Be a Happier Driver: 10 Ways Being Thankful Impacts Mental Health

“I think the first question we should ask ourselves is “what IS gratitude”? When you look up the definition it talks about kindness, but to me what is most important is gratitude is the act in which we “return” kindness. 

10 Ways Being Thankful Impacts Mental Health

Gratitude is what keeps the cycle of kindness going.

It not only returns the favor to the giver of kindness, but it can transfer it to the next in line. It makes me think of the concept of Random Acts of Kindness, which are really gifts to someone new in the form of kindness that one was shown from another. Gratitude keeps us in that cycle of kindness towards one another. And when we step out of that cycle that is typically when you see people start to only think of themselves. Where the mountains in their own lives get too high to see over or even look back from and kindly help another up. And that not only affects their health but those around them as well. 

An article from VeryWellMind noted that “gratitude is a positive emotion that involves being thankful and appreciative and is associated with several mental and physical health benefits. When you experience gratitude, you feel grateful for something or someone in your life and respond with feelings of kindness, warmth, and other forms of generosity.

They went on to say: “In general terms, gratitude stems from the recognition that something good happened to you, accompanied by an appraisal that someone, whether another individual or an impersonal source, such as nature or a divine entity, was responsible for it,” explain researchers Lúzie Fofonka Cunha, Lucia Campos Pellanda, and Caroline Tozzi Reppold in a 2019 article published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.”

What kinds of cycles are you caught up in? It might not be so bad to adopt this one.

This is where meditation comes in.

Meditation calls time out on us wherever we are in life to gain perspective, insight, and foresight. Meditation doesn’t necessarily change our lives, but rather changes our perspective on them and while we are currently in them. All the way down to our heart rate, our breath, and how we feel the feeling we currently have present in our bodies. 

 

As someone who has survived a life strangling eating disorder and several mental health obstacles, meditation and yoga allowed me to see that I wasn’t the only one. To see despite my own mountains, I could still offer a handout. And when I did, something magical happened…I felt good. And when I felt good, I wanted to do good. It made me more grateful and focused on the good rather than derailed and dismantled by the mountains. 

 

But unlike most. To me, meditation isn’t just sitting on a cushion for 20 minutes in a quiet room for 20 minutes twice a day. Meditation is the simple act of paying attention. Think of meditating in Times Square (pre-COVID). The busyness all around you and you standing still and observing. Not affected by the smells, sounds, sensations, or sights. You just take it in and appreciate it all. Notice it all, and notice your place in it all. Where instead of reacting, you are being present which will positively impact mental health.

So many of us are REACTING to life and that is because we are not in the moment, we are not practicing gratitude and this idea of a living meditation. We react when we are focused too much on the future and obsessing about the past. Your health is living proof of what being grateful and thankful can do for your life.

Try this:

A way to get back into the present moment is to take 30 seconds and mentally go through everything and everyone you can possibly think of and offer them a moment of gratitude. Feel it, see it, send it. Just like taking your medicine, this is your mental medicine.

So don’t just close yourself off in a room to practice meditation. See mediation as an opportunity to practice being present in your everyday life and that experience of being present will offer you the opportunity to practice gratitude through random acts of kindness. How? Because now you are more aware of the opportunities to do so. 

Be a Happier Driver: 10 Ways Being Thankful Impacts Mental Health health image

The health benefits of positive thinking and being thankful

Increased life span. Lower rates of depression. … Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease and stroke. Reduced risk of death from cancer.

The Mayo Clinic did research and discovered that positive thinking and gratitude create a great life!

Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. They found health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress and pain
  • Greater resistance to illnesses
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • Reduced risk of death from cancer
  • Reduced risk of death from respiratory conditions
  • Reduced risk of death from infections
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

You don’t need to be a yoga person, a spiritual guru, or go to church every day to practice the art of gratitude and thankfulness. Try it out for a few days and notice how you feel. It’s hard to be angry when you are offering out thanks. When you shift gears mentally you can impact mental health immidately.

For another Daily Dose of Hope check out the Mother Trucker Yoga LIFESTYLE JUMPSTART Membership Platform & APP where you get access to Hope regularly alongside health and fitness-focused videos, audios, and downloads to help you get the most of out of your day, every day!

Try us free for 30 days with the code: MTY30

 

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What Truck Drivers Need to Know About CBD

Emerging studies on the long-term effects of common prescription drugs (e.g. painkillers, corticosteroids) have raised significant public interest in natural alternatives to conventional medicine. Everything from turmeric capsules to essential oil-infused topical balms are now commonplace in American homes, and understandably so. However, it’s safe to say no natural compound has skyrocketed in popularity quite like cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD.

edited_What Truck Drivers Need to Know About CBD plant mother trucker yoga blog

What is CBD?

CBD is one of several chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. CBD is the primary cannabinoid in non-psychoactive varieties of cannabis, such as hemp. It is distinguishable from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in that it does not impair judgment or motor function as a side effect, which is commonly known as a “high.” CBD is currently being studied for a range of potential health benefits, which will be discussed in the next section.

 

There are plenty of different CBD products available today, including oils, tinctures, capsules, and edibles. You can also buy CBD concentrates — which are made from pure CBD extract — or isolates, which are CBD extracts with all other cannabis compounds removed entirely. Isolates come in both oil and powder forms; uses of CBD isolate powder include infusion into everything from smoothies to DIY soap bars.

 

So what can CBD do for you? In this post, we go over how CBD can benefit a large number of prospective users, as well as whether or not it’s right for truck driver health in particular.

 

A Look at The Scientific Literature

CBD has been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms of disorders characterized by chronic anxiety, mood disorders and seizures. It is also being studied for its role in relieving associated conditions of common diseases such as persistent nausea or dizziness from cancer treatment, mood swings from Alzheimer’s disease, muscle spasticity from multiple sclerosis or tremors from Parkinson’s disease.

