gives us a pathway to help treat it — if you decrease inflammation do you boost your mood?
Well yep, we know that is true as well.
This study, published in 2014, found that if you decrease inflammation, you can actually help more effectively treat depression. Researchers reviewed 14 randomized, placebo-controlled studies looking at over 6,300 patients and found that adding anti-inflammatory medications to a treatment plan helped to lessen depressive symptoms and resolve depressive episodes better than placebo alone and better than anti-depressants alone. This study, published in 2016, further confirmed these results.
The link between depression and inflammation is so concrete now that I feel no one should be treated for depression without also treating the body for inflammation. Physicians should incorporate a medical evaluation for inflammation alongside any work up for depression, because inflammation from stress, poor sleep, infection, illness, diet, EMF exposures, total body burden of toxic exposures, etc… can all cause inflammation that contributes to depression.
By addressing inflammation along with depression you actually can help resolve depression more effectively.
So while we absolutely know that inflammation impacts mood, what we didn’t know before now is how.
Of course there are likely other factors at play, but one of the pathways a new study suggests is that inflammation lowers dopamine levels in the brain, which is responsible for decreased mood, decreased motivation, and anhedonia.
In this study, published May 2020 in Trends in Cognitive Sciences, researchers found a direct correlation between blood markers of inflammation (inflammatory cytokines) and motivation. Specifically, that inflammation lowers dopamine levels in the brain, that switches the brain from positive to negative thinking.
As dopamine drops, you can go from feeling capable and motivated to feeling incapable and unmotivated.
Basically, inflammation gives you a motivational impairment, and prevents you from thinking optimistically as well as keeps you from accurately assessing what you are capable of. Even if you fully are capable of doing something, your brain will tell you that you are not. You’re motivation tanks and your outlook dims as a result of chronic inflammation.
This is the perfect study to share right now, as many of us are feeling worn down and defeated from 2020 and could use some positive healing solutions to help boost our mainframe as we awaken this spring.
To hear me talk more about this study and give several awesome solutions to naturally boost dopamine levels, hop over here to listen to me tell you all about this medical study in my latest podcast: Lack Motivation? New Research Sheds Light On Why.
Be sure to leave a review and subscribe to my podcast so you don’t miss the next episode!
So let’s take this one step further.
We know with absolute clarity that grounding decreases whole body inflammation.
In a study published in 2009 in The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, researchers found that grounded subjects had statistically significant decreases in blood markers of inflammation compared to non-grounded subjects. In addition, decreases in inflammation as a result of grounding are well documented using medical thermography imaging in this study. An overview of how grounding decreases whole body inflammation was published June 2014 in the Journal of Inflammation Research.
We also know grounding specifically decreases the same inflammatory cytokines that have a direct impact on our dopamine levels. In this important study, published January 2019 in Frontiers in Physiology, researchers found that cytokines such as such as IP-10, MIP-1α, and sP-Selectin, all decreased in grounded subjects, compared to non-grounded controls. The average drop induced by grounding a patient was a 10 – 20% drop in inflammatory cytokine concentration.
And because of the newest research showing that inflammatory cytokines have a direct reflection in our mood and motivation levels, we can see a potential direct explanation for why grounding boosts mood. By decreasing inflammatory cytokines, it’s resonable to suggest that grounding gives a natural dopamine boost to the brain.
This is on top of the fact that grounding also boosts our Vitamin D levels, as well as surrounds us with views of greenery, as well as allows us to get active and move our physical body, and even allows us to sleep in a deeper and more restorative way that night…
…all four of these things (Vit D levels, viewing plants, exercise, and sleep) independently boost mood as well, so adding in a natural dopamine boost is a like a win-win-win-win-win for grounding and helps truly explain why grounding dramatically improves our mindframe.
This powerful, natural anti-inflammatory effect is the mechanism of action behind the earth’s ability to elevate mood, boost energy, and brighten outlook.
Know the feeling of spending a morning in your garden or an afternoon walking along the beach and how calm, centered, uplifted and creative your mindset becomes?
Grounding your body is at work here, decreasing your whole body inflammation, decreasing the stress hormones (like cortisol) in your bloodstream, decreasing your C-reactive protein levels and inflammatory cytokine levels… and all completely naturally, no medications involved.
Ready to head outside and get grounded? I hope so, because within minutes you will notice your muscle tension decreasing and your mood begin to lift.
Not sure what will ground you when you get out there? I made these super informal videos for you years ago to show you, you have lots more options than you think! Click on any below and let me show you how easy it is to get grounded outside:
- 15 Ways to Ground Besides Grass
- Think You Are Grounded Outside? Think Again!
- 8 Grounding Tips Beyond Just “Go Barefoot”
- 7 Outdoor Winter Grounding Tips
And I’ve got an exciting idea list for you next week, meet me back here on my blog next Monday when I share my top 10 indoor activities that you should absolutely take outside this spring!
Meanwhile, if you want a jump start on tips and ideas to go outside and connect with our earth, grab your copy of The Earth Prescription and you’ll be all set for an entire year of outdoor grounding, no matter where you live and no matter what season it is.