How Walking Barefoot Is A Viable Way to Fight Depression

If you’ve endured bouts of depression, you’ve likely been handed a myriad of possible solutions, from “natural” remedies to prescription drugs to therapy. And if you've ever been introduced to the idea of grounding (or earthing) then you’re aware of one of the most “granola” (translation: hippy) -sounding natural remedies that is also one of the most effective when put into practice. 

Earthing is the simple practice of walking barefoot on a natural surface: grass, sand, dirt, you name it. Your feet weren’t made to be covered by shoes, disconnected from the ground, which means we have grown accustomed to having separated from the earth itself. For most of the history of mankind, this was actually the opposite as we didn’t walk with shoes. The human race naturally maintained a constant physical connection with the earth’s electrical field. Scientific research has proven that this contact with the ground allows a normal exchange of electrons, neutralizing free radicals and aiding in the prevention of diseases and illnesses. When it comes to depression, this disconnect can be a factor in impacting our mood.

One 2012 study collected data of 60 participants and compared subjects who employed the practice of grounding/earthing with those who didn’t. In everything from the quality of sleep, alleviating chronic pains, stress and anxiety levels, and relief from asthmatic and respiratory conditions, the effects of earthing were proven. The study even went so far as to test the sleep patterns of people who slept in their normal beds versus people who were given a conductive “earthing” mattress for eight weeks. “Grounding the body at night during sleep also appears to positively affect morning fatigue levels, daytime energy, and nighttime pain levels,” the report said. This was relevant to the topic of depression as subjects that had been suffering from insomnia, a symptom of depression and stress, had positive results. It went on to credit Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman’s lectures on electromagnetism. “Feynman said that when the body potential is the same as the Earth's electric potential (and thus grounded), it becomes an extension of the Earth's gigantic electric system. The Earth's potential thus becomes the “working agent that cancels, reduces, or pushes away electric fields from the body.”

Earthing is proven to have positive effects on the human body across a myriad of symptoms that come from simply being disconnected from its electrical fields. Oddly enough, we don’t even realize how much of a negative impact rubber soles and comfortable mattresses have on our body, our minds, and even our emotions. Prescription drugs may give us some of the results we want and need in times of distress, but it turns out one of the most natural things we can do is also one of the best. So take off your shoes, go to a park or the beach, and walk around for a half hour. Treating this like a regular meditation practice can have a massive positive effect on your mood and in your struggles against depression and anxiety.