 

Perhaps the most notable and well-documented aspect of CBD’s therapeutic potential is its natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It can be used as an add-on or supplementarily with conventional therapies and medications for a variety of chronic pain conditions including fibromyalgia, back pain and migraines. Users also report significant relief from chronic inflammatory disorders such as arthritis and gout. Truck driver health issues like these are very common.

 

How exactly does it work?

CBD is one of several cannabinoids whose effects are derived from their interaction with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a network of receptors categorized into groups; the cannabinoid-type 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid-type 2 (CB2) receptor groups are the most relevant. These receptor groups are primarily located in the nervous system, peripheral organs, and immune system.

 

The observable therapeutic effects are rooted in its modulatory influence on CB1 and CB2 receptors, which can positively affect the body’s sensitivity, uptake, and response to hormones (e.g. serotonin, dopamine) and neurotransmitters (e.g. cytokines, prostaglandins) which have beneficial implications on everything from pain or anxiety disorders to recurring sleep dysfunction.

 

Given its significant number of health-positive properties, lack of psychoactivity, and legal status across the United States, CBD has become incredibly popular among consumers from a variety of walks of life. However, it isn’t entirely without risks or downsides for truckers, which we’ll briefly go over below.

 

Should You Take CBD?

There’s a risk that these products could raise a red flag on an employer’s drug test for controlled substances. This is due to THC’s schedule I drug classification under the DEA’s drug scheduling system. Although CBD enjoys legal status across all 50 states at present, it still is a component of the cannabis plant, so less sophisticated test kits could detect it or other secondary cannabinoids as a false positive.

 

As of this writing, it’s not recommended to supplement with CBD without consulting your employer about it directly. After doing so, be sure to use only the isolates form. With all other cannabis cannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids removed, isolates significantly reduce the chances of a problematic drug test.

 

When Would CBD Be Right for You?

To completely avoid the risk of drug test issues, it might be best to avoid supplementation altogether until after retirement. Our Stiff Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream or Mini Acupressure Ball are examples of safe, risk-free options for managing pain. For inflammation, sleep dysfunction or tremors, there are also market alternatives to CBD. When it comes to truck driver health issues it’s important to play on the side of safety and never put your career on the line. 

edited_What Truck Drivers Need to Know About CBD STIFF Mother Trucker Marc Springer CBD

CBD is increasingly well established as a natural compound with impressive therapeutic potential. However, it isn’t without its risks in terms of workplace drug tests. Be sure to do your due diligence to find out if CBD supplementation is right for you.

Mental Health Awareness Month: Take A Breath Driver

Breathing is one of those things we all do, yet we rarely think about it; when a system like the respiratory works without us having to think about it or make it happen, it’s called “involuntary.”

The respiratory system has the unique ability to work all on its own without our help, unlike the muscular system, which works voluntarily.

This month is Mental Health Awareness Month and it’s a perfect time to tune in and tap into how powerful our breath actually is.

When we breathe, we get this precious gift called life.

Did you know?

We can survive 21 days without food, seven days without water but can only go one to three minutes without oxygen.

And at the 60-second mark, brain cells are already dying.

Yet after 20 years of teaching yoga to others, there is one thing I have come to find, many do not like to breathe.

 

I would often notice few would appreciate the art of breathing practices (pranayama) in yoga. You could see people start to fidget, become distracted, and even get annoyed at the idea that they weren’t “doing anything” during their yoga class. Yet without the ability to breathe, nothing on the yoga mat would even be possible. With May being mental health awareness month let’s take a few minutes today to focus in on simple strategies you can add to your daily routine today that cost you nothing and take minimal time and effort. 

It’s time you learn to breathe to improve your truck driver’s health!

Breathing is a tool. Those that learn to harness the device and tap into its vast abilities to improve, help and even heal the body get to reap the benefits of increased vitality, health, and happiness. But time and time again, I have observed others choose pills, alcohol, and even violence to manage what we all call stress or our emotions rather than tap into this tool we are all born with and have access to us at any given time. 

Stress can alter just about any system in the body if we allow it to. 

Stress management sign mother trucker yoga blog

Stress can:

  • Raise our blood pressure
  • Increase our heart rate
  • Increase our body temperature
  • Leave us in physical pain
  • Can decrease our immune system
  • Give us stomach discomfort
  • Make it difficult to sleep
  • Can affect your libido 
  • Tense your muscles 
  • Cause weight gain 
  • Burden your nervous system
  • Leave shallow breathing

When is the last time you felt the effects of any of the above and thought you should practice deep breathing? 

When my oldest son was small, and he’d get stressed out, the first thing I would have him do is deep breathing. Three deep breaths, I’d say, and we’d do them together. He’s now nearly a teenager, and I have observed him repeatedly defaulting to deep breathing when he is stressed, angry, frustrated, or can’t sleep. He automatically uses this incredible tool we all walk around with every day but rarely tap use voluntarily. 

The average American breathes with less than 18% of their lung capacity. That’s what I like to call clavicle breathing. It’s no wonder we are a stressed-out, upset, unhealthy out touch society. I say these are the very things I have felt before yoga and learning how to tap into my breathing. And the same things I think when I’m not in my body, using my breathing, and feeling grounded in my skin. 

How do we breathe?

The average person takes about ten breaths per minute; that’s an average of 22,000-24,000 breaths per day. That’s a lot of breathing. And when we breathe, we inhale necessary oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide and toxins that our body wants to remove. When we breathe, our lungs expand and take in air, and our diaphragm lowers and expands as well, taking in oxygen to then be distributed out to the millions of cells throughout our body that need that fresh oxygen to live. 

Dr. James Hoyt, a pulmonologist, says, “Our respiratory muscles don’t have the luxury of being out of shape.” Yet how many people can say with certainty that they use them, work them, build them like their bicep regularly? There is a saying, “use it or lose it,” and it fits here with our breathing. 

 A recent study in the Journal of Neurophysiology may support this, revealing that several brain regions linked to emotion, attention, and body awareness are activated when we pay attention to our breath.

And, also nearly every system in the body is connected to our respiratory system or breathing. 

