As the word implies, "grounding" is working with the ground in one way or the other.
Grounding is the process whereby we do two things: (1) we first use earth energy to balance ourselves, and (2) we use grounding to clear unwanted aspects from our energy. Grounding is one of the few things that really can't be achieved intellectually. It is purely a function of doing; there is no other way to get "grounded."
Grounding helps put things in perspective in real ways. That's the first part of the process; the second part is that it cleans our energy of specious stress and excess energies. Grounding leads to balance. Balance leads to more efficient use of personal energy.
Grounding leads to balance. Balance leads to more efficient use of personal energy.
Grounding reorders our energy in way that straightens out the human form. Our form as human energy begins to be "bent" from the time we are born. We get a description of the world at that moment, and we labor under it the rest of our lives. This bends the natural human energy, and grounding is one of the things that help to begin the straightening process. "Bent" is not a physical description. Grounding has more to do with how we relate to the universe at large. It's that description of the world we're fighting. As we begin to straighten, first we admit the possibility that perhaps the world isn't the way we've been led to believe, then the recap, along with grounding, then direct seeing, then breaking the wheel of time, then movement through energy itself, then knowing other forms of energy, then movement past our human form
Grounding has more to do with how we relate to the universe at large. It's that description of the world we're fighting.
When to ground yourself
When you find yourself upset but you don't know why. It hits you as angst often in the pit of your stomach, something not quite definable; stuff is going to hell in a hand basket, etc. Feel for it in your body, you can isolate it.
What to Ground
Whatever isn't yours. You aren't at war with your own energy; you may be with your reason, but your energy intends to stay together. What isn't yours? Stress from work, the stuff people dump on you, etc. Recapitulation is the long-term solution, but grounding helps in the short term so you can do better recapping.
Examples and Techniques
Each has a different effect depending on whether you take it internally or externally.
Any root crop and any of the spices made from tubers provides a different aspect of grounding. Potatoes and beets work best for me. Each of those affects a different area of the body energy, and therefore, a different aspect of becoming grounded. Potatoes work on the lower energy centers for instance. Eat a good baked potato, noting how you felt before, and then, twenty minutes after, see where the effect is really felt in the body.
Sassafras tea hits the lungs heart area. Cinnamon on the outside, it soothes the outer layers of our energy and makes moving through situations less stressful. Cloves are also very powerful for that used externally - just drop a few in your bath water and relax for a bit; you might smell like a baked ham, but you will see the effect - or rather, feel it. Put the cloves in a tea strainer. Each has a different effect depending on whether you take it internally or externally.
Some grounding foods: Legumes, Potatoes, Yams, Beets, Ginger, Peanuts, Carrots, Turmeric, Onion, Garlic, Sweet potatoes, Rutabaga, Jerusalem artichokes, Turnip, Jicama, Celery root, Daikon, Parsnip, Radish, Tapioca/yucca/cassava
The best thing you can do on a daily consistent basis for grounding is to have some direct contact with the earth every day.
Touching the Earth
Direct contact with the earth is a good grounding technique. Having your hands in the earth itself grounds you directly. Mooshing around in the dirt is good; sitting in it is better yet, all with the intent to release energy, connect with the earth and allow it to help you. As with anything, intent is vital. The best thing you can do on a daily consistent basis for grounding is to have some direct contact with the earth every day. If you can't actually touch the earth, use earth charms, or find a spot of grass on the way to work; take off your shoe and rub your foot on it.
One of the most extreme techniques is being buried; I don't recommend it as a solo activity. But I've done it, and it is truly amazing in its ability to reorder you. Earth is better than sand for this - I've tried sand and have never been able to do much with it. I think it's because it tends to move too much naturally. It's almost like air in some ways energetically - too porous or something.
An earth charm gives you a connection with earth energy directly in a small way that you can have around you all the time.
"Balloon Head" and Shamanic Work
While recapitulation and other work helps ground you in the long-term, it can have the opposite effect in the short-term. In those moments when things seem to be bottom side up, grounding is the practical way to right them again. It is possible to move past your own energy and feel out of synch with yourself. Reach up with your hand and rap on the top of your head like you were knocking on someone's door, right in the center of the top of your head. As we do this work, any of it, our energy tends to rise; rapping on the top of the head startles it back down to a more manageable level.
You can make mud pies. Put them in your garden or flowerbox and plant a seed in the middle of it, to release things for you and give you balancing perspective on your place in the cosmos. It helps to release pent up hostility and the sense of self-importance. A mud pie concentrates the energy in the palm of your hand; it's like separating a small piece of the earth and then giving it back with intent.
