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Ways to Stay Sane While Driving

By Sandy Schroeder

Most of us spend a fair amount of time behind the wheel, and sometimes it’s extremely frustrating. If you struggle through morning and evening commutes, and do a lot of pick-up and drop-offs during the day, you may welcome some ways to let go of stress and avoid exhaustion.

Here are some tips from shape.com and Family Circle that may help you stay calm to avoid stress and road rage.

Relax neck, arms and fingers - If you are creeping along in a traffic jam and becoming more stressed by the moment, grip the steering wheel and tighten the muscles in the fingers, arms, shoulders and back. Hang on until your muscles begin to shake (about 45 seconds) then relax the grip. You will feel a wave of relief in the upper neck and arms that runs down to the fingers. Be careful to keep your foot on the brake as you change your grip on the wheel, and enjoy the stress release.

Enjoy audiobooks - Find authors you enjoy and stories that appeal to make commuting a pleasant lull instead of a grueling daily run. Use the stories to calm down and enjoy the time. If you never get a chance to read, this can be an opportunity.

Do red light countdowns - Whenever you are fuming as you sit in front of a redlight, simply start counting. This is a great distraction and it may surprise you to see how little time is absorbed.

Carry treasures with you - Keep a few small family trinkets or pictures of kids and pets in the car to remind you of your blessings. Sometimes, just taking a deep breath and focusing on your family can create a calmness that releases body-damaging stress.

Do hand yoga - Reach up over the top of the steering wheel and spread and stretch your fingers. Pause and then flex the wrists. Repeat. Then bend each finger independently into a square and push the fingernail with the thumb from the other hand to improve flexibility and stimulate blood flow.

Create a simple meditation - When traffic slows to a crawl, repeat a simple verse and let your mind and body slip into a more relaxed mode. At first, it may be difficult to maintain, but gradually you may welcome this automatic retreat.

Turn up the volume - Move your background music up a notch and play all of your favorites. Choose a few different moods, moving from classic rock to soft jazz or a soaring symphony. Create the same effect that you get when you listen to music while you walk on the treadmill.

As your new driving strategies kick in you may find you are more relaxed every day. Enjoy!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in League City, Tex.

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