  • Our metabolism increases when we practice deep breathing.
  • Our autonomic nervous system regulates when we deep breathe.
  • Our digestion can settle and improve when deep breathing.
  • Our muscles relax and get total oxygen, helping them not to cramp.
  • Our lymphatic systems become stimulated, hand and hand, with our immune system, both stimulated when we breathe.
  • Our body is fully oxygenated when we deep breathe.

And one of our deep breathing’s most impressive features is that it stimulates our vegas nerve. 

What is the vagus nerve?

The vagus nerve is the longest of the cranial nerves, extending from the brainstem to the abdomen through multiple organs, including the heart, esophagus, and lungs.

It controls the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which contains your relaxation response. Most people never breathe deep enough to stimulate this impressive nerve.

We need the vagus nerve to be alive and working because the vagus nerve controls your mood, heart rate, digestion, and immune response. Stimulating your vagus nerve can help to regulate many functions in your body.

Vagus nerve stimulation has been linked to treating epilepsy, improving digestive conditions, reducing inflammation, and managing anxiety disorders.

The journal Frontiers in Neuroscience reported in 2018 that the poor function of the vagus nerve could lead to mood and anxiety disorders. But most importantly, when you stimulate the vagus nerve, you can reduce anxiety, stress, and mood disorders. All of this can happen when you learn to breathe more deeply and more often. 

WAKE UP, PEOPLE! BREATHING IS FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where does your breathing fall?

Clavicle Breathers: 

Those that breathe only into the upper chest, throat, and shoulders. These breathers often have lifted shoulders and a tense neck. 

Chest Breathers: 

Those that breathe into the center of the chest. 

Abdominal Breathers: 

Those that breathe deep into the belly and feel their lungs and abdomen expand freely. 

We have forgotten our unique ability to help and heal ourselves. When you were a baby, no one had to tell you how to breathe, yet there you were, breathing so deeply that your entire torso was expanding and contracting every breath you took. I have listened and watched my children as infants, and now adolescents get upset and even cry only to default to their breathing to calm them down. It’s in you; you have done it; you have just forgotten how to do it. 

Deep Abdominal Breathing Technique:

This is the perfect technique to try for Mental Health Awareness Month.

  1. Sitting tall or lying down comfortably, place one hand on your belly and one hand on your heart/chest. 
  2. Exhale completely through your mouth and hear your breath move out of your body. 
  3. Inhale through your nose move your breath deeply into your lower hand (belly) and feel it expand. Continue to move your breath up to notice your upper hand (chest) rise. 
  4. Exhale slowly move the air out, feeling your belly collapse and your chest lower (in any order). 
  5. Soften your jaw and relax your body, focus on fully emptying your belly when you exhale, and fully expand when you inhale. 
  6. Work yourself up towards a count of four counts on the inhale and eight on the exhale. 
  7. Repeat this for two to five minutes. 
  8. Anytime your mind wanders, bring it back to your breathing. 
  9. Allow yourself to hear your breath each time you inhale and exhale. 

How to do deep abdominal breathing

To improve your truck driver health, continue this practice daily in the morning to wake up, when you are feeling stressed, waiting in traffic (minus the hands-on your body), or before you go to sleep to help you relax. 

You have tools to help you breathe, relax, fall asleep. The real question is, are you using them? 

Take inventory since it’s mental health awareness month, how is your breathing?

Deep Abdominal Breathing Benefits:

 Various deep abdominal breathing forms have been linked to cardiovascular benefits, including increased blood flow and improved blood pressure. Deep breathing is also a helpful tool for relaxation and sleep. Taking deep breaths can also help you manage stress and improve cognitive function like brain fog and lack of focus and concentration.

If every tool you are reaching for is outside of yourself, let me ask you, have you tried the tools you were born with? The tools you were given and are the very tools that make this life possible? The tool I am talking about is your breathing. 

Try This:

For one week, practice deep abdominal breathing at least one time a day. Work to practice it at the same time each day. Set the alarm on your phone or in your calendar and make it a priority. All too often, we say something doesn’t work or help, and we have never really tried it, let alone given it the attention required to see results. 

Trucking yoga can be as simple as paying attention to your breathing. Truck driver health does not need to be complicated. And you benefit from it the most!

After seven days, come back and let us know how you did. What changed, what you noticed or found. Every month can be mental health awareness month, don’t let your mental health slip away.

Now take a deep breath and start living! 

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Resources:

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_focusing_on_the_breath_does_to_your_brain

https://www.uchealth.org/today/understanding-breathing-and-the-importance-of-taking-a-deep-breath/

https://www.healthline.com/health/facts-about-stress#25.-Past-experiences-can-cause-stress-later-in-life

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.n

https://www.consumerreports.org/mental-health/ways-to-manage-stress/ih.go

Four Ways To Cope When The Cost Of Living Skyrockets

One of the scariest things happening right now, is the cost of living going up. It doesn’t matter whether you work full time, you work part-time, or you are burning yourself out and working seven days a week. Every single person is dealing with the cost of living crisis right now. It is normal for prices to gradually increase over time, but right now we are all watching in horror as energy prices, gas prices, food prices, car cost prices – everything – is going up. It’s all happening at once, and you need to know how to mentally cope with the changes that are happening right now. The worst part? The wages are not going up to match the new cost of living.

 

You need to be able to deal with the cost of living going up, and that is not an easy thing to do. Your mental health is likely to take a nosedive if you already worry about your income and your outgoings. The chances are that you are already stretched. You are already working hard to try to make ends meet. While we can’t fix the way you’re going to feel about the cost of living crisis, we can offer four ways for you to financially cope when the cost of living starts to skyrocket. Let’s take a look.

  • Start working on a new budget. If you’ve been getting letters telling you that your energy prices are rising, and you have noticed that the food prices in the supermarkets are going up, you need to start working on your new budget now. Create a spreadsheet or even just a handwritten list of all of the things that you pay for every month. A new budget now will help you to plan better later.

