I live in a city where traffic is inevitable. The city’s plan is to put more money into public transportation, but that doesn’t work if it takes me 4 busses and 2 hours to get somewhere I could drive to in half that time. Time is money people.
I am sometimes short-tempered at times and driving is frustrating. There is always a jerk who does something irritating. I’m sure I’m that driver that has irritated others too, but I’ve never been in an accident in my twelve-ish years of driving, so I generally consider myself a decent driver.
Sometimes I overreact to other drivers. Like I described in this post, I get irrationally upset with people who pass my turn at a roundabout or do other irritating things while driving. We all make mistakes. The thing I’ve done lately is that when someone does something irritating, I just take a breath and say “namaste” out loud. I find that this trigger word helps reinforce the idea of patience. It also reminds me that when I get upset, the only person it’s hurting is me. The person in the other car doesn’t care and probably doesn’t even now whether I’m irritated. The word namaste is a term of respect used as a greeting in Hindi, and in my mind (though I know this isn’t technically correct) it’s the idea of “peace be with you” and letting that person and those feelings go. I’ve had to drive a lot more lately and this typically helps.
Those things help with road rage, or at least driving frustration, but my number one tip for preventing road rage and improving your commute is: listen to audiobooks. I get to “read” a book, it makes time go by much more quickly, and if there’s traffic, I am far more patient. Try it out. Almost every book comes in the audiobook format. I just finished All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which I loved. Right now I’m listening to The Light Between Oceans which I’m not too keen on yet. The story is moving a little slowly and the reader has an Australian accent that is hard for me to hear at times. On deck is The Alchemist. I try to pick books that I’ve meant to read or ones that I’m not sure I have patience for. So far it’s totally revolutionized my commute. I’m sure there are parts of the story that I miss because I’m driving and listening and not reading, but overall, it has been fantastic. You can pick stories your kids might if they’re in the car. There are plenty of non-fiction options if you refer to take that route. Really, there’s something for everyone. There are plenty of options to buy them used as well, so it’s not a huge cost. Depending on how much you drive, each book should last you awhile, probably at least a month unless you commute for more than two hours everyday. If you look up the audiobook on Amazon.com, they’ll tell you how many hours it is.
If you aren’t driving, you can download an audiobook on an mp3 player or other device and listen to it on the bus if you’re like me and get motion sickness if you try to read while moving. There is a deal between Amazon.com and Audible to download audiobooks and there’s even an unlimited use feature, but to use it you need constant access to the internet or a data network, so just check your data plan beforehand. I didn’t realize that before downloading it and giving them a bunch of information, so I’m just giving you a heads up.
Give it a shot and let me know if there are any audiobooks that you particularly like or dislike.