It may not take much to become a zombie – driver that is! Ever feel freeway frustration when facing the same miles to and from work, running the same errands or shuttling kids to the same events day after day? It’s hard to have a healthy commute when the drive is torturous.
Perhaps you twist your natural rhythms to an imposed schedule – having to get up, commute and arrive at the same determined locations. As a creature of habit you find it becomes rote and wonder why you arrive so tired or face the drive home with such dread?
Stress expert, Dr. David Lewis has found that facing a daily grinding commute can be more stressful than fighter pilots going into battle or riot policemen.
Why? Pilots and police have things they can do to combat the stress being triggered by the event, but a commuter can’t do anything about it – at least unless the commuter is using Drivetime Yoga.
Dr. Lewis found that that sense of helplessness has led to a syndrome he calls “commuter amnesia”, where people switch off their minds, becoming zombies. Have you ever experienced arriving home and not remember how you got there? It may have been something as benign as listening to a great story on the radio or an audio book, but for many it’s a willful suspension of consciousness because the situation is so intolerable. I’m not a psychologist but it would seem that any time you choose to switch off awareness, especially while driving; you are endangering yourself and others.
How you can enjoy a healthy commute:
- Turn your car into a refuge – have water, healthy snacks, a book on tape or a great soundtrack on your mp3 player. It’s a private space in a public space. We have few of them – find ways to enjoy that.
- Be brave – Sometimes the most radical thing you can do is choose silence. Your heart may be racing, your mind is flooded with thoughts, you keep changing radio stations. But be brave: simply choose to stop all the distractions. Breathe and let your fluttering mind settle on the impact of silence and delicious inhalation.
- Follow your breath and listen deeply. Doesn’t matter if you’re in bumper to bumper badlands or someone’s just cut you off. Listen to what you are feeling. Next get creative. Find some novel ways to deal with whatever inspiration pops up. Drivetime Yoga has dozens of small, safe stretches that are appropriate and safe behind the wheel or as a passenger.
- Be aware and drink enough not to be thirsty; eat enough not to be hungry. It’s a suggestion from Christopher Berger, an exercise physiologist. If you’re not famished, you’ll be more relaxed, less likely to overreact in tense situations and less likely to make poor food choices once you arrive.
That’s just a few ideas from Drivetime Yoga. Banish zombie driving and arrive feeling vibrant.
More healthy commute ideas? Visit www.DrivetimeYoga.com