Relax and Drive

Breathing is something you probably never think about when you get behind the wheel. But if you pay attention to how  you breathe when you drive your car, it will tell you a lot about your stress level and can greatly affect how you drive and how you feel before during and after a long drive. Next time you know you are going to be driving, 15 minutes before you get in the car, plan time to go to the basement or a cool, quiet room that you can darken. Lay down, close your eyes and if you wish, put on a nature sounds CD or whatever music or sounds are relaxing to you. Breathe deeply, slowly and in a relaxed fashion. Let go of all your thoughts, your stresses and your worries and just look into the darkness behind your eyelids and let all the tension go.  Then after you have laid there quietly for 10 minutes, take the same CD with you as you grab a glass of water and slowly walk to and get into the car. Put on the same CD in the car and close your eyes quietly and in a relaxed state of being as you sit, seat belted in the car. Breathe slowly, in and out, deeply and relaxed. Then after 5 minutes of that, slowly and leisurely start the car and go on your way, with the same CD playing and the same relaxed breathing and relaxed physical state.
Only use the muscles you need to drive. You don’t need to tense up your shoulders, your neck or your entire arms, legs or abs. Just relax and drive – let the car do the work for you. That is why you have power steering, power brakes, air conditioning and all the rest – so that you can relax and let the car do the heavy lifting so to speak. If you try this once a week, you will not only drive more peacefully and easily, you will likely find yourself more relaxed as a whole, as this relaxed frame of mind and body seeps into other areas of your life gradually. You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to what happens to you. Relax and drive and you will be a bit happier and at peace a few moments a week in the very least. It could change your life or just change how you approach driving – either way, it will be an improvement from driving around all stressed out, tensed up and angry at the world, right?
Mike Machina has written for 944 Magazine/944.com, Comcast, The Onion and Westword and has been a car enthusiast since he was first able to get behind the wheel of a truck on his friend’s farm in elementary school. He specializes in blogging about classic cars, everyday driving tips, maintenance, insurance and car humor.

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