You’re late for a Christmas party, or maybe trying to get home for a family dinner, or maybe leaving a busy mall… your body becomes tense, you start to feel stressed and anxious. Your blood is starting to boil and anger is creeping in.
‘Tis the season, the Christmas rush is here!
Though you might make an effort to avoid it, chances are, you’ll find yourself in the middle of this season’s madness. And if you’re behind the wheel of a car, that means you’re at an increased risk for a crash.
It’s hard to stay calm in the traffic congestion that comes with this time of year. And those intense emotions can lead to aggressive driving. Or you might do the opposite and zone out. Perhaps making a list and checking it twice, forgetting about the driving task at hand.
Either way, it can be dangerous and lead to unsafe driving behaviour.
The problem with traffic congestion is usually your loss of control. There’s really nothing you can do about the busyness. And if you’re late or have things to do… it can throw whatever patience you have left, out the window.
So what can you do?Recognizethe increase in intense emotions.
Everyone’s different, but you might start to feel your:
- Heart race
- Palms get sweaty
- Grip get tighter
- Shoulders tense up
- Temper rise
- Take a few extra minutes to get prepared
- Listen to calming music
- Do some relaxation breathing
- Practice mindfulness techniques
- Take a break. Pull over, give yourself a few minutes to relax. A short walk or a snack can do wonders
- Take a few slow, deep breaths
- Consciously focus on the task of driving
- Use mindfulness techniques to recognize when your mind starts to wander
- If music helps, turn it on. If it feeds into your emotion, turn it off
- If your passenger is distracting, be honest with them
- If someone else is in the car who’s in a better state of mind, ask them to drive
When all else fails, you just have to accept the conditions aren’t going to change. No amount of stress or aggressive driving will change the situation. And there is no yuletide get-together or gift worth risking your, or someone else’s life for.