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3 Simple Steps for Mindful Driving

I ended 2015 with a big bang.

I am not kidding you.

I got in a big car accident on New Year Eve’s when someone was driving way above the speed limit on a side street and hit my car while he was rushing to get home to celebrate New Year with his family.

Three accidents in three years, two of which were in the last couple of months.

When I moved from Nova Scotia to Ontario three years ago, I would not even attempt to drive on the highway because people kept pushing me to drive way above the speed limit by honking their horns and flashing their lights. That was too stressful for a Haligonian gal, therefore, I opted to drive in the city and avoid highway driving altogether. Unfortunately, this strategy did not help where all three accidents happened on small streets when people were driving way above the speed limit.

Car Accident

Today, let us be more mindful while driving so we can stop the loss of lives, time, energy, and money. Energetically speaking, when these accidents happen they drain us and take us away from what are we meant to do. The effects of such accidents are carried on not only in the physical body, but also in the energetic and emotional bodies and we do not feel their effects until years after the accidents have happened.

I believe that things always happen for a reason and there are lessons to be learned from everything we encounter, however, instead of learning these lessons from an accident, let us learn them from other experiences that are less traumatic. Hence, let us bring awareness to our driving and be selectively and deliberately conscious about the way we drive on the streets.

So here are few tips to help you drive with mindfulness:

  • Stay in the present moment. When driving most people would be thinking about what happened during the day, what they are going to do at home or at work, and so on… Tons of opportunist thoughts jump to the forefront of our minds to be heard and that is when we drive mindlessly and a disaster in the making is waiting to happen.

 

How to beat those opportunist thoughts? Just be present and pay attention to your driving and not your thoughts. While driving focus on driving. It is as simple as that. Have all your senses tuned in for driving and paying attention to what is going on. Do not text while driving (Ontario passed a law few months ago for texting and driving). Minimize your phone calls and do not scream at the kids in the back of the car who are driving you crazy. Just stay present in the moment and your driving.

  • Be mindful of your surrounding. A great way to be in the moment is to give your conscious mind something to focus on in order to distract it from opportunist thoughts. This can be done easily and effortlessly by bringing your awareness to the scenery around you, admire the architect of buildings that you drive by, or enjoy the colors of nature in the horizon when you stop at the traffic light (do not get lost in its beauty though). Doing this will help you stop the mind chatter and as an added bonus will help you be calm as nature’s colors of green and blue are very calming and appealing to the eyes.
  • Practice Qigong abdominal breathing. One of my most favorite practices is Qigong (chee gong). It is an ancient Chinese body-mind practice which focuses on posture, movement and intention. One of the very first thing that I teach my patients or my class participants is Qigong breathing which is focused on abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing. The practice of abdominal breathing will bring tremendous benefits to both your body and your mind. It will help you calm the mind, nourish your body with oxygen and nutrients, and get rid of carbon dioxide and toxins.

When I started learning Qigong ten years ago, I practiced it everywhere, anywhere and at any time. I practiced it while waiting in line ups at the stores while sitting waiting for an appointment and while waiting for my kids to finish their activities. I love this aspect of its practice where all I have to do is just make the intention to practice. I did not have to worry about changing into workout clothes, driving the car to the gym, working out, getting sweaty, getting into the shower, drying my hair and then driving back home. Qigong is easy, simple, effective and more importantly, it helps you stay healthy and age gracefully.

So, next time you are stuck in traffic practice your Qigong abdominal breathing. Can you imagine how many minutes of deep abdominal breathing you can sneak in every single day?

What are you waiting for?

Make the intention to start and the next time you get into your car and stop at the traffic light start doing your Qigong breathing.

Qigong Breathing:

All breathing in Qigong is done through the nose and out through  the nose. When you inhale, push your belly out to pull breath into the  

bottom of your lungs. When you exhale, pull your belly in all the way

to your back. Breath slowly and smoothly and relax the entire body.

The key to this exercise is not to breathe through the chest and allow

The movement to come from the belly. You may want to start

practicing this exercise at home first and once you get used to it

you can then practice it  

This is an easy exercise that can be practiced anywhere. It can be

practiced while sitting at your desk, watching TV, and even when you

lay in bed to go to sleep. Yet, even better when you are stuck in traffic  

start practicing your qigong breathing rather than fretting about it.

Start today, and reap the benefit of this practice immediately.

You are worth it. You deserve it. Live your life to its fullest potential.

From my heart to yours,

Raja for header

To learn more about Qigong upcoming classes, contact me at info@rajamishal.com You can also learn some of these mind-body practices by purchasing my book Shift to Shine: Bridging Science and Intuition from Amazon.com where you will learn how to use Qigong healing to help you deal with negative energy and emotions.

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