Turn Road Rage Into A Road Rave
Every day, as if in a race, I zip from A to B, cursing cars cramming the roads, wondering where all these people came from.
They’re driving like imbecilic maniacs, either blocking my progress or causing me near heart failure.
I verbally abuse google maps, “I should have gotten off at Washington – what the #&%! is your problem!?”
I’m sure this doesn’t happen to you. 😉
You’re driving perfectly, obeying the laws, when all of the sudden an idiot driver drifts into your lane and . . . BOOM!
Your heart POUNDS through your chest as blood and oxygen pump furiously into your extremities so you can haul butt or kick butt!!
Your sympathetic nervous system floods you with epinephrine and cortisol to prepare you for action.
But wait, you’re stuck in the car, still driving along safely.
The stress chemicals sit there and stew.
You didn’t get to fight or flee.
These little incidences of lack of control in our lives are making us stressed.
What can you do?
TIP: LOOSEN YOUR GRIP OF (the illusion of) CONTROL.
It’s easy to get upset these days by ridiculous behavior on the roads. What if the next time you got in the car you pretended you were playing a video game? When you play Frogger you don’t get angry at other drivers and judge their character, you simply try to stay calm and navigate what is.
In the video game of life, you score high if you don’t let anything you can’t control get those stress hormones raging. (this includes construction zones, rubberneckers, and green left turn arrows that last 2 seconds.)
You beat the game when unpredictable people and irritating events fail to raise your blood pressure by one point.
(Beginner tip: always take the option to leave Point A early.)
A famous study showed that when we’re rushed, we’re less likely to be nice.Participants who were in a hurry helped a desperate person in need 10% of the time, while those not rushing helped 63% of the time.
Try these tricks behind the wheel to lower cortisol and raise feel-good (and look-glowy) hormones, such as oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin:
- breath deeply – crack the window
- listen to happy tunes
- sniff calming essential oils
- think about pleasant memories
- slow your roll – go the speed limit!
- daydream about a lover 😉
- laugh, giggle, even fake a smile
- dance like nobody’s watching
1. Make a playlist of your favorite jams (don’t forget the oldies-but-goodies that remind you of happy times)
2. Stick a “remember to breathe” tchotchke on the dash
3. Mix up a ‘rush hour’ oil blend and diffuse it on the go. (lavender and bergamot are my go-to for mood elevation)
What’s stopping you from trying these proven ways to lower your stress level, look and feel better, and add pleasure to your life?
You are in control.