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7 Ways To Well Spend Your Commute

7 Ways To Well Spend Your Commute

Work commutes of any type can be emotionally and physically draining. On the positive side, having a lot of time on your hands while you are en route to work can be a blessing in disguise if you use it wisely. There are ways you can use this time without getting distracted on the road. Here are benefits for making the most out of your time during your dreaded daily commute.

1.You can use this time to think through specific issues

Do you have a certain problem you have been trying to solve in your personal life or an important business meeting that is coming up soon? This extra time during your commute is the perfect block of time to think through issues without being constantly interrupted. You might find a solution to your problems if you allow yourself to think about the problem without distractions. Dedicating time to a certain dilemma in your life first thing in the morning allows you to come up with new solutions since your brain is fresh.

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2. You can learn to de-stress

Your commute may seem like the last place you would find some solitude, but putting on some calming music which will help lower your blood pressure and allow you to arrive to work ready to face the day. If you are driving to work, add a little extra zen by spraying some relaxing scents, like lavender in your car to enhance the mood.

3. You can learn to be more mindful

Along the same lines as learning to find calm during your commute, you can also learn to practice being mindful on the way to work. The first step is to unplug and turn off your phone so that it does not create any distractions. If you are driving, focus on your surroundings, then acknowledge and accept your surroundings without negative thoughts (yes it’s hard!). If you are on public transportation, do the same thing with your fellow commuters and any frustrating scenarios that may come up. It takes practice and patience, but learning how to react to a stressful situation with a neutral and even positive approach can be beneficial for life in general.

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4. You can stay up-to-date on the world news

Do you hardly feel like you have time to keep up with what is going on in your city, let alone the world? Download a news podcast that will keep you informed about international news, without you feeling like you need to only skim the global headlines before rushing out the door.

5. You can use this time to educate yourself

Who says learning stops after you finish your formal schooling? Find a podcast on a subject that you have always been curious about, but never took the time to learn more about. Ask your co-workers, friends, and family members for recommendations on their favorites as well. Learning something new in the morning also makes your brain more alert and ready to tackle any tasks at work with a fresh eye.

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6. You can learn a new language

Have you ever wanted to learn a new language, but never seemed to find the time in your daily routine to practice? Use your commute as an opportunity to brush-up on your Italian or try out Arabic. There are plenty of apps and podcasts to download on your phone free of charge that can help you practice your verb tenses or pronunciation, whether you are stuck on the midtown train or in traffic.

7. You can “read” the book you have always wanted to

Have you always wanted to dive into a book, but always get sidetracked by Netflix or Instagram? Your commute is the perfect time to do this, whether you are in a car or the subway. If you are driving, audio books are a great solution and can keep you entertained for hours.

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Featured photo credit: Incumbents /Erin Nekervis via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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