Keeping cool in the car is not always easy. With other drivers speaking around you, trying to get ahead of you, cutting you off, tailgating, honking, etc. The list goes on and on. Every time you get on the road, regardless of how orderly you are driving, regardless of your road civility, there is a likelihood that someone will test your patience and/or endanger your life. When you experience yourself as being thrown into a dangerous or life threatening situation, fight-or-flight reaction kicks in. This is an instinctive, often involuntary reaction to fear that includes anger, rage (fight) or panic, anxiety (flight); feeling extremely distraught and possibly desperate. This is quite a witch’s brew of distressing feelings that could for many does lead to unpredictable behavior. The road rage situation can likely last less than 5 seconds. What prolongs it is our continued engagement in the situation.
One of the best and most effective coping techniques for road rage is mindfulness. Practicing Mindfulness techniques can gently redirect your mind from being ultra-focused on the negative situation at hand. Basic Mindfulness techniques will suffice: redirect your awareness to the simple, pleasant aspects of your environment such as the sounds around you, tastes, smells, etc. Tune in to your body, notice in what area you’re holding the most stress, go there and release it. Just this simple, light diversion could be enough to bring you out of a potential road rage while maintaining your ability to pay attention to your driving.