Tune in, chill out and enjoy your commute
How do you fancy being as happy as the people in the picture above while you're on your daily commute?
It's possible, if you follow the advice given in today's blog. If you do, not only will you arrive at your destination stress-free, you'll also be addressing another of the issues we highlighted in our Dangerous Driving post – high blood pressure. And two birds with one stone is always good.
How stress affects the brain and body
As we're sure you already know, stress and high blood pressure are closely related, so if you reduce one, you reduce the other. And the way we’re going to address these two is through music.
Yes, music. It’s really more powerful than you might think. Research shows that music can affect the way we feel, both mentally and physically, quite significantly by altering the levels of cortisol – the stress hormone – in the brain.
There are 15 studies that showed that listening to relaxing music reduced cortisol levels in the brain. Lower cortisol levels mean less stress, and less stress means a calmer you.
If you’re not sure how cortisol works in the brain, affecting stress levels and raising your blood pressure, take five minutes – well 4.42 to be precise – to find out.
So, when you think about it, it’s pretty great that music reduces cortisol. You can reduce your stress levels and arrive at work, relaxed and ready to start your day. And on your way home, you can prevent, or release, any stress you have before you get there. After all, the last thing you want is to be taking that stress into your home with you.
Making sure you reduce your stress levels on your daily commute should also help stop the short and long-term blood pressure rises caused by driving, that we spoke about in the dangerous driving blog post.
And, even better, it’s cheap, easy to use and does not require any pharmaceutical drugs or expensive treatments or equipment. Most cars these days have some kind of music player that connects to your mobile phone, or you can do it the old way and use CDs or, for those of you who remember them, cassette tapes.
Music to reduce your stress levels
So we've established that music is really good at lowering your cortisol levels. So have a root around around your music collection and see if you can dig out anything that'll do the job (we bet you've got an old chillout classics CD lurking somewhere in the back of a cupboard). If you don't, it's not hard, or expensive, to find the kind of thing we're talking about, Amazon stock loads of CDs that'd be perfect like...
Music to Balance Your Life – Anti-Stress
50 Best Relaxing Classics
The Only Classical Chillout You’ll Ever Need
And, don’t forget about the secondhand music sites like musicMagpie and, of course, ebay for picking up a bargain.
Okay, that’s two more of the dangers of driving covered. Next Friday we’ll complete the solutions with how to prevent eyestrain.