The hum of your tractor, the sense of purpose, leaving everything behind...being on the road can be addicting. If you feel this way, you're not alone! Truckers all across the world are finding the pull of the road to be a stronger and stronger calling, and it's no surprise why.
How Do You Relax?
Life can be stressful - that's no secret. So how do you unwind? Maybe it's with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, maybe you like to read a book or sit outside. Maybe you unwind by getting back on the road.
Have you heard of trucking addiction? Think you might have it? Let's explain what trucking addiction is, and why it's not a problem!
An addiction to trucking means you long for the feel of the steering wheel in your hands, the throttle pedal under your foot, the feeling you get when you hear your rig humming to life. There is just nothing quite like the feeling you get when it's finally time to get back on the road: the joy and perhaps even relief... a feeling of coming home.
Is Trucking Like Meditation?
Don't let me throw you off with the word meditation! But let's talk about mindfulness - this just means being aware or conscious of the present moment. How do you achieve mindfulness? One common way is meditating - and meditating seems really similar to trucking in a weird way. Meditation essentially means training your mind to stop, focus, and become aware: this is designed to promote relaxation by focusing on what's happening right now, in this immediate moment. No worries about past or future stresses, you're just focusing on yourself.
Does that sound familiar? When you get back out on the road, what are you thinking about? Those bills you already scheduled back at home? No. Thinking about cleaning the gutters? No. Life's little stresses generally don't apply when you're out on the road with nothing to worry about but the truck you love and the job you have to do - and that can be a relieving feeling.
What Science Explains
Trucking forces you to live in the moment and leave everything behind. If you find trucking relaxing, there's a scientific reaction happening in your brain. Your amygdala, a walnut-sized area in the center of your brain, is responsible for controlling emotions. When you're practicing mindfulness, meditation, relaxation, or whatever gives you those feelings (such as trucking), it relaxes your amygdala, which in turn engages your parasympathetic nervous system. This is a fantastic thing!
You might recognize the parasympathetic nervous system as the "rest and digest" system. This system conserves energy, slows your heart rate, increases intestinal and gland activity, and relaxes your gastrointestinal muscles. When your heart rate goes down and your breathing becomes deeper and slower, your body stops producing adrenaline and cortisol, which is the primary stress hormone.
These effects are the result of whatever relaxes you. Meditation is relaxing because it forces you to focus your attention and reduce or eliminate the "all over the place" thoughts that jumble into your brain at random. When you're out on the road, it's the same thing. You're forced to leave everything behind and focus on the road and the road alone.
A Trucking Addiction Isn't a Bad Thing
Anything can become addictive if it releases enough good hormones in your brain, and trucking is no different. But this kind of addiction isn't necessarily bad - if you feel relaxed and at ease out on the road, no worries, there's nothing wrong with you! You've obviously picked the right profession.
We got inspiration for this blog from our very own Summer, who's chronicling her life on the road in a series of road diaries. If you'd like to check out more that she has to say, here's her first entry.
If you think working with K&J could be the lifestyle you've been craving, see where a change of scenery can take you!