Sitting behind the wheel of a car can oftentimes feel like freedom, but sometimes, it can also feel like plain frustration (especially with kids kicking or fighting in the back seat!) Between dense traffic, sudden changes in weather conditions, and the actions of other drivers, it’s easy to become stressed while on the road. Continue reading this brief guide to reducing stress while driving.
Holding your breath during a tense and stressful situation can feel like second nature, though you should try to avoid this when managing your stress while driving. By performing some breathing exercises (like deep belly breathing) before you head out on the road, you can get your blood and oxygen flowing at a healthy rate. This can help calm your nervous system and make you less likely to experience road rage.
Have the right playlist
We all have our favorite music or podcasts that we enjoy listening to while driving, which can actually put our minds in a positive place and help keep us less stressed while on the road. This is especially true for cardiovascular health in stressful situations–like driving during rush hour. If you have kids in the back seat, remind them that you need to focus on the road ahead, and try to tune out the noise or distractions behind you. We recommend our favorite CD, the Philadelphia Chickens, to keep kids giggling and entertained while you drive!
Keep your body relaxed
Being physically tense while driving is normal during stressful situations, but this can keep your brain from being able to calm down and feel at ease. If you feel your body reacting physically to the stress, try to fix your posture and release any tension in your shoulders, jaw, or neck. Try not to hunch over the wheel, and keep a loose grip on the steering wheel to keep your body more relaxed.
If you find yourself in a stressful driving situation and the tips mentioned here are of no help, you can pull over on the side of the road when it’s safe to do so. Give yourself a rest, regroup your thoughts, and once you feel less stressed, you can continue driving to your destination. Pulling over can also give you an opportunity to address any challenges that may be coming from the back seat! This is a safer option than distracted driving and making a costly mistake, even if it adds a little to your estimated time of arrival.
Overall, by being a mindful driver and keeping your overall stress at bay in all aspects of your life, you can help yourself to experience less stress while driving. There are certain tips and practices–like the ones listed here–that you can put into place once driving to keep your stress levels manageable, which all drivers should consider implementing in their daily routines.
Bailey Schramm is a writer in partnership with fence and event rental supplier, Viking Fence.