Truck driving can be a highly stressful profession. Out there on the road, you may feel the effects of a long shift, crazy drivers, and messy road conditions. Being mindful of your own body and feelings can help fight fatigue and keep you going. And, because you’re on the road, you might wonder how you can find time to make some changes, but trucker mindfulness and meditation will help you reach the goals of your day and greatly improve your life.
Defining Mindfulness and Meditation
At the Center for Mindfulness at UMass Medical School, there are two programs solely dedicated to teaching mindfulness. Creator of these programs, Dr. Jon KAbat-Zinn define mindfulness as:
“Maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.”
The two programs focus on stress reduction and cognitive therapy; both great options for any truck driver. The mindfulness programs tackle issues like finding composure, coping mechanisms, enthusiasm and fighting depression. It isn’t as difficult as you think to find time for mindfulness. If you’re feeling stressed, take a few moments of your day to focus on yourself and your surrounding first, instead of the job on hand.
Commonly seen as a Buddhist practice, The Buddhist Center defines meditation as
“a means for transforming the mind…that encourage and develop concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and a calm seeing of the true nature of things.”
Meditation lets you enter and witness the patterns of your own mind. You can become the best version of yourself through simple meditation techniques. As a trucker, after driving around in a hot, cramped cab for hours and hours on end, having some clarity and positivity about your life doesn’t sound half bad does it?
Effects on Truckers
One common phrase often heard in health care is, “stress kills.” Studies have shown that high levels of stress can cause blood pressure and heart rates to rise. High stress can also cause muscles in the body to contract, make you feel tense all over. Stress can also cause the bodies digestive and immune systems to falter; this is why you make see weight gain or feel sick more often.
Mindfulness and meditation practices offer benefits to combat issues of the body and mind. The relaxation techniques associated with these practices provide a deep sense of calm, which brings down stress levels. Rhythmic breathing, often associated with mindfulness and meditation helps heart rates to slow, creating a focused mind and normal blood pressure. When driving against harsh weather, erratic drivers, and long hours, these practices can help you relax before slamming on the horn.
How to Practice
Practicing mindfulness and meditation only has to take 15 minutes or less of your day. You can set the times and how often you want to practice so as not to interfere with your driving schedule. There are a few key components to cultivating mindfulness and meditation techniques and working them into your day:
- Pay attention to your breathing
- Notice sights, sounds, smells, and feeling
- Remember that your thoughts and emotions do not define you
- Slow down, recognize physical sensation around you
- Go for a slow walk