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How to Fix Your Most Dangerous Driving Habits

How to Fix Your Most Dangerous Driving Habits

We all know the various activities we are not supposed to do while driving. But despite the fact that everyone knows at some level how to drive safely, over 38,000 Americans were killed in traffic accidents in 2015. It was the largest percentage rise in vehicle accidents in 50 years.

We should remember that a car accident is a colossal safety failure and that even basic steps can help you avoid an accident. Therefore, some of the most dangerous driving habits are also some of the easiest to fix. Here are five habits which far too many drivers do and what you can do to avoid them.

  1. Road Rage

I once had a boss who was extraordinarily calm and respectful in the office, yet turned into a ball of rage whenever we drove together to an outside meeting. He would curse and slander anyone whose driving annoyed him in any way, and it was a deeply unpleasant experience especially because he was normally a nice guy.

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Road rage can transform anyone into a monster instantly, and an angry driver is an unsafe driver. But why do we get so angry? According to Slate, it is the fact that other drivers are anonymous and hidden in their cars. This causes us to dehumanize them and is comparable to how people online can transform into vicious jerks when they talk to someone while hiding behind a screen.

Driving alongside a passenger can help you act like you would normally, though that does not always work as in my case. But if you find yourself experiencing road rage, take a moment to calm down, breathe deeply, and not let your anger take over.

  1. Drowsy driving

Drunk driving is dangerous because alcohol slows your reactions which you need to drive safely. But driving while sleepy poses similar problems. Furthermore, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report found that drowsy driving is more likely to occur on freeways which increase the chances of a fatal accident, and that young men are the group most at risk from this sort of accident.

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If you are tired, don’t hesitate to pull over and rest. Sleeping in a car is not as comfortable sleeping in your bed, but it is still better than taking the chance of sleeping forever.

  1. Speeding through yellow lights

Contrary to the popular beliefs of drivers, yellow lights do not mean “Speed up to avoid the red light.” They mean “slow down.”

Slowing down on seeing a yellow light and being the first car stuck at a red light sucks. But the problem with speeding up is that it encourages you to keep speeding up until the last second, increasing the risk that you mistime things and end up running a red light after all. And even if you avoid a car accident for now, you can find yourself having a very unpleasant conversation with a nearby officer.

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  1. Distracted driving

We’re not just talking about cell phones. Activities like eating and talking can also take your mind off the road and increase your risk of an accident. In fact, one of the biggest causes of distracted driving is young children and parents’ attempt to handle their various idiosyncrasies.

Distracted driving caused over 400,000 injuries in 2009, but they are not that difficult to stop. Put your phone away. If something really urgent pops up like an important phone call, pull over and take care of it. Focusing only on one thing at a time is a crucial safety tip, whether we are looking at driving, the workplace, or anywhere else.

  1. Seat belts

Cars have more safety features than ever, but nothing beats a seatbelt when it comes to saving lives. The CDC observes that seat belts saved 12,802 lives in 2014 and warns that airbags “are not a substitute for seat belts.” And yet despite that important fact, far too many people think that they are “too old” for seat belts or find it uncomfortable.

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If you’re not used to constantly wearing a seat belt, get used to it. Wear it all the time, even when you only need to move your car a couple feet. Doing it every single time regardless of circumstances will turn it into a habit.

Make seatbelt wearing a habit and you will get used to it. Far from feeling uncomfortable while wearing it, you will feel uncomfortable driving without it. And that is a good thing.

Relax and stay focused

Driving safely is not that hard. All it requires is that you focus on the road, not be distracted by texts or anything else, and staying alert. Alertness, more than anything else, is the one trait which will help you stay alive and not turn into another statistic.

Make good driving a habit by wearing your seatbelt and by getting rid of distractions, and you will have nothing to worry about.

Featured photo credit: Lord Jim via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 10, 2019

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

1. Gratitude

Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

Gratitude-Quotes

    2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

    This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

    For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

    What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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    Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

    3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

    This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

    Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

    An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

    Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

    write down goals

      4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

      According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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      There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

      5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

      Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

      Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

      6. Rise Earlier

      The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

      For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

      So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

      Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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      7. Listen to Uplifting Music

      Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

      Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

      It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

      Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

      More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

      Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
      [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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