Mellow Music May Help Stave Off Road Rage

Mellow Music May Help Stave Off Road Rage

A quick switch to mellow music in the car may make you a safer driver, researchers say. Promptly changing to soothing music is the most effective way to calm down while driving in stressful conditions that could trigger road rage, found the study published in the journal Ergonomics.

It was already known that music can influence mood and driving styles. More accidents occur when drivers listen to “upbeat” music, possibly because the music is more distracting or because it causes drivers to go faster. Downbeat music is more relaxing and associated with safer driving.

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However, there were questions about whether a quick or gradual switch from upbeat to downbeat music was most effective in changing drivers’ moods. To get answers, researchers had volunteers tackle demanding driving conditions in a simulator while they listened to different types of music.

Participants who switched to more mellow music abruptly or gradually both reached the same levels of calmness eventually. However, those who made the switch quickly became calm sooner and made fewer driving mistakes, according to a journal news release.

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The results show that “during high-demand driving, abrupt changes in music led to more physiological calmness and improved driving performance and were thus safer and more effective,” concluded researcher Marjolein van der Zwaag, of Philips Research Laboratories in Eindhoven, and colleagues in the Netherlands and at Stanford University in California.

The investigators said their findings could also apply to office or hospital settings to encourage or relax listeners.

Mellow-music-may-help-stave-off-road-rage

Source: http://www.healthfinder.gov

Provided by Rebecca McGonigle, Wellstyles Newsletter, October 2013, Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT).

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Nine Essential Qualities of Mindfulness

Nine Essential Qualities of Mindfulness

Learn how to say “yes” to the present moment.
Published on February 22, 2012 by Melanie A. Greenberg, Ph.D. in The Mindful Self-Express
mindful meditation

Meditation is one aspect of mindfulness

Most people these days are stressed out by the fast pace of life, economy, and worries about the future. In a recent survey, conducted in the UK, a whopping 86 percent agreed that “people would be much happier and healthier if they knew how to slow down and live in the moment” (Mental Health Foundation, 2010).  It is no wonder that mindfulness has rapidly gained attention in the popular press and is one of the few complementary medicine techniques to be offered in  hospitals and clinics worldwide. But what exactly is mindfulness?Mindfulness is a mind-body medicine practice, based on ancient Zen Buddhist meditation techniques, that was popularized by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a researcher at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. According to Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness is an internal resource that all of us already have within us. The idea is to channel or direct this resource to transform our relationships with stress, emotions, pain, and illness. Indeed, controlled research studies suggest that mindfulness-based interventions can effectively reduce symptoms in people with chronic pain, recurrent depression, anxiety disorders,substance abusebinge-eating, and many other health conditions. Mindfulness interventions have also been shown to change the brain’s grey matter and reactivity to emotional stimuli in ways that promote greater conscious control over emotion.

While most people seem to think that mindfulness is a good thing, many people are confused about what exactly mindfulness is. Does it involve emptying the brain of thoughts, inducing relaxation, or going into a trance? Do you have to go live in an ashram and retreat from the material world to practice it effectively?  Is it a kind of religion or cult, and is it potentially dangerous?  In fact, none of the above have been shown to be true. Below is a description of some key concepts that can help illuminate what it means to have a mindful attitude to life.

 

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The beauty of the present moment

Focus on the Present Moment—When your thoughts get lost in thinking about the past or worrying about the future, you bring them back to what you are experiencing right now. You try to remain open to how things unfold in the present, rather than having preconceived ideas about how things will or should turn out. Being Fully PresentYou are spaciously aware of whatever you are experiencing in the present moment as you go through your daily life. What do you feel in your body? What are you seeing, hearing, doing – right now?

Openness to Experience—Rather than dreading and shutting out your own feelings and experiences because you think you can’t handle them, you welcome with curiosity any thoughts and feelings that naturally arise, knowing they are merely sensations in the moment and the next moment can be different. You create mental spaciousness to contain these thoughts and fellings. Become aware of your experience as a flow of sensations, thoughts, and feelings and watch how these change and transform naturally over time.

Non-Judgment—You don’t categorize your thoughts and feelings as good or bad, try to change them, or feel compelled to act on them. All feelings have a purpose, whether to protect you from danger or open you to love. You watch and accept whatever arises in consciousness with an open mind. You extend this non-judging attitude to other people and things.

