It’s no secret that driving can be stressful, especially if you have a long commute on crowded roadways. Between gridlocked traffic (especially at the HRBT and Monitor Merrimac), unpredictable weather and the less-than-polite driving habits of some motorists, even the smallest trips can leave you with frayed nerves.
Don’t let road frustrations turn your stomach in knots. Instead, decompress and find your inner Zen by following these tips for a less-stressful drive.
1) Find the Right Music
One of the best things about music is the fact that it can invoke an emotional response. But you have to be careful about how your commuting mix makes you feel. Aggressive music can exacerbate your stress and make a potentially bad situation worse.
That doesn’t mean you have to listen to whale song or kids music to de-stress while driving. Find a genre that relaxes you, especially during particularly challenging drives like rush hour. Not sure where to start? Experts suggest music with slow tempos and subtle sounds. Think classical, jazz or easy listening to start and find a playlist that’s right for you.
2) Driving Aromatherapy
It’s also well-established that your sense of smell can have a direct effect on your state of mind. Help rid yourself of driving stress by arming your car with selected aromatherapy scents.
The next time you’re feeling frustrated and overwhelmed by your commute, try an air freshener with scents of lavender, bergamot, chamomile or lemon. These smells can help calm your nerves and keep you focused.
3) Regulate Your Breathing
“Relax and take a deep breath” is about the most common advice anyone gives or receives during a stressful situation. There’s a reason for that. Doctors recommend deep, regulated breaths as a way to naturally tell your body to slow down. These breathing exercises can slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure, giving your body a chance to relax.
The next time you find yourself late for work and stuck in traffic, don’t yell or honk your horn. Take a few deep, focused breaths and let the calm wash over you.
4) Avoid Stressful Situations
One of the most effective ways of dealing with stressful situations is to avoid them all together. If your commute involves a morning or evening rush hour, chances are you’ll find yourself frustrated at some point.
The good news about rush hour is that it’s pretty predictable. If you have some flexibility in your schedule, try to adjust your working hours to avoid the predictable gridlock. If you can’t, try leaving early for work and/or staying later to avoid the traffic.
Even a small change could pay dividends in the form of a shorter commute and less stress behind the wheel.
5) Ford Technology
Ford has some really cool vehicle technology that can help turn frustration into feat. Available SYNC® allows you to connect your mobile phone and queue up a low-stress playlist to listen to through the vehicle’s sound system. You can also use available SYNC services to find congested traffic areas to avoid. And may Ford vehicles come with cabin air filters that can remove some of the stressful odors, and help enhance the air quality inside your vehicle, creating a healthier, more comfortable environment for you and your passengers.
Also consider the available active park assist feature that allows selected Ford vehicles to practically park themselves. Finding a spot, much less cajoling your car into one amidst a busy street can be a nightmare for some. But active park assist takes the guesswork and white knuckles out of the equation by helping you maneuver into available spots.
By employing a few of these techniques, hopefully you can create a stress-free zone while you’re behind the wheel.