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When We Say 'Go Outside and Touch Some Grass,' This Is What We Mean

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I am a child of the internet.

I grew up not being able to use the landline at the same time as the internet. I remember when that changed and we could and I was so excited I cried. I was barely a tween at the dawn of YouTube, and I’m only a few years older than Google. My teen years were spent living on Tumblr and Twitter, and I have to say the number one thing I’ve learned from all my years of memes, gifs (it’s a gih, not a jih sound), and online arguments is that people need to go outside and touch some damn grass.

Let me elaborate:

When I say you need to go outside and touch some grass, I mean that we spend so much time on the internet that it can consume us. We’re constantly tuned into our phone, scrolling nonstop and consuming media at scarily alarming paces. It’s triggering, scary, and can add to a general collective trauma that I think we’re all starting to battle. People feel guilty logging off because then they feel less involved and up to date, but honestly we need to do just that — log off. Badly. Desperately. It’s OK to go ground yourself out and, you guessed it, go outside and touch some grass.

If you’re struggling to do so, here are a few grounding techniques (that include going outside and touching some grass) for when the internet and news has become a little too heavy and scary.

1. Movement.

Utilizing movement as a grounding technique is incredible. Getting back into your body and feeling the way it reverberates as you either stretch, dance, and/or go for a walk is so important. Personally, when I’m too in my head, getting back into my body is the number one thing that actually helps my anxiety out. Have you ever tried a TikTok dance? Maybe today is the day!

2. Singing.

No, you don’t have to have a four octave vocal range like Miss Ponytail — er, Ariana Grande. You don’t have to be good at it for it to help you out. Singing is basically a breathing exercise that isn’t inhaling seven and exhaling seven. It’s a lot more fun. A 2017 study showed that stress levels were lowered after a singing session, so it’s scientifically proven that it’s beneficial.

Let’s hear those pipes instead of hearing the little “plop” sound that your phone makes when you refresh Twitter!

3. Get a snack and act like you’re a judge on one of those Food Network shows.

I do this often. 

I’ll go to a fast food restaurant and get a meal, and put it on a nice little plate back home. I’ll analyze the entire meal from the way it was packaged and prepared, the plate presentation, all the way to the seasoning. “Ah yes you can really taste the notes of salt on these fries. However it’s a little overpowering when paired with the acidity of the tomato reduction on this burger.”

Tomato reduction is what I call ketchup, by the way. 

Is it accurate? No, but the point is to really put all of your focus into something so your entire being can center out and icky thoughts can leave. Just do something that consumes your time and mind. Legos, puzzles, and card games are also great alternatives.

4. You heard it here first, go outside and touch some grass.

Garden. Put your hands into the dirt and Earth. Physically touch the grass.

I couldn’t leave this out. The gag is that it actually does work. If you live in an inner city or somewhere where nature isn’t as plentiful, this may be a little harder, but returning to nature whether it be Earth or water, sand or dirt, is incredibly beneficial to grounding yourself out when the world is a little too stressful.

The internet isn’t our life. It doesn’t have to be. It’s OK to log off or even delete your accounts. I promise it doesn’t make you a bad person.

Go forth and touch some damn grass.

Getty image by rez-art

Originally published: May 27, 2022
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