 

  • Make some swaps. As you go through your monthly expenses, you may notice that you could be making some swaps for cheaper items – non-branded food instead of branded, for example. You could look at getting an appraisal for your current car with Edmunds, and see whether or not you could afford a new car that’s secondhand and sell your old one. If you can understand the car prices better, you’ll be able to save money on how much you spend on your monthly car repayment. This may sound like a drastic idea, but with the cost of living going up the best thing to do is to free up a few hundred dollars every month. But of course, you don’t want to get rid of your Mother Trucker Yoga LIFESTYLE JUMPSTART Membership Platform and APP as it can replace a gym membership, DVDs, and training all from the comfort of your own truck!

 

  • Check your subscriptions. There is every chance that you are subscribing to services that you very rarely or no longer use. If that’s the case it’s time to stop spending money on them. Go through your bank accounts and see your regular repayments and then cut back. If you pay for the five different streaming services, then cut it down to one.
  • Add more income. If you’re good at baking, writing, sewing – really, any hobby – then you should monetize it when you can. Yes, you will be working harder than ever, but if it’s going to protect you from losing your home, then it’s one of the best things you can do.

No matter what the economy will do what it does and it is critical that you take time for yourself and also practice self-care so when tough decisions come around you are of sound mind and calm sports to do the next right thing!

 

Keeping Your Mind Sharp: International Brain Health Week

It’s International Brain Health Awareness Week

(March 14-20, 2022)

Let’s celebrate by taking care of our brain health!

“Even before you leave the womb, your brain works throughout your life to control your body’s functions and helps you understand and interact with the world around you”.  When you focus on maintenance for your brain you will then help your mind stay focused, clear, and alert when you need it to and train your brain to respect downtime play, and rest when needed!

As truckers you know the importance of heart health, but what about brain health?

Brain health is all about maintaining and reducing risk factors and respecting the machine within. As we get older our brains when not taken care of properly can begin to show their wear which can affect your health, happiness, and overall functionality.

 

How do you keep your brain sharp as a truck driver?

What do you do to maintain and sharpen your brain and mind? Many take this for granted earlier in life but just as important as it is to learn new things, so is it important to give your brain a break, and learn to rest your brain.

Does your brain need sharpening?

Does your brain need resting?

Does your brain need maintenance?

Amazing Study

2.4 million people downloaded an app and played a game called the Sea Hero Quest that involved memory from age 19-75 years old; it was the only study of its kind. After these participants played the game, the research was astounding. 

 

“One key early finding, presented at a meeting of neuroscientists in the US, was that navigational ability begins to decline much earlier than was previously thought – possibly from as young as 19. The study found that 19-year-old game players had a 74% chance of accurately hitting a maritime target. By the age of 75, this figure had fallen to 46%.” 

 

And already, at age 20, our strategic memory recall is beginning to decline, and we may not even know it. 

 

The data published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences notes that our peak mental performance is typically at age 35 and then declines by 10% ten years after that. 

 

We need to sharpen our brains regularly. It’s backward thinking in our culture today rather than thinking of brain health as “preventative care,” thinking of it as sharpening and maintenance. 

Brain Health Mother Trucker Yoga Blog Eat Real Food

What Causes Our Brain to Age?

 

Researchers have discovered several factors that speed up brain aging. Things like obesity, especially in midlife, can accelerate brain aging by ten years! And add in our populations’ high intake of sugar, diet sodas all contribute to poor brain health. But that’s not the only thing that can affect brain health as we age.

Living a sedentary lifestyle, eating a highly-processed diet, not socializing, irregular poor sleep, and not practicing self-care, stress-relieving activities can affect how our brain ages. When it comes to truck driver health what you eat plays a large role in how you feel and how your brain functions, but often gets the back seat to other issues. 

 

Truck Driver Health: 5 Practices to Sharpen Brain Health: 

1. Get out and move

Where can you fit in just 5 or 10 minutes of movement into your day? Don’t overcomplicate it; just move, dance, walk, squat, anything, just move! You don’t realize it, but your brain is tracking with you every step of the way, and that extra boost of oxygen and serotonin, dopamine, and neurotransmitters going straight to your brain doesn’t hurt either. 

2. Socialize

When is the last time you talked with that one friend, your mom, your brother, or rolled down the window and said “hey”? Isolation leads to a decline in our cognitive abilities. Socializing can help improve and impact thinking, memory, and behavior. Just like a young child needs others around him/her to mimic and encourage the developmental process, so does our aging population and those in-between.  

3. Eat real food

When we have a disease, what we have is a deficiency. What do you lack that has caused our body to malfunction. Our bodies are like trucks; we require certain maintenance to our parts, specific fluids, lubricants, and fuel to run optimally. You would never consider skimping on what you fuel your truck with because you know the consequences. If you are living in dis-ese or stress what are you lacking, and how can you refill it? The best and fastest way is to eat living food because you are alive. 

4. Get better quality sleep.

It’s not that you necessarily need more sleep but rather better quality of sleep. What do you need to do to improve the quality of your sleep? Better mattress? Darker room? Headphones with relaxing music? Essential oils? When it comes to sleep, focus on quality instead of quantity. 

5. Engage in de-stressing activities

Stress has become a badge of honor like the girl scouts or boy scouts badges when they sell cookies and build a soapbox car. My advice, slow down to speed up. More is not better, and the more stressed your system is, the less effective you will be, and you will begin to see your body, mind, and actions slow. Consider a walk without your phone, deep breathing, relaxing music, meditation, yoga, a shower, or going to bed early. These may seem small and insignificant, but they can make a huge difference. When you take time for yourself, you make time for the essential things in life. This is why Mother Trucker Yoga focuses on small simple changes and moves that you can do in 5 minutes or less and even things you can do safely while driving. [Try us out for FREE use the code: MTY30 for a FREE 30 days!]

6. Choose intellectually stimulating activities

Do hard things. I’m not talking about an Iron Man, but rather things that challenge you. This is where technology can help! Memory game apps, puzzles (electronic or physical), even crosswords, word searches, board games, and cards are all good ways to keep your mind sharp. If you have kids, don’t just let them plop down on the couch and watch T.V. have family game night. If you are on the road, pull out that pen and do a crossword puzzle. These are time-tested practices that will keep your mind at its best. 

