For many people, the worst part of a Monday morning is not found in starting a new work week but in the getting there. Morning drive time is never fun. The going is slow with fits and starts, and the roadway is filled with bad drivers hoping to shave a minute or two off of their drive so the boss won’t know they overslept. Driving conditions like these are the perfect recipe for elevating blood pressure and shortening tempers. Even if you love your job, it’s difficult to be productive if you arrive there stressed and things become markedly worse if you are not crazy about your 9-to-5 to begin with. It’s important both for your mental and physical health to find ways to avoid driving stress. It’s hard to have a productive workday if you arrive in a bad mood. It’s even harder to get anything done if you don’t arrive at all because you’ve been in an accident.
While it may have never been the case in your car, there are drivers who, believe it or not, actually enjoy their commute. Here are some tips to help you join them in daily accomplishing the impossible.
Crank the Tunes
It is no mystery that the right soundtrack can create a positive frame of mind. Unfortunately, drive-time commercial radio is so heavily punctuated with ads and on-air personality comedy bits that it’s hard to get your groove on. Help elevate your mood by putting together a playlist of favorites on your smartphone or other listening device.
Think about You
A congested roadway means an increased chance that you will be sharing the road with a higher concentration of idiots. It is easy to sit in criticism of these other drivers and the ridiculous decisions they make. Getting worked up over the mistakes made by those you are sharing the road with won’t add to the enjoyment of your trip. Shift your focus away from the “other guy” and, once you are sure you are not adding to the problem, take the time to focus on things that make you happy.
Play Nicely with Others
Few things are more stressful than sharing the highway with another driver who thinks he owns the road. Make sure that you are generous with the space around you so that others won’t perceive you as “that guy.”
Keep Calm and Drive on
If you begin to interpret every driving mistake around you as an act of aggression your stress level will undoubtedly rise. Your breathing will become more shallow, and your heart rate will start to increase. This is not the type of cardio workout that your doctor has in mind for you. If you feel your level of irritation rising, compensate for it by taking slow and deep breaths. As soon as appropriate oxygen levels return to your brain, you will notice that your stress will begin to dissipate. Try it. You’ll be surprised what a bit of focus breathing can do for your state of mind and for your morning commute as a whole.
If you are driving with the added anxiety of a traffic ticket or because you are paying too much to keep your car insured, check out the defensive driving and traffic school courses available here on our site, all designed to make that stress melt away.