This image is oh, so familiar, right? Everyday we deal with traffic in Atlanta. No matter where we are or what time it is in the day, it seems this is what we find when we get on the road.
May is “Mental Health Month” and I realize how important our mentality is to our mood, our thoughts, our relationships, and our bodies. Stress is a dangerous thing with lots of effects, which I’ll probably blog about soon. However, I was thinking about Mental Health while driving to work, and I found myself stressing about the traffic. Then I realized, “I stress about traffic a lot!” It can easily get me going – whether it’s what another driver did or did not do, or all the lights turning red at the wrong time, or just being in a long line of cars. There is nothing I can do about it, but yet I start to get anxious, my neck and shoulders start to tense up and before I know it, I’m rushing around, rubbing my neck and having to take time to myself to regroup.
Whether it’s traffic, work, family, or something else that is causing you stress, there are things you can do about it. Every bad situation doesn’t have to be a stress builder. Below are a few ways that have helped me with “traffic stress” and if you are one of these people, then I hope you will take the time to implement one or more of these to help your day be less stressful.
Leave expectations at home: This is hard for me. I always expect for my carride to be perfect timing and hassle free. I’m not sure why, but I do. When I stopped that expectation and accepted the fact that there will be some red lights, a slow driver here and there, and maybe even missing a turn, I got less angry when they did happen.
Leave a few minutes early: This has probably helped me the most. I’m the type of person that will try and get one last thing done before I leave and end up leaving just in time, or late. This is a plan for disaster because I’m already in a rush. Don’t do that to yourself. Be intentional and think about the drive, not that last chore at the house – it can wait.
Enjoy the ride: Try to keep the car a happy place. Put on your favorite music or Podcast. Listen to some happy music. When I do this, I find myself singing and letting other cars in front of me, because I am in a better mood.
People will understand: You can get anxious about whether or not people will be upset with you because you are late. People (especially in this city), will understand. It has most likely happened to them more than once. And at this point, there is nothing you can do to change what is happening. So try to accept the things you cannot change and let it go.
Therapy for your mind: Two things you can try. One, you can meditate before you leave. Doing this will quiet your mind and give you peace on your drive. You can also get a massage. If you have been stressed and your muscles are tensing up and causing pain, then get a relaxing massage. Massage not only can relax the muscles, but also reduce anxiety, depression, and improve your sleep quality at night, putting you in a better mood.
Be Grateful: Be grateful that even if you arrived late or had a bad traffic experience, that you are alive and safe. That is the most important thing. Take comfort in that and smile because it could have been worse.
So even though life stresses are unavoidable, there are many ways to cope and reduce the effects.
Find your way to LiveFree from stress.