Puzzles for Brain Health Mother Trucker Yoga Blog

Don’t wait. We live in a world that is trained to respond to our health in the form of sick care. But the way to address our aging brain is to practice preventative care and create consistency in our health and health practices. 

 

Don’t wait until you see a decline to make a change in your brain health. 

Don’t wait until you feel less sharp to seek help. 

Don’t wait until you need extra care to decide to care. 

Don’t wait. 

As a driver, truck driver health is essential. And out a fully functioning brain, you may find yourself struggling to safely stay in your lane.

Are you looking for more ways to improve your health, mental clarity, and longevity? 

Check out Mother Trucker Yoga LIFESTYLE JUMPSTART Membership Platform & APP.

Easy videos are designed specifically with a driver’s needs in mind.

No fancy gym.

No expensive equipment.

No stress.

Try us for FREE!

Use code: MTY30 for a FREE 30 days!

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References:

https://www.mirror.co.uk/science/scientists-reveal-age-your-brain-9274294

https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/this-is-the-exact-age-when-your-brain-function-starts-to-decline

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319185#Therapies-to-help-slow-brain-aging

Truck Driver Health: February Heart Health Awareness Month

This month is Heart Health Awareness Month, and we want every driver out there to be healthy. And to help with that, here are some strategies to consider to improve your truck driver’s health for life!

The human heart is a powerful thing. It’s a vital organ we cannot see but can feel. And unlike other organs in the body, our heart is one of our body’s most central parts. It is the mecca center for our emotional well-being and is often associated with social, mental, and emotional “heartache” or “happy heart” experiences in life. Our heart is central to all we do, feel, and experience. What you eat, how you behave, what you drink, how well you sleep, genetics (but let’s not just go and blame them), and how much you move all play into heart health. There are a wide variety of truck driver health issues and heart disease is one of them. 

Today we will discuss the signs of heart issues and preventive measures you can start taking today to take back your health.

 

But our heart is more than that; our heart is a vital organ responsible for keeping us alive. It pumps oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout your body to sustain life. An organ no more significant than our fist beats (expands and contracts) 100,000 times per day, pumping five or six quarts of blood each minute, or about 2,000 gallons per day. THAT’S CRAZY! 

 

Did you know about 2,200 Americans die each day from cardiovascular diseases? That’s about one every 40 seconds. And when not taken care of properly, we are putting our bodies at risk for a slew of complications. 

 

When it comes to truck driver health issues, drivers are especially at risk for heart disease. In a study posted by the CDC, 26% of truck drivers said they had hypertension versus the 24% totaling the rest of the US working population. It is not uncommon to read about a story of a truck driver who went to bed in his truck and didn’t wake up the following day and climb out. Heart attacks are often the primary cause of this all too familiar scenario.

 

There are many reasons why being a driver is so hard on the heart, the stress of driving, the long hours, lack of (cardiovascular) activity, unhealthy diet, and a high sodium diet. But other factors may include diabetes, smoking, alcohol consumption, chronic dehydration, and bad cholesterol, which impact heart health. Truck driver health is not just you go going to the doctor to get your card, it’s about what you do each day you are out on the road. We need you and we need you to be a health driver.

 

Self-care on any level can often be the difference between living a healthy life and not. But even more importantly, waking up the following day or not. Do not be ignorant of this growing health concern. If you choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle, you choose health complications to be in your future you may not have truck driver health issues now, but many times, those issues are only waiting to rise to the surface.

Being a truck driver does not give you a free pass to extended care about your health. I have had the honor of working with thousands of truck drivers over the last four years, and most of them have come to realize that they can have both: a healthy lifestyle and trucking. It’s a choice, and you, my friend, get to choose. 

 

Know the Signs to improve truck driver health: 

When it comes to truck driver health, you are alone much of the time, which means self-responsibility is critical when you are at risk of a heart attack. You need to know the signs. Just like you need to know how to change a tire on your truck, replace a windshield wiper, or back up. You may be able to ask for help 99% of the time, and maybe you never have yet to rely on those “what if” skills. But for the time you do, why not be ready. 

5 Signs to Pay Attention to for Truck Driver Health and Heart Health Awareness

  • Dull ache chest pains are not to be confused with indigestion, which is often more abrupt and acidic.
  • Rapid heartbeat, it’s essential to know your situation, are there other reasons that could be causing this right now)
  • Pain in the arm and heart sends signals to surrounding nerves to alarm the body owner that something isn’t right. 
  • Jaw and or neck pain, which blood clots can often cause. It’s important to rule out things like clenching oral issues like cavities.
  • Others include irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, tiredness, even depression or anxiety due to the sudden hormonal changes in your body. 

 

Trucking can be a lonely profession; the next time you are at a truck stop and strike up a conversation, be kind, ask how their day is going and how they have been feeling, encourage them to take care of themselves. You never know when a kind word of encouragement from a stranger is just what the doctor ordered. By understanding the signs, you could save your life or even the life of a fellow driver. 

 

February is Heart Health Awareness Month, and it’s the perfect time for you to lace up your shoes, grab hold of the steering wheel, and change lanes towards better health. It’s never too late. 

