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Ways to Reduce Stress While Driving

By HERWriter
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Mental Health related image Photo: Getty Images

Rush hour traffic can put everyone on the alert and make people even go into survival mode, with hearts racing every time an accident almost happens. Even without rush hour traffic, driving can be scary in a busy city.

At least this is how I view driving, since driving has been one of the activities that has produced the most anxiety for me my entire life. Luckily for any women like me who experience some form of anxiety or stress while driving, experts and everyday people have some tips on how to reduce stress related to driving.

Len Saunders, a children’s health, fitness and wellness specialist, said in an email that breathing exercises can help relieve stress, even while driving.

“While driving, take a deep breath through your nose, hold the breath for four seconds, and slowly exhale through your mouth,” Saunders said. “Do this five times, find a comfort zone in your seat, and focus on the driving at hand.”

Susanne Alexander-Heaton, the author of “The ABC Field Guide to Faeries,” suggested turning a generally negative aspect of driving into a positive experience.

“Instead of cursing red lights, look at it as an opportunity to be fully present and focus on deep breathing,” Alexander-Heaton said. “You will be amazed at the difference it makes and the fact that you will actually look forward to red lights.”

Angela Betancourt, who lives in Miami, said in an email that she experiences horrible traffic during a 45-minute commute to work and back home. However, she has been able to reduce the stress that she used to experience while driving through the six following steps:

1) “I prepare my route before getting in my car so that I don’t fear
getting lost.”

2) “I keep perspective when I’m stuck in very bad traffic. If an accident
on the interstate is making you late, remember that it’s NOT you in an
accident and someone else is having a far worse day.”

3) “I take a few deep breaths when I'm feeling angry [at] another driver or
road rage creeping up.”

4) “I focus on my destination and acknowledge that I'm not in my car

5) “I listen to music that I love and I sing out loud. I don’t care if

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Great article. Like the deep breathing technique.

June 29, 2016 - 12:11am
EmpowHER Guest

Enjoyed as well. The deep breathing is helpful for me!

January 13, 2012 - 3:48pm
EmpowHER Guest

I enjoyed this article. Very helpful tips. The deep breathing techniques suggested help me out a lot.

January 13, 2012 - 8:09am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.