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Ways On How To Reduce Your Stress While Driving

Do you get out of the car with a queasy stomach, a headache and your blood pressure level is over the roof? If you do, that energy vulture called commute stress might have sent your pulse skyrocketing. In a study conducted at the University of California at Irvine, researcher s discovered that the stress of commuting takes a big toll on health. According to the research, it has direct physiological causes of increasing blood pressure and releasing stress hormones into the body. Not just that, long commutes (more than 18 miles one way) could also increase the likelihood of having a heart attack because of exposure to high levels of air pollutants, which seems to be a risk factor for heart disease.

Even though there is no antidote to stressful commuting, there are a lot of ways to shoo off this energy vulture.  Here's how to thrive while you drive.  

1.  Prepare in advance 

One of the best ways to diminish the strain of road rage is to prepare the whole thing the previous night.  Clothes, documents, attached cases, and even filled lunches should be set the day before to stay away from the morning rush.  With everything champing at the bit, you'd save plenty of time to do your morning routines, consume a good breakfast and enjoy special moments with the family.  Better yet, you can dash out the highway free of traffic congestion. 

2.  Sleep well and wake up early 

A good night's sleep rejuvenates your body.  Make it a habit to have enough sleep and to increase soon.  If you’re already stressed out the day before, an incomplete repose takes over cumulative stress causes into your life at work and at home.  Your frustration levels at the work place in the end increases, your brainpower falters, and your mood at home sours.  You have no more energy left to enjoy life. 

3.  Juggle your work hours 

Do you really enjoy working the typical 9 to 5 job?  Why pack the freeways when you can try a ten-to-six or an eight-to-four shift?  Of course, not all companies will allow you to have flexible hours, but at least attempt to check out other available shifts that fit your lifestyle.  Choose one that would help you get rid of energy-depleting stress and allow you to lighten your highway woes.   

4.  Share your ride 

It might be a hassle to organize your arrival and departure with another individual or two, but many times carpooling is worth it.  Studies show that ridesharing lowers commuter stress significantly.  With carpooling, there is less air and noise pollution, less traffic congestion, and you could relax more when someone else is doing the driving.   

5.  "Cocoon" in your auto 

Instead of getting agitated when traffic is at a standstill, try to use your time wisely.  Listen to your favorite radio station or pop in some good music cds to take your mind off the end-and-go driving and traffic tie-ups.  If you like to read but just don’t have time to flip pages of a book, check out books or audio books.  Lots of libraries have full-length audio books in addition to abridged versions.  You could even learn a new language or do several car exercises like neck extensions, shoulder rolls and tummy tucks to help you stay awake and relax.   

6.  Pillow your back and squirm 

When you're standing, the lumbar area of your spine (the lower part) generally curves inward, toward your abdomen.  However, when you're sitting, it has a tendency to slump outward pressing on your spinal disks and putting stress on them.  According to back specialist Malcolm Pope, Ph.D., director of the Iowa Spine Research Center at the University of Iowa, it helps in supporting your back by tucking a rolled towel or a pillow in that lumbar section.  In cases of longer drives, because sitting in one position for longer than 15 minutes slowly stiffens you even with a back pillow, make required adjustments for a comfy ride.  For example, you can try putting most of your weight on one buttock and then the other.  Then, shift the position of your seat or your buttocks somewhat.  You might even try sliding down in your seat and sit up again for fun.  

7.  Take a break 

It might be a good thought to offer yourself some day off from work.  Many companies nowadays offer compressed working hours or longer working days to provide way to work-free days for you to unwind.   

8.  Exercise after work 

Since the evening hurry is worse than the morning hurry as a result of the compounded fatigue from the workday, it is recommended to wait out the traffic.  Work out at a gym near your office or take meditation classes to relieve your driving stress.  If you are planning on going to dinner, seeing a movie or going shopping, try to do these things near work, delaying your departure enough to miss the maddening hurry.   

9.  Move your office 

If your job is a long drive ahead daily, inquire at the work place if the company would let you work at home some days of the week or if you could work close your place.  With today’s technology this could be very possible.  An alternative work schedule would make you feel less tense and in charge thereby decreasing stress. 

10.  Change your routine from time to time 

An occasional change of commuting habits might be recommended also.  You may also try walking or even bicycling from time to time for a change.  There's nothing like a good walk to ease tension, particularly when it means you don't have to get in your car and fight rush hour traffic. 

By diminishing the stress of getting to work, you're conserving huge sums of energy that might be lost over commuting stress.  It doesn't just leave you much more energy to do your job and become more useful but it also makes you feel good and gives you a good motive to always start your day right.