Trucking Health: February Heart Association Awareness Month mother trucker yoga blog

Tips for Preventative Heart Health Care During Heart Health Awareness Month 

 

  1. Quit smoking. Yes, easier said than done, but as a recovering addict, I suggest starting slow. How about one less cigarette per day? Or how about swapping out a cigarette for a hemp one? There are dozens of programs and nicotine replacements to try out. The most important thing is is “try,” you won’t know until you try.
  2. Exercise. Yes, get up and get moving do a little trucking yoga, or get in a truck driver workout. Simple practices like walking build up heart health and help you burn more calories, get you breathing more profound, and as a truck driver, you have the advantage of getting outside and walking. Sure it might be a parking lot, but at least you are walking! A 200-pound man can burn right around 90 calories from just 30 minutes of a moderate to brisk-paced walk.
  3. Get more sleep. Quality sleep is crucial for our entire body to function optimally. Things like a quality mattress, a sleep mask, making sure you are warm enough and have the right amount of blankets on hand, even headphones to listen to relaxing music can make a mobile environment parked in a truck idling parking lot a bit more tranquil, and your heart will say thank you.
  4. Manage your stress. What can you do starting today to de-stress your life? Now don’t say quit your job, although that might help. What else can you take care of in your life to help curb your stress level? When you stop and take a step back, you can often see the accumulation of little things that create that stress bubble lingering in your life. How about limiting social media? When you feel down, depressed, lonely, or angry, call a friend who will listen and help steer you back to a healthy mindset. Drink a glass of water, smile; it’s hard to be angry or unhappy when you smile (it’s true our brain wants to be happy when we smile). 
  5. Eat healthily. You are surrounded by fast-food restaurants and limited healthy food options. But that doesn’t mean you can’t eat healthily; it just means you have to put in a little extra effort. Try stocking up on nuts, seeds, fruit, and veggies like carrot sticks or celery; they travel well and give you that crunch you crave without the added calories and heart-threatening ingredients. Could you buy a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a fried one? Can you skip the fries and as for a side salad rather? Many fast-food restaurants will customize an order, but they won’t offer it; you have to ask first. No one is asking you to be perfect, and no one is requesting you never eat fast food again, but is there a healthier option available-pick that. 

Truck Driver Health: February Heart Association Awareness Month Mother Trucker Yoga Blog - signs

What you can do today to improve truck driver health issues like heart health:

Your health is in your hands—one of the most empowering things we can do as humans to take back our health. You may have been making poor heart health choices up to this point, and it’s time to make a shift. You can do this, here at Mother Trucker Yoga® we believe that it’s the small simple changes that lead to the big results so you can feel good again™. Don’t wait until it’s too late, take action, and what better time than during heart health awareness month. 

Join the movement and join other drivers just like you who want to improve their health one step at a time.

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CLICK HERE TO learn more about our NEW Membership Platform and APP – Mother Trucker Yoga LIFESTYLE JUMPSTART
Use the code: MTY30 for a FREE 30 days!

Easy Ways To Be More Confident On The Road

Driving as a career path can be an appealing prospect, especially in our current day and age. There is a great need for more drivers in our current economy, and for those that are drivers, they have made a career out of it. 

You don’t just have to drive an eighteen-wheeler. Many truckers, taxi drivers, bus drivers, and other professionals make a living with it.

To excel in these roles, you’ll need to be confident on the road. That’s relatively easy for people who’ve been driving for years. 

If you plan on making a living driving, you’ll need to know how to be more confident on the road. As a relatively new driver, however, that could not be easy. Confidence is the root of most of your success in a driving career, and most talk about the skills you need as a critical driver. But without confidence, those won’t be put to their best use. Driver wellness programs and CDL schools would be a great place to focus on confidence and create it.

Have you ever taken a class on confidence? What if that would have given you the tools to stay in the driver’s seat for the long haul? 

There are a few specific ways that you can do this.

Easy Ways To Be More Confident On The Road mother trucker yoga blog post

How To Be More Confident On The Road Without many efforts

Know Your Route

A significant reason that people can worry or not be confident when driving is that they don’t know how to get where they want to. Planning this out in advance can be recommended. Planning is a learned behavior, if you are a person constantly reacting to life rather than taking action in life, this may not be natural, but that doesn’t mean impossible. 

Truck drivers need to adapt constantly, and although your plan can change instantly, having a baseline plan can help keep confidence strong.

This is also a more minor worry than you’d think with modern technology. You can use various apps to guide you to where you need to go. What apps are your favorite for driver navigation?

There are dozens of options:

  • Google Maps.
  • Waze.
  • Trucker Path.
  • CoPilot GPS/CoPilot Mobile Navigation.
  • SmartTruckRoute.
  • DAT
  • PTV Navigator.
  • inRoute.

And there are many more.

These shouldn’t be distracting, as they’re designed specifically for drivers. You’ll not only find the best route to take, but you wouldn’t need to spend much time figuring it out. Not every driver and app has its positives and negatives, so talk to other drivers and see what they think. A driver wellness program would be a great place to talk about lifestyle planning, including trip planning and guiding drivers towards a better way to respond when things don’t go well.

You could also use a few other apps to make your driving experience more manageable.

 

Make Sure You’re Covered

One of the most significant reasons people are nervous drivers is because they’re worried about accidents. That’s natural and relatively common. 

In many cases, these accidents are relatively minor, but it can mean big dollars when a commercial vehicle is involved.

It’s worth having a car accident lawyer to help you with anything that comes up. As unlikely as accidents happen, having a professional there to help you can be vital. Talk to your company or driver wellness program coordinator if the company you work for has one, and if you want to talk to them about scenarios to ease your nerves, it might be worth it. 

The same can also be said for insurance. Having both of these will ensure that there shouldn’t be anything for you to worry about. Don’t hesitate to talk with your insurance agent and ask the hard questions. If you are a part of a driver wellness program, tell your insurance agent, you could qualify for lower rates and build your confidence at the same time.

Practice, Practice, Practice

You’ve likely heard that practice makes perfect before. That’s typically when it comes to developing a skill, such as learning the guitar.

It’s also true with driving. The more you do it, the better you’ll be. That’s why beginners have to take so many lessons before they’re legally able to drive.

If you’re not a confident driver, then it’s worth spending time practicing. There’ll likely be a few places near you where you can do so.

Alternatively, you could practice in your local area regularly. Doing this on any route you’ll typically have to take can be recommended.

With time, you’ll be much more confident than you are now.

How To Be More Confident On The Road: Wrapping Up

Figuring out how to be more confident on the road can be overwhelming. You could have multiple worries in your mind and find yourself struggling with leaving those stressors at home. Try to relax and breathe and take it one day at a time. 

Getting past this doesn’t have to be difficult, however. Each of the above steps can be more than helpful. And if you aren’t yet, consider practicing meditation or trucking yoga to help build confidence and reduce stress. 

