4 Staying Happy Driving Tips

Take the stress out of your daily commute.

Many of us log almost 45 Kilometers and nearly one hour behind the wheel every day, according to a recent study.  But no need to worry, here are a few stress busters to turn the interior of your car into a Zen-filled oasis certain to help you steer clear of a bad mood.

Stretch Your Neck Muscles

Health and Yoga enthusiasts says that people often hold tension in their neck and shoulders, particularly those who sit at a desk or are seated in a car. “They tend to lean forward and stick their chin out or clench their jaw, which causes tension in the neck.”

You can let a lot of that go when you’re stopped at a red light, parked or once you’ve switched the engine off by first taking a deep breath.  As you exhale, let your chin drop toward the chest, gently stretching your neck muscles. On your next inhale, roll your right ear toward your right shoulder and exhale by rolling the chin back to center. Repeat on the left side.

Make It Nose Worthy

Newsflash, your nose is connected to your mood. “When we breathe in the aroma of essential oils through the nose, they are absorbed into the limbic system which is in charge of regulating our emotions.” A combination of lavender, frankincense and rosemary essential oils alleviates stress by calming the mind while providing the right amount of energy, focus and clarity needed while driving. “This combination will bring balance to the emotions without being overly sedating.”

Waiting to Exhale

When a fellow driver cuts you off or rides your back bumper, instead of blowing your top, it’s best to take a deep breath. “Taking slow, deep breaths, triggers the rest and relaxation response of the sympathetic nervous system, and acts as a shut off switch for the fight-or-flight response, which people often experience when they’re stressed.”

Your best mood-boosting breathing technique is performed by inhaling slowly for four counts, holding the breath for two counts and exhaling for four counts. “This will help calm the mind and makes the heart pump more slowly and rhythmically.”  Repeat as needed.

Get Twisted

Your physical and mental state before you get into your car can have a lot to do with your mood on longer rides. Before heading off, yoga poses that open the spine and hips can help reduce discomfort and stress during the trip.

Here’s what you can do – reaching your arms high overhead while gently pushing the pelvic region forward to create a slight bend in the back. Follow this by swan diving forward with hands on either side of the feet and knees bent as needed. Grab opposite elbows and let your head hang heavy (ragdoll pose). Shake the head yes and no while letting the hips sway side to side to release tension in these areas. While bending the knees, slowly roll up one vertebra at a time.

You can also try a seated spinal twist. Sitting in the car before buckling up, bring the left hand across to the right knee or seat edge while looking over the left shoulder. Hold for five breaths, then switch.

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