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Reducing Stress On The Road May Be Music To Your Ears

There's something special about driving along on a hot summer day with the open road ahead and the radio playing some special tunes. Music can affect how you feel about your day.

There’s something special about driving along on a hot summer day with the open road ahead and the radio playing some special tunes. Music can affect how you feel about your day.

Music can affect our emotions;we all know it because moviemakers have been using it on us for years. Music can be used to create feelings of calmness, tension, excitement, or romance. Not just adults, but even babies respond to music. Lullabies have been sung for generations to put babies to sleep.

Even medical science recognizes the relationship between music and well-being. Within the past 30 years, music has been used in many medical environments to promote wellness while avoiding the negative side-effects of medications.

It has been seen to help reduce pain, fight depression, manage stress, enhance memory, relax muscles and to just get people moving. And one bonus is that all these benefits can by enjoyed while music listeners are just living their regular lives.

Music with a strong beat influences your brainwaves to adopt a similar beat. Faster beats bring sharper concentration, more alert thinking and improved observations. So, when you need to stay awake, turn on some upbeat tunes.

A slower beat produces a calmer mental state. If you’re having a tough day and need a break, slow music will help your mind and body recover. Slow music leads to slower breathing, a slower heartbeat and a more relaxed state.

This relaxation can lead to a more positive outlook and a reduced stress response level as well as lower blood pressure, which means a lower risks of heart attack and stroke.

Endorphin levels (natural pain relievers) also increase while listening to music. At the same time, stress hormone levels decrease. This may explain why music appears to improve immune function.

In fact, a recent study at Michigan State University showed that even listening to music for 15 minutes a day could increase interleukin-1 levels (which reduces inflammation), a consequence which also improves the immune system.

Start your day off right by turning on a tune as soon as you get up. Keep the music flowing as you head off down the road.

Music can be a great antidote for road rage -if you’re listening to a calming beat.

Keep listening while you eat. Since soothing music can trigger the relaxation response, your cortisol levels should go down, helping you to digest your food.

In fact, classical music can help your diet because listening to it during a meal has been shown to cause people to eat less, digest better and enjoy their meal more.

When it’s time to do your paperwork and pay the bills, turn the radio on. This will keep you relaxed and focused.

At the end of your day, whether in your bunk, a motel or at home, playing music as you drift off may make your trip to dreamland a little quicker and your sleep a little deeper.

To reduce stress, what kinds of music are recommended?

Lots of stores offer a variety of mood-affecting, relaxation recordings, including bird songs, waterfalls and other common nature sounds. Many people find these very helpful.

As well, some known composers and artists are also quite popular.

Pieces by Mozart are often suggested. The term ‘Mozart effect’ was coined because a study showed college students performed better on math problems when listening to classical music.

Pachelbel’s Canon with Ocean Surf is another well-liked recording. Although you may not recognize Pachelbel’s name, if you’ve gone to a wedding, you’ve probably heard his tunes. His classical melodies lead as soothing classical music. This particular recording adds the sound of the ocean surf to create an even more relaxing listening experience.

Vivaldi’s Four Seasons by Music for Relaxation is also recommended for people who want to reduce stress. This is a great one to listen to during dinner.

If you’re looking for something a little more modern, you may consider Yanni’s recording In My Time. This is a piano recording, backed up by an orchestra with no vocals.

If you do prefer vocals, try Enya’s A Day Without Rain. Her voice is partnered with a gentle orchestration to create a calming theme. Or, you may already have your own favourites.

If you’re looking for a way to reduce road rage, I recommend the following steps:

•Turn off the talk shows.(Why listen to people arguing for hours about issues they will never solve)?

• Turn down the rock music (unless you need a strong beat to stay awake).

•Turn on some soft, soothing music.

Many stresses that you encounter every day are out of your control: other drivers’ habits, late loads, traffic jams, increasing fuel costs, taxes, etc. However, you can control your reaction to them.

Just turn the radio on and turn your attitude around.

-Karen Bowen is a professional health and nutrition consultant and she can be reached by e-mail at

Truck News

Truck News

Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.
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