With bored children, road construction, traffic, and a late start, driving can be very stressful. Since you probably have to drive every day, reducing your stress in the car is a worthy goal. If you can arrive at your destination with less stress, you’ll be in a better position to make the most of the situation. It can be challenging to decompress after a stressful drive.
Turn your car into a rolling sanctuary:
1. Leave early. Being late is stressful and adds stress to the total driving experience. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination with at least a few minutes to spare. You’ll be more relaxed and in a better position to deal with traffic, construction, or any other unexpected obstacles.
2. Know how to get there. If you’re driving to someplace you’ve never been, take the time to map out your route. GPS systems are always improving, but they still make mistakes. Be certain you know where you’re going and how long it will take.
3. Find a new route. Are you sure you’re taking the easiest route to your destination? Just because you’ve taken the same route to work for the last three years doesn’t mean it’s the only way. Look at a map and consider the other possibilities. You might find a quicker, or at least a more pleasant, driving route.
4. Keep the kids occupied. Bored, whining children are quite stressful! Ensure that you’ve brought snacks, books, and anything else that will keep them busy.
There’s nothing more pleasant than happy, peaceful children.
5. Create a relaxing environment. Pick up the trash on the floor, keep the windows clean, and maintain your automobile. Stress is accumulative, so eliminate as many sources of stress as possible.
- Turn on the radio or put on a CD. Calming music is one of the best ways to relax quickly. Studies have proven the value of relaxing music.
- Avoid listening to music that you find overly stimulating. Avoiding the news is a good idea if you find it upsetting.
6. Control your emotions by controlling your thoughts. You can’t get mad about the guy that just cut you off unless you think negative thoughts. Training your mind to focus on positive ideas enables you to completely avoid the stress of many situations.
- For example, there’s a big difference between thinking: “I can’t believe the nerve of that guy – someone should teach him a lesson,” and “I’m glad no one got hurt. It must be my lucky day.”
- Other people don’t anger you. They inspire thoughts that create anger. You can control your thoughts. Avoid allowing a stranger to affect your mood. You’re in control.
7. Get calm before you leave the house. The experience of driving is often more stressful than whatever you were doing before you climbed into the car. Start in a good place by relaxing before you drive. Take a few minutes, close your eyes, listen your iPod, breathe, and relax.
8. Smile. Our emotions tend to follow our behaviors. Try skipping down the street with a smile on your face and see how you feel. You can’t skip in the car, but you can smile. Put a smile on your face and keep it there. If you have to be in the car anyway, you might as well enjoy it as much as you can.
Driving can be stressful. However, you can learn to find relaxation in driving. Apply your ability to remain calm and relaxed in the car to other situations, too. Leave early, listen to calming music, and keep the kids busy. There’s little more to do. Smile and enjoy the ride.