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10 Tips for a Calm Commute

10 Tips for a Calm Commute

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.

Happy driving!

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Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).


+ add your own
3:24PM PDT on Jun 9, 2012

Thanks! Highway commutes always makes me jumpy!!

2:03AM PDT on Apr 18, 2012

I actually liked the excitement of driving to work. It is what really woke me up (ha-ha-ha).

8:19PM PST on Mar 1, 2012

I read on the commute bus. I get over an hour of reading time each day that way and avoid the drive.

9:36PM PST on Feb 29, 2012

good tips, using public transportation helps also!

9:14PM PST on Feb 29, 2012

Good post! Thanks

9:06PM PST on Feb 29, 2012

It is a shambles out there on the roads, everyone seems to be in such a bloody hurry & travel way too close for comfort, I admit I have been known to make remarks back.

8:55PM PST on Feb 29, 2012

I love driving.Period.It's one of my me times.I only use my horn when someone does something stupid like pass me on a double yellow line curve in a rain storm in a procession of ten cars! Happened last year.Sad never a cop coming the other way.

4:18PM PST on Feb 29, 2012

# 11. Retire from your job as soon as you can. Now I'm finally able to thumb my nose at the traffic jams and road rage from a safe distance for a change.

1:50PM PST on Feb 29, 2012

I would like to add: use public transportation whenever possible and get into some great music on your Iphone or Android phone during the trip. Very calm commute.

12:38PM PST on Feb 29, 2012

Some great tips, but the biggest tip of all for a stress free commute (other than not commuting...I wish) is set out 5 or 10 minutes early so there's no rush, no pressure.

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