There is nothing more stressful than coming to a grinding halt in the middle of a car journey, when you need to be somewhere. Heavy traffic bringing your day to a standstill for no apparent reason can be incredibly frustrating, boring and annoying so if you can deal with it in a positive way by using the time for relaxation instead; it will change your perspective completely.
So next time you are stuck in heavy traffic in your old used car, worrying about it overheating, worrying about not getting to your meeting, and you can literally feel your blood pressure going up, try out some of these relaxation tips.
Listen to Music
Avoid listening to traffic news as that is likely to frustrate you even more! If you have a CD player in the car then play some soothing music, or any music which you enjoy listening to that will take you out of your mood of frustration and transport you to happier memories. Or tune the radio to a music-focused channel and listen to that instead. Ideally, try to find soothing instrumental music, or else tunes you can sing along to, to ease the stress and relax you.
Be Grateful and Forgiving
Now while it’s easy to get annoyed and start blaming people, or cursing other drivers, it can be a really good exercise to turn your thoughts around and realise that actually, this traffic may have been due to an accident and there may be people seriously injured. Be grateful that you and your family are safe and think about those less fortunate. There is nothing you can do to make the traffic move faster so forgive the delay instead of blaming the road, or drivers, and try to think outside of your own situation. Okay, you might be late to a meeting but it’s really not the end of the world as long as you are safe, well and healthy.
Try Breathing Techniques
If you are feeling stressed and angry at the situation, instead of beeping the horn, shouting and trying to peer out of the window to see what has happened, none of which will change a thing, try sitting back and breathe slowly, in and out. You need to concentrate on your driving of course, but try to focus completely on the sensation of driving and breathing, and nothing else. Empty your mind of the stress and frustration and focus on doing these two physical activities at the same time.
Try to Stay Comfortable
We all know the pain that sitting for too long in one position can cause us so when stuck in traffic try to keep comfortable by shifting positions if you can, and stretching out your limbs to avoid cramp. Keep the car cool if it’s a hot day and you should always take food and drink with you on a long journey just in case of this very situation arising. We spoke to Darren from Big Motoring World who said “when we’re talking to customers about used cars, we always make a point of mentioning comfort. Regardless of whether they use the car for long journey or town driving, comfort is an important consideration when buying”.
Use the Time if you are Completely at a Stop
If you are at a total stop and are able to put on the handbrake and even switch off the engine, then make use of the time productively. You could catch up on phone calls if you have a hands-free system in the car.
Or think through some good memories, or exciting plans that you have so that you take your mind out of the current situation and into a happier time or place. This is a great way to reduce stress and help you to relax.
If everyone is stopped then you could chat to the driver next to you to pass the time, after all, you are both in the same situation.
Or you could carry out some meditation and breathing exercises to keep yourself calm and in the moment, in a positive way, rather than thinking about how stuck you are in the situation.
Unfortunately, heavy traffic is a way of life for us modern people and regular commutes to work can become incredibly stressful, unless we work out ways to respond to the situation better. You can’t control the traffic or the road conditions, but you can control how you react to being stuck in a traffic jam.
So the next time you find yourself sat in heavy traffic, instead of honking the horn, swearing and hitting the steering wheel, why not have a stretch, take some deep breaths and put on some classical music while thinking about the holiday you have planned, and how much you love your family. Just that change in mind set will make a big difference and you will feel far more relaxed.
No traffic jam can last forever, and you will soon be arriving at your destination, so it’s got to be better to arrive relaxed, calm and in control, rather than totally frazzled and stressed about something that you can’t change.