Every time you get behind the wheel of a car, you’re in control of a 2 ton weapon. Yipes! What a strange, but very accurate, way to think about it. But knowing that might make you more aware of how serious the privilege of driving really is. You may need to slow down your anxious driving.
You are expected by whatever state granted you your license to operate that vehicle in a safe manner so you don’t harm yourself or other people on the road. Are you taking that responsibility seriously or do you just see your car as a way to get you from one frantic place to another?
You could be training yourself to always be in a hurry every time you get in the car and that spills over to other areas of your life.
So how do you stop this very unhealthy (and potentially) dangerous habit?
Ways to Slow Down and be More Mindful about Driving
Don’t ever purposely engage in distracting behavior while driving.
Those texts can wait. You sure don’t need to check your e-mail. Digging through your purse while driving 80 mph for a piece of gum isn’t worth it.
If you must listen to a podcast, make sure your phone is Bluetoothed in to your speakers BEFORE you even put the car in Drive. I understand that commute time is the perfect time to catch up on podcasts and I listen to them pretty much every work day, but I connect before I leave my driveway or the work parking lot. It only takes a few minutes and it lets me keep my eyes on the road.
I listened to a great interview once with Oprah and RuPaul where they talked about being addicted to the rush of being late. Whaaaaaaaaaaaat? Why would anyone be addicted to that? But we are.
We get a genuine adrenaline kick by having to do ten things when we only have time for two. It plays into the pleasure sensors in our brains. We feel accomplished.
It’s the same feeling when you’re rushing around, running late. The prize is getting to wherever you’re going on time even though you know it’s probably impossible. It can be an addiction, a learned behavior, just like anything else.
If you know you’re doing it then retrain yourself to leave just five minutes earlier. Then ten. Then fifteen.
That extra time makes your drive time calmer which sets up your day in a better way.
Consider your drive time to be part of your work hours.
If people can’t contact you for non-emergencies while you’re at work then train them not to contact you while you’re driving. Unless you’re a doctor or a first responder there probably aren’t many emergencies you have to know about while driving.
Make your drive time your Mindfulness practice time.
Mindfulness is being in the moment, which to me means not multitasking. Driving is the perfect time to practice this. Even major insurance companies are telling their customers that mindfulness is important when you’re behind the wheel.
Do your driving habits need to be simplified so you’re less stressed behind the wheel?
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