Commuting is such a hassle. It’s irritating, boring, and time-consuming. We can easily get frustrated with all the drivers around us. After all, they’re the ones making us late to work!
Unfortunately, many of us have to commute on a daily basis. And with all the stories we hear about road-rage and how it can lead to accidents and injuries or worse, it’s important for us to keep our moods in check.
Luckily, there are a few ways to ease our tension when we’re behind the wheel.
1. Over-estimate your commute time – and leave early.
The less time you have to get to work, the more impatient you’ll be. That will only lead to stress and anxiety. Give yourself more time. Wake up earlier if necessary. You’ll thank yourself when you find that you’re ahead of schedule instead of behind it.
2. Be prepared and have options.
Anything can happen without warning. Make sure you have alternative routes that you can put in play in case you find that your normal route is suddenly not an option. It will prevent you from panicking and being anxious about how and when you’ll make it home.
Another way to be prepared is to make sure that everything you may need is within reaching distance. Water, snacks, CDs, etc. should be kept where you can easily grab them. Having to reach behind the seat for a water bottle that’s rolling around back there is not a good situation to find yourself in.
3. Distract yourself with music – or a good book.
Of course we need to pay attention to the road so that we’re driving safely (and not missing any off-ramps). But if I’m focusing on the lyrics to a really good song, I’m paying less attention to how slow the person in front of me may be driving. I also find that slower songs are less likely to cause me to drive too fast or be too impatient.
I’ve also enjoyed listening to a good audio book during my commute. This can mean the difference between dreading your drive home and staying in your car just to finish a chapter once you get home.
Any way you can get your mind off of your irritation with the drivers around you will help.
4. Remember they are not just cars – they are people.
It’s easy to forget that there are real people behind the wheel of these cars. I think that’s what makes it so easy to be rude and disrespectful when we’re driving. We wouldn’t walk around the supermarket the way we sometimes drive around on the road. In the supermarket, we don’t have a tinted windshield to hide behind. We’re face-to-face with those around us.
There are real people with their own problems and their own things to do in every car around us. If we remember this, it’s easier to be a little more patient with what’s going on around you. Who knows? Someone may be racing to the hospital to be with a loved one or a wife about to give birth. Jumping to conclusions is never a good idea – even on your commute.
Bonus: Bring a commute buddy!
I’m lucky enough to be able to bring Cali along with me for my commute. Knowing that I have her sitting beside me, I consciously decide that I’m going to drive as safely as I can so that I don’t put her in harm’s way. If you have your baby or child with you during part of your commute, it should have the same effect.
Carpooling with a calm person can be beneficial as well. It can keep your mind off of any impatience or frustration you may otherwise feel. Plus, their calm demeanor can calm yours as well.
If you don’t have a commute buddy, just keep in mind who is in your life that you need to stay safe for. Remember, you can’t control other drivers. But you can control how you react to them and try your best to prevent any accidents or altercations on the road.
Do you have any good tips not mentioned above? Please share in the comments below!
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Categories: Mental Health