"I've got nowhere special to be, so why don't you get off my butt!"
I was actually riding his bumper because I was rushing to get to work. I had already hit three red lights and now I was staring at that rusty old truck. Since I couldn't pass him I eased off my gas and thought about that bumper sticker. The more I read it, the more it made sense. That man understood that whenever he got to his destination, regardless of the time, it was going to be just fine.
When you get mad at someone for driving too slow, you're creating stress that you can't control.
Why punch at the sand when you can create a sandcastle?
You do need tension to function, but too much will harm you. So don't over tax your body's resources. If you can learn to balance your stress you'll improve your mood.
I recently read a story from Buddha Cab called I've Developed An Aversion to Cab Driving. He could use a little stress relief. He has a quote that I will share with you.
" ... all that driving takes a toll on a commuter's time, money, and peace of mind. David Lewis, a British scientist who studies the brain's response to stress, found that the tension commuters experience when stuck in traffic is comparable to that felt by first-time parachutists. Part-time New York cabdriver Sol Soloncha knows that too well. ‘I'm a Buddhist,' he says. ‘I do yoga, I practice meditation, and weekday traffic gets so bad that even I can't keep my composure during it.'
Finding Those Gems
I believe that many of us feel the same stress when we commute to work. If you can't relax behind the wheel then you need to learn some stress relief techniques for when you're commuting. For example, I keep a tennis ball in my car and I'll squeeze it to occupy my muscles and relieve my tension. You may want to put on your favorite CD and try to zone out to the beautiful sounds instead of allowing your anger to bubble over.
Everyone should learn a few stress techniques and apply them when they are commuting to work. Then use them when they are most needed. The key to developing emotional intelligence is applying the right techniques at the right time.
My absolute favorite technique is to find things that I appreciate as I am driving to work. Maybe it's an Oak tree that I always pass but never noticed or an old home with brown paint peeling off of it. Whatever it is, I make sure I give a little thanks for it being there.
This technique is what I call "castle building" - making something beautiful out of something frustrating. You can learn to curb your stress when you get stuck behind a truck by appreciating the things that you would normally speed on by. You can also use this "castle building" technique on the train, bus or bike so however you get to work try this technique on your next commute and let me know how it helps.
What techniques do you use to curb your commuter anger?
If you liked this article you'll probably enjoy these:
- How to: Balance Out Your Work Stress
- 7 Tips to Process Your Stress Faster
- Work Bullies are Stressful
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