Updated 14 February 2014

Road rage attacks

If you're already stressed out, and someone in front of you behaves like a complete fool on the road, it's difficult to keep calm.. Here's how you can do it.

It's 8am, it’s pouring with rain and you're already running late for work. As you drive round a bend in the highway, you see it - a traffic jam as long as the Great Wall of China.

You feel the tension starting to creep into your shoulders, your teeth are clenched and every blast of a hooter raises your stress level a notch. Soon you're cursing other drivers for their stupidity and bad driving. But, before you succumb to road rage and get out your car to give the guy that just cut you off a piece of your mind, stop and try this simple exercise to calm down - it might save both of your lives:

  1. Clasp your palms together behind your head.
  2. Slowly pull your head forward, you should feel the stretch all the way down your neck to the bottom of your spine. Do not force your head forward, simply relax and let the weight of your hands do all the work. Hold this position for at 20 seconds or longer.
  3. Breathe out with a deep sigh.
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 for as many times as you can.

Also make sure that when you are driving, your hands are not clasped too tightly on the steering wheel. If they are, make a conscious effort to relax them. Also check now and again to see if your shoulders and legs are relaxed and loose while driving.

Other ways to banish road rage:

  • Make sure your car is always clean inside, because like a neat desk, a clean car makes for a clear mind. So throw out all the old cold drink cans, cigarette butts, kiddies' toys and newspapers.
  • Avoid road rage incidents by making way for others. You'd rather get to work a few minutes late than to be delivered to hospital in a body bag. Getting into a fight over who has right of way is simply just not worth it. Even though it may feel like it at the time.
  • To stop your car smelling like an old ashtray, wash the dashboard and mats with a solution of water and a few drops of lemon and rosemary essential oils.
  • Make it clear to your children that the car is not a place in which to play or make a noise. If your kids are driving you batty, you are more likely to snap if another driver steals your parking bay or flashes their lights at you.
  • If you've had one too many, you shouldn't be driving at all. But remember, apart from all other things, alcohol also increases your aggression levels. You and your passengers are more likely to overreact to an incident if you've just come from the pub.
  • Remember that the road is a public space. Your car feels like your personal space, though. If someone cuts in in front of you, they are just bad drivers. They have nothing personal against you. Hoot by all means, but don't try and do anything irresponsible.
  • Choose soothing music to listen to and avoid aggressive music and loud, obnoxious radio DJs. "Talking" books on CD are also very calming.
  • Add some feng shui to your car, by hanging a small silver ball with a red string/ribbon from your rearview. This will help deflect negative/destructive energy.
  • Mostly, remember that you don't know anything about the other driver - once he gets out of his car, you;ve entered an uncontrolled scenario that could go in any direction - better safe than sorry.

(Health24, William Smook and Susan Erasmus)

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