Mother Trucker Yoga LIFESTYLE JUMPSTART App and platform image

You are not alone. The longer you’re driving, the more confident you’ll be. Surround yourself with other seasoned drivers and never be afraid to ask questions and share concerns.

Keeping safe will be a priority, regardless of how confident you are.

Mother Trucker Yoga Driver Spotlight Dean Key

We are continuing our Truck Driver Appreciation Spotlight. And we are so excited to feature another fantastic driver!

Each of the drivers we feature has been interviewed about their lives to help others see how unique and hard trucking is. And today is another significant share!

It’s our truck drivers who keep our great country running strong. Many of these men and women go unnoticed, not because they aren’t important, but because what they do doesn’t live in a fancy building or doesn’t require a cap and gown.

Our driver being spotlighted today started as in our Your Wellness Pitstop Program over a  year ago because he wanted to improve his life, and now he has become a personal friend and is one hell of a driver!

 

Meet Dean Key!

On Facebook & Insta, you can find him as Dean.key.67

And on Snapchat, Dean is known as lazerdino67

Dean Key

QUESTION 1: How long have you been driving?

Answer: Dean has been driving for 37 years! That’s a lot! WOW!

 

QUESTION 2: What do you love most about being a truck driver?

Answer: Driving those trucks and seeing the country!

 

DID YOU KNOW?

ATA Names 36 Professional Drivers as Finalists for 2022-23 America’s Road Team

American Trucking Associations released the list of 36 professional truck drivers named as finalists for the 2022-2023 term of America’s Road Team.

“These men and women were selected as finalists for America’s Road Team because they have outstanding safe driving records, share a passion for the trucking industry, and are role models among their peers,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “We owe these professional drivers our gratitude. Without them the American economy would come to a halt.”

America’s Road Team, a group of professional truck drivers with superior safety records, was created in 1986 to represent the trucking industry and is sponsored by Volvo Trucks. With support from their companies, captains dedicate a few days each month to attend industry events, speak at schools, or meet policymakers on behalf of the trucking industry.

AND DEAN KEY IS ONE OF THOSE FINALISTS!

For a list of all the finalists, you can visit ATA’s website for more information on America’s Road Team.

 

But Dean is a family man. He loves his wife Lori and spending time with his grandkids! We love that about you, Dean!

Dean Key Mother Trucker Yoga Driver Spotlight

 

QUESTION 3: Trucking is hard. Why do you keep on trucking?

Answer: Love them trucks! And, it’s pretty hard to replace the money.

QUESTION 4: What do you want to say to new upcoming drivers in the industry?

Always be a professional. Make good decisions and keep yourself and everyone around you safe. Sometimes you need to step away from a situation and let it go.
And knowing Dean personally, that is one thing I love about him, always professional, always nicely dressed, and ready for anything!

QUESTION: What is your favorite truck stop?

Answer: Dean is a fan of the Kwik Trip/Kwik Stars. They are nice and clean, and they carry a nice variety of grocery store items.

Dean, as a gal from Wisconsin, I couldn’t agree more! #kwiktripforlife

 

Find a Kwik Trip HERE

QUESTION 7: What would make trucking easier for you and other drivers?

ANSWER: If ALL drivers would respect and be kind to each other.

Kindness is such an excellent tool for overall happiness in our lives! Dean, great advice!

Dean Key and Hope Zvara Mother Trucker Yoga

That is excellent advice, and did you know Mother Trucker Yoga is teaming up with various players in the trucking industry to help streamline health and wellness for drivers! Make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter to get up-to-date information. 

 

QUESTION 8: What do you do, if anything, to try to stay healthy on the road?

ANSWER: I park in the back of the truck stop, and right now, I’m trying to cook in my truck, walk more and stretch more. I’m also trying to quit drinking soda and eating processed foods that are my biggest weakness.

 

Driver Tip:

Bringing food with you can seem daunting. But start small. What snacks and non-perishable foods can you travel with? Unsalted, raw nuts, seeds mixed with a small handful of dried fruits is a delicious way to stay complete with limited space on your truck. Are you worried about overeating? Prepackaged those nuts and seeds in snack-size bags or containers, so you don’t overeat out of boredom or stress.

Dean had a final thought he wanted everyone to know.

There is tons of negativity in our world today and in the trucking industry. You have to shake it off, make up your mind, and roll with it. Trucking has been good to me and many others. As with anything, it is what you make of it!

Please share with us!

What do you like most about the trucking industry?

Have a comment to share with Idella or our readers?

Please share it in the comments below!

 

Mother Trucker Yoga® wants to help 1 million drivers change lanes in their health and fitness by 2031.

To get involved with Mother Trucker Yoga’s mission and help drivers just like you incorporate driver fitness into their lives. Contact us!

Read our other Driver Spotlights:

VW Lady Trucker https://www.mothertruckeryoga.com/2021/09/14/mother-trucker-driver-spotlight-vw-lady-trucker/

Flatbed Foodie https://www.mothertruckeryoga.com/2021/10/10/mother-trucker-yoga-driver-spotlight-flatbed-foodie/

Marc Iverson https://www.mothertruckeryoga.com/2021/10/06/mother-trucker-yoga-driver-spotlight-mark-iverson/ 

Idella Hansen  https://www.mothertruckeryoga.com/2021/10/17/mother-trucker-yoga-driver-spotlight-idella-hansen/

Jame “Sweet Pea” https://www.mothertruckeryoga.com/2021/11/17/mother-trucker-yoga-driver-spotli-sweet-peaght/

Healthy Habits to Start the New Year off the Right Way

Working as a truck driver has many benefits, but there is no doubt it is a career choice that can impact your health. Truck driving is a high-pressure role that brings a fair amount of stress to deal with during your working day. The pressure to deliver on time when dealing with circumstances outside of your control can pile on the stress, yet the stress truck drivers face often overlooked. Aside from the mental pressure that truck drivers are exposed to, physical health concerns can damage your health. As driving is a sedentary job, the risk factors for certain diseases are elevated, and truck driver health can be a challenge to put first. Diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure are all associated with a sedentary lifestyle, so being aware of this and taking action to lower your risk factors is vital. 

