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The earth is warming and polar bears will be extinct in less than thirty years.
Agree or disagree.

Gay people should have the right to marry, just like heterosexual people do.
Agree or disagree.

Illegal aliens have a right to be in the Unites States and partake of our benefits and services.
Agree or disagree.

The shootings at the Grand Theatre in Lafayette, Louisiana, and the military facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, show that gun control is necessary, regardless of the Constitution.
Agree or disagree.

Our military should be pulled out of the Middle East, once and for all.
Agree or disagree.

Our educational system needs revamping.
Agree or disagree.

The President of the United States is wrong.
Agree or disagree.

Rosie O’Donnell is wrong.
Agree or disagree.

There was a time when thoughtful people engaged in debate over issues of importance and even frivolous ones. We respected others’ opinions even when we did not agree with them. A good discussion was invigorating, not demeaning. And name calling was out of bounds.

The times have changed. Listen to talk radio or the television news stations and you will hear opponents called vile names and their characters attacked as frequently as their views are. This is considered entertainment by some. There’s even a name for the more extreme talk show hosts- “shock jocks”- and as we now know, at least one company contracted to have their host use “irreverent and controversial” speech as part of his services.

My concern, and I think many of yours, as well, is that this has become more the norm and less shocking. It has permeated how adults conduct themselves and civility has been lost in most areas of life.

Some complain that our children have lost manners and respect. I submit that we, as a population, young and old, have lost what was once taken for granted in our behavior with one another- kindness and the civility that makes for a gentle way of living.

But one person can make a difference. Here’s a short story of how one little boy changed his classmates, and so the world:

When he became old enough to understand and strong enough to accomplish it, I asked my son to begin holding the door for the person behind him and open it for those coming toward him. At first, he was pleased to get the “Thank you, what a gentleman!” But he soon began to see that others didn’t hold the door or went through the one he was holding without even a recognition that he was there.

He became dismayed, but I comforted him by telling him they probably didn’t know how to respond since it was so long ago that this had been done. With my encouragement, he continued to do this and to say “Thank you” when someone did something nice for him. Lo and behold, one day he came back from school and told me the children were holding doors for each other and saying “Thank you.”

A little thing, you say? I say it changed the world. His corner of the world, but the world nevertheless.

Now what about your world? Can you make it kinder, gentler, more civil simply by changing your actions toward others? I think you can. I think you can bring all this into a world that has become mean, rude and frightening. Just by changing your words, your attitude, your intentions.

This is what I think will move us toward that better way of living:

• Accept that others may have an opinion that differs from yours and that it doesn’t make them evil, stupid, wiser or better. It’s probably that their experiences have influenced their thinking, just as your experiences have influenced your thoughts.

• You can disagree without attacking the other person’s integrity.
• Be careful of how much news and talk radio you partake of. It dulls the senses, makes us think cruelty is “normal” and desensitizes us to things which should always outrage us. It also makes devils out of those who disagree with us.

• Be careful of “political correctness.” I think it has done more to promote prejudice and dullness of thought than anything else in the many years past. It is used to block critical thought and discussion because no one wants to be called a “bigot.”

• Keep close to your heart the way you wish the world to be. That is what you will express.

• Do unto others what you would have them do to you. It may not be that person who reacts in kind, but the next one may be the one.

And being a commuter, this can make all the difference in how the commute affects you and your life. Never be too hurried to do a kindness or be polite. It will lessen your stress, increase your healthiness and leave a bright mark on your world.

If you don’t believe me, just try it for a week and see how good you feel.

Be well,

Dr. M.
Go now and have your copy of Conquer the Commute: Tools for the Road and Life downloaded to your computer at:
> www.ConquertheCommute.com <

About Dr. Marie Mastria
Dr. Mastria works with wellness and health issues. Call or email to discuss working with her.

