I go back and forth with myself all the time on the discussion of how to reduce stress while driving. Even if you aren’t a high-stress individual, everyone is affected by stress while driving at some point or another. I am someone who commutes 30 minutes to an hour to and from work every day crossing state lines into the City of St. Louis, so this is definitely an extremely relatable and important topic for me.
Warning: Honesty is about to slap you.
1. Mama always told me, “Expect the unexpected”.
This seems pretty simple to comprehend and I’m sure many others follow the same concept while driving. Even so, I can expect someone is going to cut me off, slam on their breaks for no reason, or swerve all over the road because their texting but that doesn’t make me want to throw them the finger any less.
To really put a positive spin on this, like almost everything else in life, you really just have to accept that sh*t happens, LET IT GO. It may seem a little naive or impossible to look at it as “no big deal” because other people’s actions on the road can sometimes lead to life or death situations. However, if you are always expecting the unexpected you should be able to avoid those situations for the most part (fingers crossed).
Maybe it’s the years of commuting to work that have me so accepting of these things, but if someone cuts me off and I have to tap on my breaks, who cares? You know damn well you’ve cut someone off before, I know I have plenty of times.
At that point when you’re throwing your hands in the air and cursing someone who can’t even hear you, you are being a downright hypocrite.
Sure, I get it, what they did wasn’t cool and it inconvenienced you, blah blah blah. Suck it up, sweetheart.
Stop wasting your energy on something so trivial. The average person spends over 3 years of their life driving. This simple switch of mind-set could save you hours and possibly years of being stressed out and angry at random people on the road who you are never going to see again.
When you expect the unexpected while driving or in any aspect of your life and you accept all of the possible outcomes, the outcome loses its power over you.
2. Be the Person Who Lets Other People Merge
This is probably my favorite form of stress reduction while driving. If you are one of those people who act like your spot in traffic is your most prized possession and you never let anyone merge, I hate you.
Seriously, I actually hate you.
Literally every single person who has ever driven in their life has needed to merge into a lane at some point. Whether you are the one who lets them in, they are going to get in? So what did you accomplish really, a few spots ahead in traffic that is moving 5 mph?
This honestly makes me LOL.
Maybe it’s just the weirdo in me, but there is something about letting someone merge willingly because I am genuinely trying to be a nice person that brings me a sense of relief and happiness.
So sure, I’m selfishly letting someone merge because it makes me feel good inside, sometimes they even give me a little wave of appreciation. You should try it!
3. Reduce Stress in Other Aspects of Your Life
When you look at the bigger picture, happy people are not mean or hateful to other people. Happy people are not bothered by the little inconveniences or troubles that life brings them. Happy people want other people to be happy.
Happy people let other people merge!
On a serious note, it really is something to think about. If you are happy in other aspects of your life you aren’t going to have such a short fuse while driving. You aren’t going to feel the need to start a solo mosh pit in the driver’s seat of your car because someone cut you off. If you are someone who has seriously bad road rage, look at other aspects of your life and see if there are any areas you think could use some work.
For those of you who have terrible anxiety while driving because of constant worry and terror… I’m sorry this blog isn’t really for you.
I know this is also another really important topic that shouldn’t be discredited, and you should definitely talk to someone about how to reduce severe anxiety while driving.
FOCUS ON BEING HAPPIER
In my opinion, the best answer to how to reduce stress while driving is to reduce stress in all other aspects of your life. When we’re behind the wheel, it’s almost like we give ourselves permission to act like crazy people and take it out on others on the road. Happy and stress-free people don’t act that way.
It sounds harsh and I don’t want to accept it either, but I can say from experience when I am unhappy in my personal life I find myself having greater road rage than normal. Please see my other blogs on stress reduction to find ideas and techniques on how to bring a little more peace into your life and hopefully while you’re driving!