Your Mobile Sanctuary

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Lifestyle

I discovered a powerful health secret that costs nothing and feels like a peaceful haven. I think you’ll be surprised by it. It’s deceptively simple. Are you ready? Take a deep breath first. Hold it for a moment. Now, release slowly. Okay—now you’re ready for the secret. I’ve discovered a mobile sanctuary: driving in my car without any distractions, just being fully present. Is that all? I hear you saying. Yes. That’s more than enough. And I’m reveling in this newfound experience every day. It’s like meditation.

I invite you to try it! All I do is simply drive with both hands on the wheel and enjoy the hypnotic sound of the wheels on the pavement. I commune with myself, or allow my heart to soar with the music from one of my XM Satellite radio stations. I like to listen to an Abraham-Hicks CD or an audio program for a good book, too. That’s it. I’m just present while I drive.

I discovered this amazing secret of peace and contentment while watching an Oprah show on distracted driving. I had heard about the dangers of driving while on a cell phone many times before. Although I have talked on my phone while driving, I’ve never sent a text message. I knew I couldn’t handle that without crashing into something or someone. But I was certain I could talk while holding my cell phone and operate my car perfectly safely. Besides, I thought that making phone calls to friends and family was a good way to leverage my time.

Several years ago, I remember reading a study in one of the medical journals, which said that using a cell phone while driving increased the number of accidents a person was likely to have by a factor of four. That information didn’t change my behavior. Besides, everyone was doing it. And yes, occasionally I would recognize that I wasn’t driving as safely as I should because I was distracted.

And then I saw the show. And all the faces of the very real families left behind when a distracted driver on a cell phone killed their child. Or when the young person himself was texting and hit a tree or another car. The clincher for me, however, was when three individuals who insisted they could drive and talk on a cell phone or text were put to the test at a place that evaluates drivers. All of them failed miserably. And each realized just how impaired their attention was when they were talking or texting. They hit cones and, on average, it took them 22 more feet to stop their vehicles than it ordinarily would have. That’s because when you are driving and texting or talking, you have what is called “perceptual blindness.” Your brain circuitry is being taken up by the conversation you are having. And you actually cannot see people and other things in the road ahead.

Here’s the data: Texting while driving increases the risk of an accident by eight times. (Talk about something that is truly insane.) Talking on a cell phone (not hands free) increases the risk by a factor of four. Driving while intoxicated also increases the risk of an accident by a factor of four. This means that when you drive and talk on a cell, you are essentially driving while drunk.

There are national campaigns to encourage us to designate a safe driver before we even begin imbibing alcohol. And yet, parents with young children in car seats not only talk on their cell phones, but also text. Can you imagine allowing your kids to get in a car with a seriously drunk driver? Well, that seriously drunk driver is you if you text or use a cell phone while driving.

I think we need a new motto: Friends don’t let friends drive while distracted. That includes distraction by talking or texting on cell phones. Parents spend so much time and effort to keep their kids safe (including strapping their children into car seats). It doesn’t make sense for them to drive “electronically drunk.”

I was convinced. I logged onto Oprah.com and took the No Phone Zone pledge. At first I thought I would really miss the experience of talking in the car. But, as I already told you, I was more than pleasantly surprised. I didn’t miss it at all. My car became a mecca of peace and quiet. My eyes are on the road. My hands are on the wheel. My stress hormone levels are normal. And I’m fully present. Driving with the “Power of Now.”

So, please join me. Take the No Phone Zone pledge at Oprah.com. And discover the inner peace and happiness that come from being present while driving. What a revelation.

Last Updated: April 9, 2010

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.

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  1. Vikki
    2 years ago

    Dr. Northrup,

    Wanted to ask you if you can recommend any wellness/spiritual retreats in the US.

    Thank you
    Vikki

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