Can physical instability lead to mental and emotional instability? Can balancing on one foot affect how we feel about our relationships? Read on to find out how being grounded can change your perception.Can physical instability lead to mental and emotional instability? Can balancing on one foot affect how we feel about our relationships? Read on to find out how being grounded can change your perception. A couple months ago, a friend sent me this article in NYT titled “How Grounded Is Your Love Life”, based on a study recently published in Psychological Science. In this study, researchers divided participants who had been in a relationship for at least a year into two groups – one group that sat at a normal desk and the other group sat at desk and chair that wiggled slightly. The groups completed questionnaires about their relationship satisfaction and they found a correlation between wobbly desks and wobbly romantic relationships. The participants who sat at unstable workstations perceived more instability in their relationships. This study was limited however and only included a small number of participants.

So the researchers went at it again. This time taking to the internet to recruit a larger, more diverse population. They asked half of the participants to complete the relationship questionnaire while standing solidly on both feet while they asked the other half to complete it while balancing on one leg. Overwhelmingly, the participants who stood on one leg rated their relationships as less stable and less likely to last than those who planted both feet on the ground.

This got me thinking…don’t reflect on my relationship when practicing tree pose. Kidding.

It did get me thinking though about the concept of feeling grounded and what that can do for our perceptions. Based on this study in particular it seems there might be a correlation between feeling grounded and perception of your relationship, but is there more? Does being grounded affect your perception of your friendships? Of your relationships with your family? Your outlook on life? Your happiness? How we approach our work and our careers?

It’s kind of funny when I read this article I had a wobbly desk and my food photography set up was always wobbly with the uneven floor in my office. It drove me a little bonkers. I’ve since then fixed the problem (with the help of Steve and my Pops) but I have to wonder if that physical instability, that tangible wobbliness in my life, had an impact on the intangible?

It makes sense though, right? It seems intuitive to me that if you’re not grounded and let’s say you’re stressed out about work, how that can start to trickle into other areas of your life. You’re stressed out at work and now when you think about your relationship, you’re focusing on the things that stress you out, rather than the things you love and appreciate. Now think about if you had a chance to meditate or take a warm bath or do something that relaxes and grounds you, and then you think about your relationship, your perception totally shifts right? Because you are in a better mental state. And again, this makes sense beyond the relationship. If you’re running around like crazy with your head in the clouds, feeling unstable, you’ll probably feel less happy and have a poorer outlook on life. Versus being grounded, mindful, and present, you’re able to appreciate all the good around you —> better life satisfaction and more happiness.

How can we practice feeling more stable and grounded in our day to day lives to have a better outlook?

One of my favorite grounding activities is restorative or yin yoga where you hold gentle poses/stretches for extended periods of time and use props to make your body feel extremely comfortable. I also find meditating and journaling to be extremely grounding.

Now I’d love to hear from you. What do you think about these studies? Do the effects of being grounded can extend beyond just love relationships? Do you notice a difference in your perceptions when you’re grounded vs. not? What are activities that you find to be grounding?

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  1. Interesting! I definitely feel this way when I have too much clutter. I know it’s not the exact same but when my surroundings are messy, I feel messy. So, I can see how being grounded could be similar. Whenever I feel off-balance, I head to more Yin classes. Have you tried Yoga Nidra before? I’ve recently been doing it to help with sleep and it’s amazing!

  2. Rachael@AvocadoADayNutrition

    That study is so interesting! So, what I’m now wondering is if we can blame the creators of that stability ball desk chair on breakups and divorces?

  3. Those studies are so interesting! I feel like making sure the area around me is clean keeps me grounded. If there is a lot of clutter, I can’t concentrate, which leads me to feel stressed, which then causes me to be snappy with my loved ones. This is definitely making me want to focus on other things that keep me grounded. Thanks for the thought-provoking post! 🙂

  4. wow this is SO interesting. but definitely makes sense! Thanks for sharing girl, I loved reading about this 🙂

    Sarah Grace

  5. What an eye opener, Kara! I never thought of how stress and instability in one aspect can translate into others – unconsciously – especially relationships!
    My main activity to stay grounded is running – the longer the better!