17,600 minutes. That’s the amount of time most Americans spend behind the wheel annually according to a survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. That’s about 290 hours or approximately 12 days behind the wheel of a car. With all that windshield time, you’re more than likely to encounter some stressful moments along the road. We’re here to help.
There’s no shortage of stress on the road. With over 87% of Americans 16 years and older identifying as drivers in 2016, you’re not alone feeling a bit frazzled behind the wheel. While driving may not be intrinsically relaxing for most, there are many ways you can change your commute from stressful to blissful. Here are a few relaxation tips for driving so you can enjoy more miles with a smile.
This one may seem obvious but stress and anxiety can lead to many symptoms including shortness of breath. Deep breathing is a great way to release endorphins during a tough commute. Breathing in through your nose, holding the breath for about five seconds and calmly exhaling through your mouth is a proven way to relieve stress and promote relaxation. Repeat this process for a few minutes and find yourself transported to a blissful, relaxed state.
Whether your commute is on a crowded interstate, a rural highway or even smaller neighborhood streets, there is beauty all around you. Seeing beyond the stress and identifying unique beauty in the sun, clouds, sky or even the fellow drivers around you can transform your mental state in a positive way.
Using aromatherapy is probably not the first idea you have when it comes to relieving stress, but there has been a lot of developments recently that suggest just that. Smell is the strongest sense and influences brain activity directly. Your sense of smell is driven by olfactory bulbs in the limbic system of your brain that have a distinct connection to emotion. By enhancing the smells around you, your brain will take action to regulate stress and anxiety. Add essential oils like lavender or peppermint to your commute with this cup-holder diffuser from VAVA.
Singing just might be the easiest and most cost-effective way to relieve stress. Whether you have a great voice or not, singing releases muscle tension while decreasing the levels of cortisol (stress hormone) in your blood stream. Your built-in instrument uses the entirety of your body. It improves blood circulation and allows more oxygen to reach the brain. Furthermore, your ear has a tiny organ called the sacculus that reacts directly to the frequencies of singing and immediately triggers pleasure sensors in your brain to take your mind off that stressful commute.
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