5 Ways To Stay Happy When Driving (No Matter How Bad the Traffic is)
Do you want your daily drive to work to be more enjoyable?
For most people, the thought of driving to work is not one that fills them with joy. Add in a good dose of traffic and the feeling starts to become one of dread.
However, driving doesn’t have to be a stressful and unhappy necessity. The confines of your car can actually become a place of pleasant solitude, family fun, or even relaxation.
1. Change Your Mind Set
The first hurdle to overcome when it comes to negative feelings about driving is to simply recalibrate how you feel about it all. This is not easy and it requires some thinking time.
Try to look at why driving isn’t a pleasure, look at what makes it stressful and then take these things apart bit by bit. Perhaps other road users might annoy you or even intimidate you. If they do, try to rise above them mentally. They are just people and they are just trying to get somewhere. If they are rude then let them be the unhappy ones, do not let their negative attitude ruin your experience.
The same principle needs to be applied to driving in traffic. A traffic jam is something that can happen to anyone and most of the time it cannot be avoided. Yes, they are boring, but ultimately they are something everyone has to deal with and they don’t really do anyone any harm. The key to traffic jams is to be well prepared and to use the time well.
2. Food and Drink
First of all, it is important to state that eating and drinking while driving, although not illegal, can have legal ramifications. If it is deemed your actions are careless and present a danger to others, then you could be fined.
That being said, one way to make sure driving is a happier experience is to always make sure you have some food and drink close at hand.
This tip really comes into its own if you find yourself in a traffic jam. Simply having a drink and perhaps a small healthy snack can really help take your mind off the traffic and make you feel better.
This can also work wonders if you have passengers, and especially kids in the car. Any type of journey becomes a negative experience if you are hungry or thirsty. Long runs and traffic can become very unpleasant very quickly without sustenance.
It is safe to say that nearly all cars these days have at least a radio to keep drivers and passengers entertained and most have a CD player or MP3 options too. However, the type of entertainment you choose can have a big effect on how you feel during the journey.
Music is a great option but make sure you keep a wide choice because a long stint in a jam can soon make one genre sound repetitive. The real tip here though is to think a bit outside the box. Try getting some audio books on CD or MP3. Getting into a good book is a great way to pass the time and taking the edge off a bad traffic congestion.
Family stories like Harry Potter can really engage the kids too and avoid the “are we there yet” whining. Even small runs through rush hour traffic can become enjoyable when you know there is another gripping installment of a new book waiting for you.
But don’t stop at audio books. Try self-help courses, language courses, and so on. The possibilities are huge.
This is not only a way of keeping a drive more interesting. It is also a way of removing the feeling of wasted time behind the wheel.
4. Try Different Routes
With today’s GPS and Sat Nav technology comes the ability to take almost any road and still end up being guided to your desired destination. While going in totally the opposite direction is certainly not a great idea, taking that side road you always thought might be a short cut can add some interest to an otherwise dull feeling journey.
A great by-product of trying a new route is finding new scenery to enjoy or maybe even a fun new place to eat at. Even a new route that isn’t that exciting can be better than the same route you always take.
5. Keep Your Car Happy
These tips are about keeping you happy behind the wheel but making sure your car is in tip top condition can actually make driving far less stressful and therefore a happier experience. Whether you admit it to yourself or not, driving a car that has some niggles is stressful.
Those little knocking noises or that intermittent whining can make you quite anxious that the car could break down at any point. It might never materialize but the fact that it is there can cause low level anxiety and make driving an unhappy experience.
Get your car serviced, keep it topped up with oil, water and washer fluid and you may find a weight lifted from your driving you never knew was there.
Driving should not be an unhappy experience. It might not always be the most enjoyable thing you do each day but with a few small changes, you can turn something that you hate into something far more pleasant. This change of heart will have a knock-on effect on how you behave when you reach your destinations too and whether that is work or home, that surely cannot be a bad thing.