Getting upset is a natural response to frustrating or stressful situations; however, frequently entering these states can wear down your immune system and potentially lead to health problems. Traffic is one of the most common situations in which this occurs. In fact, according to Credit Donkey, “80 percent of drivers exhibit some type of road rage” when stuck in traffic or dealing with frustrating driving situations. Learn how to stay calm in traffic to reduce your stress and protect your health.
Identify What Upsets You
When you begin to feel frustrated or stressed behind the wheel, it often helps to define what directly affects you. These situations could include traffic delays, running late, or even a blatant disregard for the law by other drivers. Knowing which of these factors aggravate you will allow you to put a name to what you feel and give you the chance to calm yourself.
Practice Slow Breathing Exercises
Once you determine why you’re upset, you can take the necessary steps to clam yourself. Slow breathing exercises are one of the most effective methods to do this. Since our bodies take shallower breaths when we’re in an aggravated state, our brains don’t get enough oxygen to allow for rational thought. Forcing ourselves to breathe slowly and deeply will lower our blood pressure and calm us down as a result.
Plan Your Drive Ahead
Since running late is one of the most common stressors for those stuck in a traffic jam, it’s often beneficial to plan for what could happen and how you can respond to it. This will help you revert to your calming exercises rather than your anger-fueling ones in the heat of the moment. As an additional tip, you can also plan to leave a bit early so you aren’t as rushed to get to your destination.
Distract Yourself from Your Anger
The more focused we are on our emotions, the stronger those emotions tend to become. So, to counteract your anger, it might be beneficial to distract yourself from what has upset you. While there aren’t a lot of options for this while you’re in the car, you can still find ways to decompress that don’t involve going anywhere. Some potential activities could be to listen to music, turn on your favorite podcast, or play a counting game with the cars around you.
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