Meet "Earthing," the Simple Wellness Ritual That Makes Me Happier

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone in my life that I am happiest when I am outside, sans shoes. This particularly crunchy habit was instilled in me from a very young age: My fondest childhood memories are summer weekends spent at my grandparents' lake house, where going barefoot was practically mandatory—all the better to transition from land to water and back again, and to climb all the boulders that line the property. As the temperatures began to rise each spring, my siblings and I would actually begin ditching our shoes in our own yard so that our feet would be callused in time for those glorious days by the lake.

In contrast, most of my adult years have been spent in urban environments that aren't really conducive to open-toe shoes, much less traipsing around barefoot. It wasn't until I recently moved to a new apartment with some outdoor space that I began to remember just how good connecting my feet with the ground feels.

If this all seems like some first-class hippie shit, just know that there's actually a name for this phenomenon, as well as some interesting science behind it. Earthing, also known as grounding, is the simple act of walking barefoot outside—and preliminary research suggests that it can counteract stress and anxiety, boost your mood, and even reduce inflammation.