Driving in Rush Hour Traffic Can Be Super Stressful, But It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way
Time Magazine published a story reporting that Americans spend an average of 204 hours a year to and from work! That’s 8.5 days spent in your car every year…and for most, that’s in rush hour traffic. Yuck!
That same article cited numerous studies showing the negative effects of the commute. The effects included increased levels of blood sugar and cholesterol, higher rates of depression and anxiety, lower rates of cardiovascular health, life satisfaction, and overall happiness.
But, there are ways to turn the negative experience of driving in rush hour traffic into a positive one… What if I told you that you can actually transform the stress of driving to and from work into a special time of the day that you will actually look forward to?
Here are 20 steps that will not only reduce the stress that often comes with driving in rush hour traffic, but will turn that time into a productive time of self-reflection, relaxation, and personal growth.
7-Steps To Pre-Drive Preparation
- Start by getting a good night’s sleep the night before. Driving while exhausted will increase your stress levels, make you feel more agitated, and can be dangerous. When you’re fully rested, you will feel much more motivated to turn your drive into a productive one. If you need help getting a good night’s sleep, check out our Banish Insomnia with Hypnosis Audio Download.
- Allow yourself plenty of time to get to work in the morning. You never know when a traffic jam will slow you down. Running late, AND being stuck in traffic, is a recipe for extreme levels of stress. So, leave early to completely eliminate the fear of being late.
- Consider your route. Take the least stressful route when possible. Be sure to check online for accidents and construction to avoid unwanted surprises.
- Do some form of exercise before your commute. This doesn’t have to be a full-blown workout, though it could be. Just do something to get your blood flowing before you’re forced to sit down and drive for an extended period of time. The exercise will feel great, get your blood flowing, loosen your joints, AND pre-relieve stress. Something as simple as 50 jumping jacks can do the trick.
- Make your car your personal sanctuary. Keep it clean. A dirty environment will subconsciously increase your stress levels. Get rid of trash and dust. Clean the windows. Stress is accumulative, so eliminate as many sources of stress as possible.
- Make a checklist. Type out a checklist of everything that you must take with you. Then hang it where you’re sure to see it before you leave the house. This simple technique will save you from being halfway to work and suddenly realizing that you forgot to bring your lunch, wallet, sunglasses, etc.
- Keep a small emergency kit in your glove box. Simple items like hand sanitizer, napkins to clean up spills, aspirin, band-aids, a bottle of water, etc., can be lifesavers when the unexpected happens.
Turn your car into your personal Utopia for rush hour happiness. See this time as a gift where you get to work on becoming a better version of yourself
13 ways to make your drive time productive
- Practice deep breathing and good posture. Sit up straight, gently press your shoulders back, and breath. Breath in deeply, and slowly through your nose, and then exhale slowly through your mouth. Try to breathe from your diaphragm. This will automatically cause you to de-stress.
- Make a recording of your personal goal affirmations to listen to while driving. When making the recording, say the sentence and then pause before the next one. During the pauses in the recording, repeat the affirmations out loud in your car.
- Practice compassion while driving. Assume those rude drivers have an important reason for being in a hurry or for beeping their horn. Create a story in your mind about why you empathize with them for cutting you off. Perhaps they’re rushing to the hospital to witness the birth of their child. Turn it into a game and make your stories fun.
- Call loved ones on the phone (Hands-Free Calling ONLY)
- Listen to motivation audiobooks or podcasts. Or, listen to a comedian to get you laughing as laughing certainly reduces stress.
- Get a car seat massager and use this time to get a daily personal shiatsu massage. Here’s my favorite Car Seat Massager!
- Practice patience. The more you practice the skill of patience, the better you become. Use stop-and-go traffic and red lights as opportunities to hone this skill. Allow others to become stressed while you grow with patience and kindness.
- Go through a list of gratitude. Say out loud all of the things that you are grateful for in your life. You may want to include, “I’m grateful for all of these other drivers on the road who are working hard to take care of their families, just like me.”
- Make a playlist of your favorite “sing-along” songs. Then sing your way to work or home at the top of your lungs. If another driver gives you a funny look, simply smile and continue singing.
- Mentally scan your body for tensions spots. Visualize each body part and ask yourself if it’s relaxed or tense. Then allow it to diffuse into a relaxed state. You’ll likely find areas of stress that you were previously unaware of.
- Prepare your favorite cup of coffee or a healthy snack to have with you on the drive. This can help you look forward to being in the car in traffic. You can turn it into a game where you’re only allowed to take a sip when traffic stops.
- Practice smiling. Don’t just smile at other drivers, but smile just for the sake of smiling. Smiling combined with proper breathing and posture will automatically reduce your stress hormones.
- Park and walk. After sitting in the car for a while, the last thing you want to do is immediately go and sit in an office. Instead, park a bit of a distance from work and walk a bit. This will give you one last chance to get some fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. Remember, you left early, so you have plenty of time.
As you can see, there are many ways to make your commute during rush hour traffic productive and even fun.
If you’re still having trouble relaxing while driving in rush hour traffic, you may want to try self-hypnosis. NO, this isn’t something that you listen to while you’re driving. Instead, you listen to it in the comfort of your own home, but it gives you the ability to relax your mind and body in any situation using a hypnotic anchor.
In other words, after you listen to the Reduce Stress with Hypnosis audio file, you will be able to apply a physical anchor, which is squeezing your thumbs and forefingers together while saying a specific phrase, to instantly relax.
204 hours per year is a large chunk of time. You can choose to either be stressed out and risk your health for that amount of time, or you can use it to upgrade your life. Relaxing during rush hour traffic is possible and I hope you give it a try.
About the Author:
Chad Chesmark is a best-selling author, certified hypnotist, certified NLP practitioner, speaker, and performer. He is the creator of mentalupgrades.com. A site that specializes in self-improvement by providing articles, books, and self-hypnosis products that help people achieve their goals as fast as possible.