Cold water on the face and neck helps to bring you down if you are "floating" a bit much. I've even been known to get in an ice cold shower, but I don't want to see people have heart attacks.
Earth Charms and Burying Things for Grounding
Some things can be buried and then dug up and used for connecting you with that earth energy all the time as you wear it. Could be most anything, but stones seem to work best. Earth charms are pretty easy. You can buy a little pendant you like, or even make up a little something. An earth charm gives you a connection with earth energy directly in a small way that you can have around you all the time. Bury it for a moon cycle - a complete moon cycle (e.g., new moon to new moon) or half a cycle (e.g., new moon to full moon) but in a pinch - even a couple of nights will work to infuse energy in to a stone. I'm not even that funky about the timing, when you can is more important that a certain date. And remember to use intent!
Cold water on the face and neck helps to bring you down if you are "floating" a bit much. I've even been known to get in an ice cold shower, but I don't want to see people have heart attacks. There are other techniques, too, including rolling your eyes in a counterclockwise direction, or using the left hand instead of the right. There are just hundreds and variations, and they all impact certain things in certain ways. The recap takes care of people in a specific way; grounding is more of a general way to protect, clear and center yourself. Recapping will ultimately have a grounding effect - after all the doodoo is released and your energy is reintegrated you will feel grounded.
The object here is not to defeat the energy, or to confront it, or even to shield against it. What you are doing is bending it; you are remaining fluid and moving to a place where it isn't.
Create a connection with a favorite spot and go there mentally when you need the grounding. It should be some place real to which you have a real connection.
Here is the simple little exercise you can use to ground out those barbs you feel people slinging your way. The movement is simple, but intent is your key, as it is with many elements of energy practice. The grounding movement is the easiest and best way to get grounded. It connects you with your energy and teaches you to handle it in connecting with earth energy and you can even do it in an apartment.
Begin by facing the direction which you feel the energy coming from which is bothering you. It could be towards someone's house, a cardinal direction, or just simply the way it "feels" most strongly. Place your feet about shoulder width apart. Since all human beings are creatures of the earth, it makes the most sense when you think about it to ground their energy back to their larger source, which is the planet itself. Mother earth accepts all her children's energy and will take this from you; or rather, you are bending it back to her.
The object here is not to defeat the energy, or to confront it, or even to shield against it. What you are doing is bending it; you are remaining fluid and moving to a place where it isn't. At the same time, you are offering this energy to the earth, without anger or emotion, but with a detached sense of will. This is your intent, not to act in an aggressive manner, but to move, almost as though you are swimming through energy itself. Your stated intent can be as simple as saying, "I am moving apart from this and allowing it to feed mother earth", or you can make it as complicated as seems appropriate to you. But, I have found the simplest intents to be the most powerful.
The important thing is the intent and focus of what you are doing.
Body position: Raise your left hand cupped and look at it at about chest height and out from you, but not fully extended. Cup your right hand at your side and imagine a hole opening beside you in the earth, or you might visualize it as a spike rising to meet your hand. The visual isn't that important, it is the intent of making that particular connection with the earth. Take in a good slow breath through the nose and think of it as flowing up and over your head as you breathe, curving back down to the base of your skull. As you reach the end of that breath (and the breath is important), begin raising your left hand, and at the same time, your right hand. These motions are done together, and I hope this will be clear enough for you to understand what I'm saying. Left hand first: the left hand is brought up slightly above your head and toward you making an arc and the hand is turned at about chin height so the palm is facing down. In a sweeping motion as you go down over the heart area, move your hand out palm out as though you are sweeping the energy away from your heart and outward.
Right hand: the hand is brought up palm outward from the body as though you are scooping up the earth energy you have called and, in a sweeping motion, is brought above the shoulder to the front where the palm turns outward again and then follows this arc outward and down back toward the spot you have called the earth energy to. At this point, when you reach the bottom of this arc, you should snap your fingers open as though you are throwing the energy back to the earth.
Legs: I like to move the right foot back as the right hand begins it's ascent and move it forward a step to land just as the energy is released back to ground.
Now, think of this like a dance movement, or Tai Chi. The left hand is moving, and at the point it starts to push the energy away from the heart, the right hand should be coming over and catching the energy of the movement and carrying it on back to where it is released.
So, you got the breath, the arms, the legs all going at the same time here in one easy graceful motion. (Or in my case, in one jerky spasmodic motion. :) Oh, important point; don't hold your breath. The breath is exhaled as the motion is done. If you want to do it again, take in another breath as described above and do it again. The important thing is the intent and focus of what you are doing. I like this movement because it is simple and very effective and keeps you fluid in dealing with the crap that sometimes comes your way.