Whether we are rushing to work or hurrying to get home, morning commutes and 5 o’clock congestion can easily become the most stressful part of our day. Traffic is an unfortunate part of life that we have no control over except when it comes to how we choose to deal with it.
- Make time. First and foremost, give yourself enough time to arrive on time to your destination. If you are constantly stressed during your commute because you are counting down the minutes, then plan on leaving 10 minutes earlier next time. This gives you enough time to get stuck behind a slow driver, take a detour or stop and get gas.
- Indulge in a book. Reading a book is probably not the safest driving activity, but audio books can be a great relaxing alternative. Immersing yourself in a book can reduce your anxiety, boost your mood and spark creativity that lasts throughout your day.
- Practice mindfulness. Sitting in the car is often the perfect place to apply mindfulness. Turn off the radio and become more aware with what is around you. Notice the various license plates, different vehicles, and most importantly notice any tension or stress that you are carrying in your body.
- Use your wise mind. When people are cutting you off and passing you, you probably get more stressed and angry, maybe even insulted. However these emotions are a result of emotional mind and not wise mind. Driving is not a competition, therefore when people pass us we should not take it as a trigger for panic or as a personal insult. De-stress your commute by identifying the reality of the situation and analyze if your emotional response is valid.
Anxiety and frustration only add to the irritation of traffic and do not get us to our destination any sooner. By practicing these easy skills, we can reduce our stress and anxiety levels while learning to develop patience and tolerance in times of distress.