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The Agony of Commuting: 7 Tips to Make Your Morning Commute Less Stressful!

By Darla Dawald Published 04/5/2006 | Self Improvement
It's a great morning, you wake up feeling energized. You immediately get into your routine of exercise, shower, coffee and a healthy breakfast. Then you get dressed and ready to take on the day and all the challenges that come your way via your career. You jump into your vehicle turn the radio to your favorite station and head down the road.

It's great, you feel good, you can handle the harrowing traffic, you are prepared! You get on the freeway and it's a parking lot. Suddenly you feel anxious, you feel angry, your mood is disheartened. Your heart rate paces faster and harder. You find yourself yelling out some obscenities, hitting the steering wheel and basically just freaking out.

You arrive to work 10 minutes late, you rush in, frantic inside. Someone at work approaches you and makes a comment or asks a question and you simply put "go off on them". The entire day is this way and then 5:00 comes along and you find yourself back in the same siuation. When you finally make it home, home sweet home, the kids meet you at the door and instantly begin making demands or asking when dinner will be ready. You have had it!!!

Does any of this sound familiar? The best intentions will not keep you from the distess of the traffic and commute. Here are some suggestions for relieving the stress and making your commute more enjoyable.

1. Preparation

Mental preparation is essential! Make meditation part of your morning routine. 5-10 minutes in the morning can have high returns on the time invested.

2. Listen to music/self help tapes etc...

Find a soothing radio station or cd that you enjoy. If you are listening to metal, rap or rock you could be heightening your own stress levels. A good radio talk station, books on tape, soft jazz, easy listening are great choices. This keeps your mind active and focused rather than reative and anxious.

3. Take care of hygiene, makeup, hair at home!!!

So many people get out of bed late then they attempt to ready themselves in the car. Not only is this dangerous it adds to the stress because you are getting ready in a sort of frantic on the run state of mind. You really aren't helping yourself by attempting to save time by choosing to ready yourself during the commute. Do yourself and everyone else a favor...get ready for your day at home!

4. Use the time for planning or setting goals.

A pocket recorder is great! I have used this quiet time to create ideas, plan certain aspects of my life and set some tangible goals. I have written many a song while on the road with the help of my pocket recorder. Most cell phones today have a recording device, use it to your advantage.

5. Limit cell phone usage on the road.

If you absolutely must use your cell phone while commuting make sure you have a hands free, speaker phone system. Using a cell phone on the road is not only dangerous for you, it's dangerous for those driving around you. Limit your time, let the caller or recipient know you are on the road and set a time to communicate once you arrive at your destination. I have missed turn off ramps and had to take extra time to get to my destination because even though I thought I was alert...I still didn't see the sign.

6. Deep Breathing Exercises

This is a fantastic opportunity to make the most of your time driving to increase your blood oxygen levels. Studies have shown that daily deep breathing has health benefits! Not only does it relieve stress, it improves our health. The cells need oxygen to fucntion properly. Oxygen is carried through out our blood stream and feeds the body so to speak. Shallow breathing is not helpful. Use this time effectively and start your deep breathing exercises today!

7. Try a different route

Break up your routine, try a driving a different route. You may need to leave a little earlier, however, the benefits can be immeasurable! Try the more scenic route as opposed to the same old parking lot on the freeway.

Many times we read these tips and they sound great, however, just the idea of attempting to implement such tips can be stressful. Don't attempt to implement all these ideas at one. Take one at a time; once it becomes routine then add another.

Remember to be happy, when we are in a happy state of mind the body releases endorphins that relax the mind, the muscles, and increases your oxygen effectiveness. Endorphins simply put...are healing to the mind, body, and soul!

Whatever you do....do something soon! I hope you will improve your state of mind and take the agony out of your daily commutes!

Darla G. Dawald
[email protected]

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