For many, driving can be a stressful task especially during the commute to and from work. Traffic can turn even the calmest of people into a raging ball of stress. While crawling traffic may tip the pressure scales, taking a leisurely drive on the open road can help reduce the stress of everyday life. It may seem a bit counterintuitive at first by climbing into the very thing that causes a lot of our anxiety, but studies reveal that it can be extremely beneficial for a few reasons:
Spending some time alone driving can do wonders for stress levels, especially for those who live in populated cities, where it always feels like someone is around. Being in a car alone and focusing on the road helps to create some distance from the demands of our personal and work lives. Owning a car may not be within everyone’s reach, but taking a short drive out of town with a friend who owns a car is also a fantastic way to get some space and unwind.
One of the best benefits of taking a scenic drive is that it gives us some time away from cell phones, laptops, and other devices that take up far too much of our valuable minutes. Our phones have become a bad habit we can’t seem to break. According to studies, we check our phones for mails, notifications, and messages over 80 times a day. In fact, the study also reveals that one in ten people check their phones every four minutes! Some of the reasons behind our anxiety can be traced back to our smartphones. We feel pressured into responding to our friends, family, and coworkers immediately, but the instantaneous effects of our phones have started to catch up. By taking a leisurely drive, we are able to get some separation from our screens and take a moment to enjoy the moment and sensations around us without any distractions.
A change of scenery
When stress becomes overwhelming, a simple change of environment can do a lot of good. If work or home seems to be the main cause behind your anxiety, taking a drive away from both can help with creating a figurative and literal distance between the problem and yourself. It’s not about running away from the issues, but rather creating some distance in order to take some time to think clearly. The surrounding scenery on the open road is also a refreshing change from the four walls that seem to close in on us sometimes.
Now that we know how driving can help us unwind, it is still important to practice safe driving. The drive will be relaxing, but you still have to stay alert. If you find yourself zoning out and feeling sleepy, it’s time to pull over for a break. Turn the aircon up for a refreshing chill or stop at the nearest gas station to stretch and buy some cold refreshments. If the journey has really wiped you out, contact a friend or family member to fetch you or stay the night at the closest hotel.
The best way to get the full benefit of driving is to avoid busy highways, cities, or construction sites, instead head towards the tranquil towns, beaches, or the countryside. Drive safe!