from Dumb Little Man – Tips for Life by Jay White @ DLMDo you find yourself getting angry while driving? Is that an understatement? Does your blood boil? Do you curse like a sailor and secretly wish to launch projectiles at fellow drivers? Would you like to break this cycle of road rage? Well you can and it’s not that hard to do.
Controlling anger offers two great benefits. You will put less stress on your body which will keep your blood pressure down and you’ll also feel better. Secondly, you will you can lower your risk of an accident, since driving while angry makes you more likely to get into an accident.
Tips to Control Anger While Driving:
This is the first step. You must know why you want to change. This way when your triggers occur you can remind yourself of the benefits that will stem from becoming a more relaxed driver.
Take a few moments right now to simply jot down all the things that trigger your anger. Also identify the scenarios that trigger your anger. Examples: getting cut off, heavy traffic, running late, tailgating, being passed, etc.
Next, write down the positive new actions you can take when these triggers occur in the future. Here are some examples:
- Getting Cut Off – I will ease off on the gas and mentally welcome others to go ahead of me. I know that it won’t make much of a difference in when I arrive. I realize I’m not in a race.
- Heavy Traffic – I will make a choice to enjoy the ride. I won’t mentally fight situations that I can’t control. I will relax with the slow pace. I will look for and prepare ways to enjoy the ride such as listening to music, talk radio, audio books, or talking to friends on my cellphone headset.
- When I’m Late – I will plan to arrive early from now on so traffic won’t bother me. If I am late, I won’t get mad at other drivers. It’s not their fault I left late. I won’t get mad at myself. I will simply call ahead to my destination to announce that I will be late. I will accept it. What’s done is done. I will choose to relax and enjoy the ride regardless.
- Adopt New Habits
- Arrive Early. Always plan to leave 15-30 minutes earlier than you normally would. It’s amazing the amount of stress that this prevents. This one habit has made a huge difference in my life. Always bring something to occupy your time when you arrive such as reading or writing material.
- Intention Power. When you get into the car, before you turn the ignition, close your eyes. Take 5 slow deep breaths. Consciously relax your body. Blow out any stress or tension you are holding onto. Then commit in your mind to drive slowly, to remain calm & peaceful, and to enjoy the ride. Now smile and turn on the car.
- Yield. Make it a habit to yield to others both on the road physically and in your mind. Assume the best about people. Give the benefit of the doubt. Smile. Wave people on. What have you got to lose? (Not time. Remember you’ve left early, right?) And, next, expect nothing in return. Do this simply for your own benefit, not for gratitude.
- The Journey Philosophy. Every time you drive remind yourself that you’re not in a race. Wrap your mind around a completely new philosophy of loving and enjoying the journey. Save your racing instincts for when you are running, biking, or some other sport.
- Handling Kids. Make the ride fun. Talk, sing, and laugh with your kids. If the kids are unruly, always start off on a positive but firm note. Use sugar first. Appeal to them as if you are all on the same team. Ask them to help you out by not fighting or making too much noise. Refrain from sounding exasperated. That negative energy will make the situation worse. If you don’t get cooperation, simply state a consequence that is realistic, time-bound, and that you will follow through on. For instance if you are going to the County Fair, don’t make the consequence that you’ll turn around and go home (unless that is what you would prefer). Make it that the child will lose the privilege of their favorite toy for a day. Or something that only impacts the child and not everyone else. Your children will heed future warnings and comply if they know that you always follow through.