Acceptance of Things as They Are—You don’t try to force or change reality to fit your vision of what it should be, feel like a victim, or bemoan the unfairness of life. Instead, you try to see reality clearly and let it be as it is, knowing that you can tolerate whatever it is that comes up. You extend this acceptance to others, knowing they are the best judges of what is right for them.

Connection—You feel connected to all living things and nature in being part of a larger whole. You reflect on and feel grateful for the cycle of life and the food, beauty, and protection that nature gives us. You know that all living beings want to feel happy and secure and avoid suffering and you feel connected by similarity of needs and experience.

Non-Attachment—You do not try to hold onto things, people, or experiences, knowing that life is in constant flow. Attachment comes fromfear and is the basis of suffering. You learn to surf the wave of life, going with the flow and being confident in your own ability to adapt. When one door closes, another opens.

 

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Mindfully walking a labyrinth

Peace and Equanimity—You maintain an even-keel, not getting too swept up in life’s highs and lows. You know that life is a cycle and you can’t see the whole picture at any one moment. When things don’t go your way, you stay firmly rooted in your own clear vision and values. You walk with a peaceful heart and adopt a non-harming, non-violent attitude. Compassion—You deal gently, kindly, and patiently with yourself and others. Rather than judging, or condemning, you open your heart to really listen and try to understand your own and other people’s experiences. You allow yourself to feel other people’s suffering. You love people not for what they can give you or because you need something from them, but because you connect and empathize with their experiences.

With these concepts in mind, you can begin to introduce mindfulness into your own life, whether it is by deliberately directing attention to your breath and senses at different times during the day, taking a mindful nature walk, or beginning a simple meditation practice. You might want to center your attention on each in- and out-breath, noticing the length, quality, and sensations of the breath moving in and out of your body, without trying to force or change it in any way. You may also begin to become aware of the times in the day that you operate “mindlessly,” and on automatic pilot, your head so busy with plans and worries, that you don’t even notice what you feel inside or what is around you.

Developing an observing mind that watches your own daily experience, notices your automatic patterns, and gently redirects attention to the present moment is the beginning of growing a “mindfulness muscle” to help you navigate the winds of change and stresses in your life. “As Eckhart Tolle so eloquently said: “Always say “yes” to the present moment. Surrender to what is. Say “yes” to life—and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.”

About The Author

Melanie Greenberg is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Mill Valley, Marin County, CA. She is also a researcher, author, and national speaker with expertise in life stress, relationships, mind-body health, and effects of society and media on human behavior.

Visit  my website at  http://melaniegreenbergphd.com/marin-psychologist/  for original research articles and therapy services

Connect with me on facebookhttp://www.fb.com/mindfulselfexpress

Follow me on twitterhttp://twitter.com/#!/DrMelanieG

Read my personal blog: http://marinpsychologist.blogspot.com

Dealing With Stress Effectively

In keeping with our positive attitude, we are not going to talk about stress and all its bad side effects.  Instead, here is an excerpt from a great article with some ideas for controlling your stress:

Dealing with stress and its symptoms

 

 

 

 

 

While unchecked stress is undeniably damaging, there are many things you can do to reduce its impact and cope with symptoms.

Learn how to manage stress

You may feel like the stress in your life is out of your control, but you can always control the way you respond. Managing stress is all about taking charge: taking charge of your thoughts, your emotions, your schedule, your environment, and the way you deal with problems. Stress management involves changing the stressful situation when you can, changing your reaction when you can’t, taking care of yourself, and making time for rest and relaxation.

Learn how to relax

You can’t completely eliminate stress from your life, but you can control how much it affects you. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the opposite of the stress response. When practiced regularly, these activities lead to a reduction in your everyday stress levels and a boost in your feelings of joy and serenity. They also increase your ability to stay calm and collected under pressure.

Learn quick stress relief

Everybody has the power to reduce the impact of stress as it’s happening in that moment. With practice, you can learn to spot stressors and stay in control when the pressure builds. Sensory stress-busting techniques give you a powerful tool for staying clear-headed and in control in the middle of stressful situations. They give you the confidence to face challenges, knowing that you have the ability to rapidly bring yourself back into balance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information, please go to:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/stress_signs.htm