(BPT) - The majority of Americans drive to work ó 86 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau óand itís probably safe to say that all of them have been irritated by the commute at some point. Heavy volume, clogged roads, construction delays, bad weather and inconsiderate fellow commuters ó driving to and from work can be downright stressful.
Those arenít the only reasons to dislike your daily commute; the average American spends 45 minutes on the road each way and shells out nearly $2,600 per year on commuting to work, according to Citi's ThankYou Premier Commuter Index. Until you land your dream job working from home, however, you can do a lot to make your daily drive more pleasant. The calmness experts at Aura Cacia, a brand of Frontier Co-op, offer some tips for calming your commute:
* Get a good nightís rest, especially if you hit the road at an early hour. If youíre tired when you get behind the wheel, youíre more likely to become irritated even by small annoyances. Plus, drowsy driving is dangerous.
* Aroma has a big impact on your mood. Road fumes, old food wrappers and spill-related funky smells can make the inside of your car an unpleasant place to breathe. Clean the trash from your car daily, and take steps to freshen the air inside. Wipe down the steering wheel and dash with an aromatherapy wipe, like Aura Caciaís Revive Body Cloths. Pre-moistened with pure essential oils to shift your state of mind, the compostable and alcohol-free cloths wonít harm vehicle surfaces and will leave your car interior smelling fresh and calm.
* Take off in a good mood. Before you start the car, rest your hands in your lap, close your eyes and take a few deep, relaxing breaths. Silently repeat an affirmation for the day, such as, ďToday will be a good day.Ē Starting your drive in a calm mood can set the tone for the commute and the entire day.
* Give yourself plenty of time. Although your commute might normally be 30 minutes, things happen ó from road accidents to car problems or just having to go back home for something you forgot. Build a few minutes into your schedule to allow for the unexpected. If all else fails, however, accept that youíll be late and donít drive aggressively or recklessly to make up the time. Itís better to arrive late than risk an accident.
* Know alternate routes and use a GPS app to get real-time traffic updates on your smartphone, so you can avoid accidents, construction delays, severe congestion and all the stress they can bring to your commute.
* Many people listen to music or talk radio in the car to make the commute go faster. But remember, what you hear can affect your mood, so avoid music thatís overly stimulating and that might make you jittery, or talk radio discussions that get you fired up. Choose soothing music and talk shows that are more entertaining than inflammatory.
* Avoid over-reacting to someone elseís driving. You canít control what other drivers do, but you can control your response. When youíre on the receiving end of inconsiderate behavior, try not to escalate the situation ó and your level of aggravation ó by reacting aggressively or rudely. Youíll only make yourself more upset. Instead, take a few deep breaths and focus on your positive decision to not let your commute ruin the day.
Driving to work might never be your favorite part of the day, but with a few simple tactics, you can help yourself stay calmer and safer behind the wheel.