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Rush Hour Traffic: Get Through it Collision and Stress-Free

Rush Hour Traffic: Get Through it Collision and Stress-Free

It is recommended by ancient traditions that you should begin your day in a calm and relaxing fashion. From waking up slowly to having a few moments of stillness, our bodies and minds need to be introduced to the new day in a rather subtle manner. Are your mornings blissful and calm? Not mine!

Most of us wake up to a raging alarm and daily news reports that outlines everything and anything that could have possibly gone wrong with the world. Then we tune into the rush hour traffic report followed by the weather report (if you live in a winter wonderland like me) to determine if we have a few extra minutes to spare or if we are already running late.

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There is absolutely no benefit in a stressful beginning and one needs to find a creative way out of the everyday anxieties of life. Here are some tips that can help ease your mornings.

Can You Avoid It All?

As prevention is the best cure, is there anything you can do to avoid rush hour in the first place? Ask your employer for flexible work hours or maybe arrange for a school bus for the kids and avoid the detour?

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Though your initial reaction might be that of disbelief that this is even a possibility, you’ll be surprised to see how many companies are actually open to the idea of a flexible working schedule. Being a part of the new generation, employers have also evolved with time and are more concerned with productivity and effective time management than a restrictive work schedule. The one solution fits all days are gone as skills of yesterday can become hindrances of tomorrow if they don’t adapt with time.

Working from home once or twice a week is also becoming increasingly popular in the North American work culture. This gives employees some quiet working time free of office distractions as well as avoiding the regular commute while the employer is also at ease as productivity can easily be judged when you report back to the office the following day.

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Learn about your companies policies and talk to your HR manager to evaluate the outlook of your company. Talk to your boss to get his opinion and you just might be able to create a personalized solution for yourself.

Can’t Avoid It All?

Carpooling to me is the next best alternative if you can’t possibly avoid rush hour as it minimizes your exposure to it and maybe even gives you access to the priority driving lanes. Not only will this give you a break from the anxiety that exists between the accelerating and braking moments, it also gives you the opportunity to read a book or maybe even take an extra nap yet not lose the comfort of a private drive.

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If all other ways fail, giving yourself some extra time and having breakfast can make all the difference. Lets be honest, hunger only gets the unpleasant side of us out and an unfulfilled tummy combined with running late is simply a recipe for disaster. Be kind to yourself, find time for breakfast and give yourself an extra few minutes so that the heart rate does not rise with every red light that comes by your way.

Why not try listening to something soothing and relaxing as you embark on your morning drive? Though hard rock and hip-hop sound cool to the ears in our teens, starting our mornings with heavy music can make the brain instantaneously tired and clumsy. Try listening to something soft and soothing instead. Maybe some meditation music or an audio disk of a book you’ve wanted to read or a new language you admire? If nothing interests you this early in the morning, let there be silence. This may be the only time of the day where you can actually have some quiet time.

Featured photo credit:  a street of shanghai on the night via Shutterstock

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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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