A potentially stressful day stretches ahead, and you are on the road. Horns blare. Brakes screech. Cars overtake you at near-manic speed. A careless pedestrian zips across, barely avoiding being knocked down. You want to scream…of course you do, because all that stressful driving is raising your blood pressure, tensing up your muscles and perhaps spiraling you toward a nervous breakdown.
I have been there, yelled that. Now I know somewhat better, because Ayurveda has helped me, and perhaps time has mellowed me. So, here are some sure-shot ways to keep calm when you’re on the road next time. I do hope they help you, too.
- Turn off the excitable, rapid-speaking voice of the radio jockey and put on some soothing music. You have so many options: chants and meditation music, an engaging audio book or easy instrumentals.
- Chew on fennel seeds to keep your mouth fresh. Amazing how quickly fresh breath can improve your mood.
- Drink some water when the light turns red. Its soothing feel manages to calm you down.
- Use the waiting time to stretch and deep breathe. This is the best anti-stress tip I know of, in any situation.
- Munch on an energy bar, or pop a few almonds and raisins into your mouth–you’ll be rewarded with both energy + calm.
- Keep your thumb off the horn. You’ll get used to it.
- Try to prepare for the morning commute well in advance. Make sure your clothes are ironed and breakfast is planned. These little things reduce morning stress greatly and allow you to be cool on the road.
- Treat each irritant on the road as an opportunity to cultivate sattva or positivity. If the coffee spills on the seat, take a deep breath and remind yourself it is not the end of the world. If the car ahead of you refuses to give way, resist the urge to curse.
- Surround yourself with anti-anxiety scents such as peppermint, rose or chamomile.
- Ditch the car. Try local transport, or if that is again too stressful for you, explore carpooling. Research studies show that carpooling does more than save gas expenses–it lowers stress levels and helps form new friendships.