De-Stress Your Morning Commute

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As a Greater Boston-based company, we know a thing or two about traffic. Namely, banging our heads off our steering wheels from frustration at the third five-car pile-up in one week, clenching our jaws as we bite the bullet and order an $100 Ride Share or Cab when the MBTA breaks down again, and sitting in shock as a bull runs rampant around I-95 North during rush hour and backs up traffic 3 miles. (Yes, the bull thing actually happened). Commuting is a daily aspect of our lives in the modern age, but the chronic stress it can create takes a serious toll on our health over time.

When we’re stressed out or frustrated, we unintentionally activate our adrenal system. As the mechanism responsible for coordinating our “fight or flight” survival responses, our body responds by releasing cortisol—known commonly as the stress hormone, but really just the “run as fast as you can from that bear” hormone which boosts energy production to give us the best chance of surviving whatever we’re facing. Cortisol also plays a key role in regulating metabolism, fighting inflammation and viruses, and the functions of blood sugar. If our adrenal systems get worn down and fatigued enough from daily stressors, we run the risk of not having the protective hormones it takes to protect us from real emergencies or illnesses.

Fortunately, we can cultivate coping methods for dealing with stress and reprogram our brains to deal with unpredictable traffic variables and unexpected emails in our morning inbox.

We all love a good podcast, and they can be great at protecting your peace of mind in endless traffic by distracting you from the current situation and keeping your mind engaged. Here are a few of our favorites:

With an extensive background in chronic diseases and illnesses connected to diets, Dr. Hyman is our first choice on a busy day. He touches on topics ranging from healthcare and agriculture to the addictive qualities of sugar and the impact of GMOs on consumer health. It’s a fascinating, sometimes disturbing, but always eye-opening exploration of the underlying impact of what we eat, and a reminder to prioritize good foods for good health. 

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Master life coach Kara is our go-to for anxiety-related issues. Full of humor, relatability, and calming, straightforward explanations, her podcast discusses the genesis of many common emotions like guilt, negative thought work, and unresolved anger. Best of all, once UnF*** Your Brain clarifies why you may be feeling how you’re feeling, it offers strategies on how to face these underlying issues, control for them, and eventually, change them. By actively working on yourself, you turn inward and away from focusing on the commute and can build in some self-care time for yourself during the least caring part of your day. Whether you start with her episode on Generating Positive Emotions or Parenting, you’ll gain a new perspective into the complex patterns of thought and feeling within yourself.

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If you love real-life ghost stories, And That’s Why We Drink is the podcast for you. Christine and Em dive into some of the creepiest hauntings in history along with true crime stories. Just don’t listen late at night alone or with kids in the car—some of them are downright spooky. They’ll definitely keep your mind off the road and on the supernatural!

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When it came to history, it was too hard to pick just one podcast. Malcolm Gladwell and Mike Duncan are both brilliant minds with very different interests and distinctive ideas, and they’re both incredible.

If you’ve ever read Outliers, Tipping Point, or What the Dog Saw, you’re familiar with how Malcolm Gladwell redefines every day events or things you may never have thought about to discover their innate causes. (One of our favorite chapters in What the Dog Saw is when he discusses why there are 56 different popular versions of mustard, but only 1 Ketchup!). In Revisionist History, Malcolm continues the theme of reconsidering the roles played by prominent events, individuals, and ideas in history to deepen our understanding of the present. Truly brilliant, humorous, and informative.

Mike Duncan’s History of Rome is exactly what it sounds like: the history of Rome. But this isn’t your average middle school history class. Duncan dives into absolutely every detail of the 1,000-year story of ancient Rome, from its very founding to its tumultuous end. Aside from being fascinating, what he relates is important. The ideas of the Roman Republic resound in every aspect of our modern world. Duncan breaks down and explains the warning signs of a troubled democracy, the role of oligarchs in inciting social collapse, the importance of regular citizens in saving civilization, and why the military tactics of Roman generals are still studied at military academies around the world to this day. He’s also an amazing military historian; his episodes on the infamous battles between two of the greatest generals in history, Hannibal and Scipio Africanus, will make you sit in your driveway once you get home just to finish hearing them. 

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Link to podcast:

No matter what your interests are, a podcast can be a comforting and enjoyable alternative to music or morning radio.

What are some of your favorite podcasts? We’re always looking for suggestions!