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7 Ways to Stay Relaxed Behind the Wheel

Don't let traffic jams and road rage ruin your day. Stay calm and in control with these stress-reducing driving do's.

1. Counting is an age-old remedy to defuse stress. Say you're in a rush and stuck at a red light. Simply count the seconds that you're waiting. After you realize most stoplights last less than a minute, your impatience won't get the best of you next time.

2. Practice hand yoga while delayed in traffic. It's beneficial for all but especially lovely for computer users or those with arthritis. While stopped, reach your arms over the top of the steering wheel, spreading and stretching your fingers. Hold a few seconds, then flex wrists. Repeat three times. Next, bend each finger, individually, into a square and push gently against the fingernail area with the opposite hand's thumb, working to improve joint flexibility and blood flow.

3. Remember how tranquilizing it was when your parents read you a bedtime story? Listening to stories calms adults too. Keep a variety of audiobooks to enjoy while delayed in the car or on long commutes. Steer clear of deep-relaxation tapes; you want to calm down, not fall asleep!

4. Improve your view. Attach a piece of your child's art, a beautiful postcard or prized photo from a favorite vacation spot to the inside of your car's sun visor. When stopped at a red light or in traffic, flip it down and float into your child's world, that mellow mountain retreat or relaxing Caribbean beach. Slip another stress-reducing snapshot scene into your handbag to fly off to vacationland at other times.

5. Meditation is a simple form of relieving stress. Repeat words like peace or love to calm the mind and relieve mental strain. A quiet mind equals a relaxed body and spirit.

6. Can't find enough time to get those eight glasses of water in a day? Do your health a favor and transform waiting into hydrating. Carry a bottle of water with you and sip at every opportunity.

7. Nothing soothes the soul like music. No matter where your car is stopped, punch in your favorite radio station and start singing. Better yet, carry a stockpile of your favorite tapes or CDs. You may not be able to stand up and salsa, but your soul will be dancing and your traffic worries gone.

 

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