Many people think driving is stressful. Drivers often wish for less traffic and a smooth commute to work, school or wherever they’re headed. Long commutes with heavy traffic can lead to increased stress levels, yet research shows that driving while stressed can increase the chance of an accident. This knowledge can, you guessed it, cause stress!
So what can you do to minimize the impact your morning drive has on your day?
1. Practice mindfulness. You can de-escalate your stress level by acknowledging the fact that while it can feel frustrating, you can choose to take it a minute – or a mile – at a time. Mindfulness allows you to recognize and handle your emotions as they come.
2.Take care to be a safe driver. Don’t add to the chaos of a busy area by becoming another problematic driver. Give yourself plenty of time to get where you need to be, plan your route, keep the speed limit in mind and take calming breaths when you feel yourself getting frustrated. And remember – no texting while driving.
3.Turn on a favorite podcast or your favorite tunes. Listening to something you love can boost your mood quickly.
4. Enjoy the ride. Take the time during your commute to plan for a successful meeting, dream up your next vacation destination or create a mental checklist for an upcoming visit with family and friends.
5. Once you reach your destination, let the commute leave your mind. We’ve all heard it around the water cooler – traffic talk. Instead of joining in, focus on catching up with your co-workers or planning your next company BBQ.
6. Be kind to yourself. In preparation for driving, practice being kind to yourself. Get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, get your exercise in and eat a healthy meal. These steps can help give you the mental clarity you need to face the road.