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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

John's Story: A Critical Reminder to Us All

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Oct 27th 2011

texting and drivingJohn was generally a happy guy with a stable job, a wife and a couple kids. Sure he had his stresses and problems, but he had a resilient quality to him often being able to roll with the punches. Like most of us he was fairly plugged into the digital world at this point, having a lot of intimate connection with screen time (that’s time in front of any screen including the phone, computer or television). The advent of texting, chatting, Facebook and twitter had helped him stay connected with long lost friends and stay up to speed on breaking news and real-time sports scores. It was 7:30am on Monday morning when everything changed for John. 

John was driving to work like most days. He was listening to the radio, phone on his lap to be alert for any incoming messages. As usual, he heard to familiar “bling, bling, bling” sound and his attention went to his phone. Although he was still moving, his mind told him that he was okay to quickly check and respond to this message.

It was from his boss, “Hey John, I just wanted to tell you how happy I was with your presentation yesterday; you can look forward to a great bonus this….”

And that was the last word John read before his head hit the steering wheel. A totaled car and 5 months of rehab later, John has been lucky enough to return to work and his family, was it worth it? 

Okay, John is a fictional character...or is he? My guess is there are a lot of Johns out there and there will continue to be as long as we allow our minds to delude us that texting, chatting or checking our phones while driving is a reasonably safe practice. 

Take a moment to check in with how you relate to your phone while driving? Is it really worth increasing the probability of self-harm, harm to others or potential death? 

This sounds extreme perhaps, but check in with that reaction to. It’s just a fact that the probability of getting into an accident goes up when we shift from paying full attention to the road, to partial attention to the road, to no attention to the road. 

Perhaps the improvement of voice recognition will really be an advance in safety as we can use more commands to call and listen to messages. Is there a way you can make is safer to interact with your phone while driving? What would you tell yourself after you got in a car accident? 

Why wait until then? 

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    thank you! - - Nov 2nd 2011

    your texting warnings will keep us alive to take advantage of your other advice

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