Healthy Habits to Start the New Year off the Right Way Mother Trucker Yoga Blog 1

Developing healthy habits to improve truck driver health and then maintaining them is crucial to staying at your best when you are a truck driver. Working as a truck driver does not always make it easy to be healthy, but it can support your physical health and wellbeing. So, if you are keen to make this year your healthiest one yet, and to get it off to a great start, here are some of the ways you can make this happen:

 

Deal With Unhealthy Habits First

 

Developing new positive habits is crucial to ensure you get your health on track in the new year. However, it is also essential to address existing habits that may be harming your health. Being stuck in a cycle of negative behavior can sabotage your attempts at being healthier. This can leave you trapped in a negative cycle of behavior, which makes it more challenging to stick with your new positive habits. So, it is a wise idea to take action and deal with these unhealthy habits from the start of the new year so you can move forward more healthily. Seeking professional help from a center such as Sunshine Behavioral Health is an excellent way to get the help and support needed to break free from negative behavior patterns. With the right help, you should soon enjoy all the benefits of a healthier body and mind.

 

Try Mindfulness and Meditation to Lower Your Stress Levels

 

One of the most frustrating parts of being a truck driver is being stuck in tailbacks. Delivering your job late and being sat in a tailback can send your stress levels rising and put you under intense pressure. These feelings of stress not only feel unpleasant, but they could also be damaging your physical health. People who experience chronic stress may be at an increased risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke and are also more likely to experience feelings of irritability and have trouble sleeping. To reduce the risk of these issues, it is vital to take a proactive approach to managing your stress levels. 

 

Mindfulness and meditation can be a great help if you are trying to reduce your stress levels and are among the most effective methods when focusing on truck driver health. Mindfulness and meditation are beneficial, as they are helpful ways to focus your mind on the present moment and stop your thoughts from running away with you. The great thing about using these methods is that you do not need special equipment. Guided meditations and relaxation can be carried out comfortably in your cab, making them an ideal opportunity to reduce your stress levels and improve your wellbeing.

 

Make Physical Exercise Part of Your Routine

 

Working a sedentary job can be considered bad for your health, and you may become tired of all the advice telling you to make time to exercise during your workday. Getting up to move around every once in a while is not possible when you are sitting behind your truck’s wheel. However, learning how to stretch and move when you are in your cab can help you feel so much better and increase your activity levels. Research shows that being active outside of a sedentary job can help reduce the risks associated with long periods of sitting. So, learning how to exercise when you are in the cab, being active outside of work hours, and using guided meditation to reduce your stress levels could provide many benefits for your physical and mental health. Combining each of these methods will help you begin your journey to better health and get your year off to the very best start.

 

Resting & Relaxing Is An Essential Part Of Getting Fit As A Driver

It might seem as though relaxing and sleeping well are totally opposed to getting fit as a driver. After all, you’re not building muscle, flexibility, or endurance when laying down and resting, and certainly not when you’re snoozing.

Actually, you are. Lifting weights, for example, doesn’t build muscle. It tears your muscles down incrementally so that you can then recover with a higher protein diet. It provides a stress response t that builds then said muscle in your rest and relaxation periods.

For this reason, then, any excellent fitness habit, be that yoga, running, cycling, rowing, swimming, or lifting weights, is simply incomplete and will burn you out quickly if you find you’re unable to get the rest you need.

How should we regard this truth, then? Well, it’s important to make a worthwhile schedule regarding your fitness habits. This should include rest days. In this post, we’ll discuss the value of that, some advice to help you along, and suggestions for what to do on your rest days to aid your future workouts.

Without further ado, let’s consider:

A Worthwhile Diet

Many people think getting fit means limiting your diet and basically only ever eating rabbit food, but that’s not true. Sure, eating is often indulgent, but a proper diet helps you balance some of those issues. For instance, eating a high protein, relatively low carb diet with plenty of green vegetables, both fibrous and leafy, can help you feel more satiated. And when it comes to truck driver health, you must monitor what you eat because you aren’t moving much during the day.

That lack of movement can add weight when you consume more than you are burning. Switching up your morning breakfast for steel-cut oats can help you feel fuller for longer. And truck driver health foods that are travel friendly and can be made with little effort like steel-cut oats make eating healthy for a driver easy. Foods like this can be the start of a fantastic relationship with food,, learning to cook wholesome meals, and feeling amazing as a result.

With the holidays around the corner, it can be stressful to figure out what to eat. Check out our blog – Healthy Holiday Survival Guide: 5 Simple Strategies.

Light Walking & Stretching

Of course, avoiding all physical activity on your rest days isn’t necessarily what we’re going for here. A nice light walk with the dog, some light stretching, and using equipment like foam rollers can be a big helper here. Perhaps you could even use this time to practice your discipline and learn more about it. For instance, understanding the best yoga phrases to use can help you understand this discipline more intimately. That kind of approach can work wonders for all those reasons and more.

If you are looking for ways to motivate yourself to get out and away and aren’t sure how to structure your activities check out Mother Trucker Yoga’s Walking Challenge. THIS IS a FREE 30 Day guide to getting out and walking more. This is the perfect way to start your new path towards trucking fitness.

Perfect Your Sleep Habits

Sleep is one of the best things you can get right for staying healthy and fit, but it depends on your schedule. Eight hours is generally recommended for most adult people. Ensure quality sleep by ensuring your bedroom has good ventilation, that you keep a consistent bedtime, and that you give yourself time to wind down before bed. If you can do that, then you’ll be much more able to drift away comfortably. Some people use herbal sleeping tablets to help them get into a good schedule, but what works for you is often more than appropriate. What matters here is consistency.

With this approach, you’re sure to find rest and relaxation are the perfect supplements to your workouts.

Getting fit as a driver doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether you are focused on truck driver health or trucking fitness, all the above can help you take that next step so you can feel good again.