Get “Conquer the Commute: Tools for the Road and Life” at
www.conquerthecommute.com. A complete manual and workbook to make the commute easier and your life better.
Dr. Mastria is founder of Commuter-Assist.com, which publishes e-books, CDs and cassettes to help commuters get the most out of their commute and life in general. Dr. Mastria speaks, offers workshops, and consults to businesses. She also provides life, wellness, and executive and business coaching to groups and individuals. To contact Dr. Mastria email info@Commuter-Assist.com or call 570-839-6394.
All content Copyright © 2007, Dr. Marie A. Mastria, CLC, PCC / Commuter-Assist.com. All rights reserved. You may copy or send it to family or friends who may benefit from it so long as the format and credits are intact. You have permission to publish this article electronically, free of charge, as long as the by-lines are included and links are activated and maintained. A courtesy copy of your publication or link to website would be appreciated.
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In this Sept. 17, 2014, photo, a man closes his eyes as he stands with other commuters in a crowded metro car during rush hour in Rio de Janeiro. On packed subways and crowded highways, billions of people worldwide participate in the daily commute to and from work. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Written by: Marie A. Mastria, PhD

Time passes whether you do something with it or not, so why not make the most of it? You have to travel to work, but what goes on during that travel time is up to you. What you do with that “in between” time can be beneficial or detrimental to the rest of your day. David Clements (Future Cities Project, 2004) wondered that “commuting is ‘the life sentence,'” much akin to a jail sentence. How could we have gotten to that state, and what can we do about it? Well, we could relax, read, listen to books on tape or music, get caught up on work, start the “great American novel.” It really is up to you.

In a survey conducted by Diane Strahan of CareerBuilder, she found that thirty-six per cent of over 2,000 respondents surveyed said they would be willing to take a ten per cent or larger pay cut if they could have a shorter commute. “Workers and employers need to give more thought to their daily commute strategies and the impact commuting stress may have on their lives,” she said.

Acknowledge commute time as time for yourself. Making this adjustment in thinking has helped many commuters begin to take the stress out of the commute. Although this may sound “jargon-y,” it has been shown to lessen the stress of the commute.

How would you describe that commute time? Do you fret over it, wishing it would go away? Well, it won’t, at least not in the immediate future. So reinterpret it. Instead of thinking about the hateful commute, you might describe it as the time I have to myself to meditate, plan the day, or develop my schedule. Making only this adjustment in thinking has been a help to commuters no matter what form of transportation they use.

The Federal Highway Agency has reported that commuting time is increasing and commuters are traveling greater distances, and the trend is for both to increase. With this happening, strategies that make for a better commute become very necessary.

We all recognize that an important aspect to a balanced life is socialization, yet as our responsibilities grow and time diminishes, many of us find that our social life also diminishes. Socialization is a good way to stay healthy and connected but, as our social lives lessen, we become more prone to illness and poor health. But commuters can do something about it. Some people have become so close in their bus commutes to and from work that they celebrate important events together, like birthdays and promotions. They design on-bus book clubs. They plan to meet over the weekends. They meet and marry. There are so many ways the long commute can be used to meet our needs. If you take public transit, commuter friends offer a pleasant way to pass the time and provide good networking resources when you are looking for a new job or a good dentist.

The time spent commuting to and from work can be approached as time wasted or as an opportunity to get things done. Make a plan to use your time so it will benefit your home life and your professional life and you will have found more time in the day.

About the Author

Marie A. Mastria, PhD, of  http://www.commuterdoctors.com speaks, offers workshops, consults, provides executive, business, wellness and life coaching to groups and individuals. Email her at info@Commuter-Assist.com or call 1+570-839-6394.

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How do you change something that you have become so accustom to dreading and turn it into a positive experience and force in your life? Many of you would look at this ad think that it isn’t possible. But, in a few simple steps there is a way to turn your commute into a healthy and fulfilling experience.

So you ask, “What will I do about it?” The answer is complicated by what is realistic to do and what you are willing to do. Let’s take distance. It’s not realistic to think of how to shorten the distance if you continue to work for the same company and you are not willing or can’t change companies. So, what to do? Actually, there are a number of things that can be done to make the travel more comfortable, less taxing and even beneficial! And this is true for anything that is making the commute difficult.

Attitude, or perception, is everything. Without a good attitude, everything is harder – paying the bills, cleaning the bathroom, even traveling to work. When we look for problems, we find them. I am suggesting that the first and primary change that will help bring a good commute is working on changing your attitude toward it. Remembering that you did choose to take this job that is X miles from home actually puts you back in control of the situation and takes you out of the victim role. If you’re like most of us, you will feel empowered by using your right to choose.

