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4/24/2012

1. Become a news buff. Instead of having time to linger with your favorite newspaper or morning news show over breakfast, you have to tackle a dizzying drive. That doesn't mean you have to forego being able to ace a current events quiz. Tune your radio dial to all-news or current event stations, like National Public Radio, and soak up the knowledge.

2. Learn a new language.

If you're planning a trip why not brush up on the local language so you can impress the natives? Even if you're not crossing any borders, your commuting time gives you an opportunity to listen to those fun language tapes. And let's face it, the next time someone cuts you off, repeating hola is probably a lot better for your stress level than yelling other choice phrases.

3. Catch up on the bestseller list.

Even if you're sitting behind the wheel of a car, you can still get some quality reading done with the help of audio books. Most libraries and bookstores stock a whole slew of both educational and just plain fun titles.

4. Awaken your inner rock star.

Is there any better way to combat the stress of the stop and go game than singing? Cue up your favorite carefree music and sing loud. Who knows, you may even get the people in the next car to applaud your performance-or join in.

5. Get in a positive state of mind.

Whether you choose to speak them aloud or simply think about them, your drive time is the perfect chance to prepare yourself for the day with positive affirmations. When there's another accident and it spikes your travel time to the triple digits, don't lose your cool. Just keep repeating, "I can get through this. I can get through this."

6. Create a mental to-do list.

If you have a million things to do today (and who doesn't?) take your to-do list on the road. You can mentally plan out your day even though you're breathing in exhaust fumes.

7. Trim your waistline.

You can do some simple abdominal work even while you're sitting in your car. First, be sure that you are sitting up straight and that your hands are at ten and two on the steering wheel. Then press the small of your back into the seat while you exhale. Hold for four counts and release. Repeat for eight sets. If you're doing this exercise correctly, you should feel it in your abs and lower back.

While the time you spend commuting doesn't have to be wasted, it's very important that you are always conscious of your driving and practice all of the above tips with extreme caution and at your own risk.

Pair urban sprawl with the revitalization of the city center and you get many people forced to live far away from where they work. If you drive, that can mean lots of idle time gritting your teeth and watching brake lights in front of you, right? Well, it doesn't have to. Use some of these easy tips to transform your commute from a frustrating waste to productive "me time."
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