A change in attitude might have you view your commute as something that you chose to undertake in order to allow you a pleasant home environment while still making an acceptable or good salary and advancing your career. Just so we are clear, the bad attitude might go something like this, “I hate driving all this way to work. I wish I could retire. What’s the use of having a nice house when I don’t have any time to spend in it?” Can you feel your shoulder muscles tighten just reading this? Alternatively, a good attitude might say, “Because I live this distance from work, I can live in this community, in a beautiful house of my choosing.” Just watch those muscles relax.

About the Author:

Dr. Marie A. Mastria has created a five step program titled, FIVE STEPS TO A BETTER COMMUTE which is available free on the Commuter-Assist website (http://www.Commuter-Assist.com).

Dr. Marie A. Mastria is founder of Commuter-Assist, which publishes e-books, CDs and cassettes to help commuters get the most out of their commute and life in general. Dr. Mastria speaks, offers workshops, and consults to businesses. She also provides life, wellness, and business coaching to groups and individuals. To contact Dr. Mastria email info@Commuter-Assist.com or call 570-839-6394.

All content Copyright © 2006, Dr. Marie A. Mastria, CLC, PCC / Commuter-Assist.com. All rights reserved. You may copy or send it to family or friends who may benefit from it so long as the format and credits are intact. You have permission to publish this article electronically, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included and links are activated and maintained. A courtesy copy of your publication or link to website would be appreciated.

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Commuting is one of those things that, if you are doing it, is something that you have to do rather than want to do. And if you have a negative attitude about your commute, it can quickly turn into something that starts to impact more than just the time you spend
commuting.

Your attitude about the commute can carry into work, home, and play. When you arrive at work already in an agitated state, you’ll need a cooling off period or your productivity will be lowered. Time is wasted preparing for the commute itself, either by having to hype yourself up or by dragging yourself down. It can also take its toll of your health, whether it is from increased stress or weight gain. Needless to say, commuting takes away from time that you would rather spend on other activities.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you actually looked forward to your commute? It may seem overwhelming to try to picture the commute in a different way, but there are resources out there to help commuters change their perspective and even turn the commute into
something positive and productive.

Following a simple program and making small changes is a great way to start turning your commute into a better experience. Programs are good because they provide structure and activities to see you through the needed steps and help you to understand
why the commute affects you adversely and how to change it.

One of the first things to do is think about what it is that drains you about the commute? Is it the time, the crowds, being away from home, fears and risks associated with traveling, or simply the boredom? In order to revert back to a time before the stress of the commute got hold of you, you first need to articulate what about the commute is draining. Then you need to do something about it.

Think of the commute as a tool that allows you to live your life in a better way. For example, instead of saying:

“I hate driving all the way to work. I wish I could retire. What’s the use of having a nice house when I don’t have any time to spend in it?”

You could say: “I commute to work so that I may live where I choose. In this way, I get the best of both worlds, a good paycheck and a good home. I even get to use my commute time in a way that increases my health and wellbeing.”

Figure out what drains you, then you can act on that and move forward to help make your commute a positive force in your life.

About the Author:

Dr. M. Mastria has created a five step program titled, FIVE STEPS TO A BETTER COMMUTE which is available free on the Commuter-Assist website (http://www.Commuter-Assist.com).

Dr. Mastria is founder of Commuter-Assist, which publishes e-books, CDs and cassettes to help commuters get the most out of their commute and life in general. Dr. Mastria speaks, offers workshops, and consults to businesses. She also provides life, wellness, and business coaching to groups and individuals. To contact Dr. Mastria email info@Commuter-Assist.com or call 570-839-6394.

All content Copyright © 2005, Dr. Marie A. Mastria, CLC, PCC / Commuter-Assist.com. All rights reserved. You may copy or send it to family or friends who may benefit from it so long as the format and credits are intact. You have permission to publish this article electronically, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included and links are activated and maintained. A courtesy copy of your publication or link to website would be appreciated.

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A civic transportation hackathon will foster transportation innovation in one of the nation's fastest-growing cities. From March 20 to 22, Seattle techies and activists will...