Why Your Counselor May Suggest Leisure Car Rides For Your Mental Health

For many people, riding automobiles induces a significant amount of stress and anxiety. Getting stuck in traffic and the commute adds to this. This is why being in a city or a densely populated area can be extremely dreadful. Sometimes, all you want to do is to escape.

Surely, being stuck behind the wheel can be stressful when you live in an urban area. But in the right situation, riding a car could be a form of therapeutic activity that benefits your well-being. Based on a study from the University of California, motorcycle rides may have the same effect as a gym workout to alleviate stress.

Furthermore, according to 2017 research, approximately 62% of individuals enjoy driving or riding vehicles just for fun. It can be a form of making memories and a chance to explore various destinations for most people. But did you know that leisure car rides are also known to have mental health benefits? Here are the reasons why your counselor may suggest this activity to you:

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Provides You Time To Think Alone

We all need to have little time for ourselves occasionally. Research suggests that spending time alone can have certain psychological benefits. Solitude can allow you to stimulate your emotional and intellectual capacities. It can help you better understand your situation and may result in a deeper understanding of your sense of self.

Going on long car rides, in this case, is the best opportunity to achieve this. It is a great way to unwind and have fun at the same time. Leisure car rides can provide you with the perfect solitary setting that you need. Your counselor might advise you to take these joy rides whenever you feel overwhelmed but can still drive.

When clearing your mind, you will also have the opportunity to reflect on the essential things in your life. For example, you can reflect on your goals, needs, and desires. Ultimately, you will learn the importance of taking time off from everything in your life. You might need this even more if you live in a congested and population-dense area. 

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Practicing Mindfulness To Reduce Stress

Leisure car rides are also the perfect setting to practice mindfulness. It is a form of meditation where you recognize your presence at a particular moment. When you become more attuned with your surroundings, thoughts, and emotions, you will feel more relaxed. You can achieve this through the quiet environment which car rides provide.

Simply changing your scenery can alleviate your acute stress, especially if there is a lot of tension coming from your school or workplace. A change in scenery might let you emotionally and mentally detach from your problems, if temporarily. You might find that passing through different areas or landscapes calms you down more than anything. 

Your counselor might recommend leisure car rides as a form of meditation to reduce your stress. What you need to keep in mind is practicing calm driving conditions. Remember to check the road you will drive on. Ensure that there aren’t many things that can distract you from driving. You should also look into the weather because it is better to take a joy ride in good weather. Finally, consider the time of day when you will take a drive. Ideally, you should not be on the road with many other drivers.

Helps You Regain Control

Aside from clearing your mind and reducing stress, leisure car rides can also help you gain control. Being a passenger in a public commute or even in someone else’s car can make you feel trapped. When you are stuck in traffic, you are unable to do anything. This might make you feel powerless. This feeling is similar to when you have felt frustrated and disappointed in yourself or in something that happened in your life. 

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A car ride might simulate the feeling of control for you. Being behind the wheel suggests that you are in control of where the car will go and, therefore, control your future. You might even feel a sense of independence during a good drive. Contrary to the helplessness when you are a passenger, the freedom that driving your car offers is pleasurable and powerful. 

Whether you feel the pressure to perform better or simply cannot grasp your freedom, a drive will surely do you good. Driving offers opportunities to self-reflect, but also it lets you do this while you are in control. This allows you to develop some confidence, first in your driving skills and later on in life in general.

Long Bumpy Rides Give You An Adrenaline Rush

Adrenaline is the hormone released when you experience a stressful and dangerous situation that excites your body. While car rides and drives are usually leisurely, you can be experimental because you know your way around a car. Your counselor will encourage you to take a drive to help stimulate your mind and body. However, they will discourage risky behavior, especially if you are not in the best of dispositions.

However, if they trust you, they might encourage a little adrenaline in the form of bumpy rides or driving courses. An adrenaline rush is said to make you feel alive, if momentarily. It makes your heart beat faster, which increases the blood flow in your muscles. However, there is no scientific evidence claiming that this sensation makes you genuinely feel alive. Nonetheless, feeling some safe excitement can contribute to a positive change in your mindset. 

All in all, going for a car ride or a drive is a good idea. You can even opt to take a few days of vacation from work or school and change your surroundings for an extended period. Remember what they always say: the journey you take is as important as where you’re headed. So stop and smell the roses, take in your surroundings and remember to reflect on yourself during your drive. 

Road Rage

What is road rage? Why is there road rage? What are the causes of road rage? How can we avoid road rage?

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Certainly, the rise of automobiles has improved transportation throughout the world. Driving became a necessity of mankind to travel and to import goods and products. For some, driving can be a relaxing activity you can enjoy, especially when the road is wide and the sun is out. 

However, in the last few decades, there is an observable increase in automobiles in streets resulting in crowding and congestion. And if you are always driving, chances are you have often encountered bad drivers, traffic jams, and roadworks.

Along with the frustration, you may feel stress and anger while driving. This is fairly normal and common for most people. Yet, if you find yourself engaging in aggression while on the road, you may be exhibiting road rage. Read further to know how counseling can help you overcome this behavioral problem.

What Is Road Rage?

Road rage is an episode where an auto driver exhibits explosive anger due to the inconveniences on the road. Road rage is seen as a form of retaliation against another incident or person while driving. Often, a raging driver believes that the other driver offended or wronged them. This makes them want to take revenge.

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Road rage can manifest in actions like racing with or aggressively overtaking another driver. It can also be purposely cutting another person while they are changing lanes. It can also take the form of verbally abusing and assaulting the other driver, screaming, and shouting. However, the defining characteristic of road rage is the manifestation of underlying anger issues. Therefore, road rage can be seen in forms such as:

  • Honking
  • Speeding
  • Weaving
  • Ramming intentionally
  • Tailgating
  • Driving on sidewalks

Although road rage may be portrayed as scenes of drivers threatening each other, this may not always be the case. Historically, road rage has been linked to violence. According to the AutoVantage Club, approximately 37% of incidents involve firearms in the United States alone. In addition, an estimated 218 murders and 12,610 injuries in the last 7 years are associated with road rage.

The Common Causes Of Road Rage

Road rage often comes from personal stress, which can be attributed to inconveniences experienced when driving. In addition, it may come from the environmental circumstances drivers face while on the road. Aside from these, there may be psychological stressors aggravating this episode. They may come from work, family, or other sources.

When drivers are stuck in their automobiles, for example, they feel not being in control of these circumstances. As a result, they tend to feel frustrated and upset, so they project these feelings on such aggressive activities, hence road rage.

Here are some of the major causes of road issues:

  • Being stuck in heavy traffic
  • Being less apprehensive because of anonymity on the road
  • Being distracted while driving
  • Being extremely impatient

Oftentimes, road rage also comes from your initial reaction triggered by the behavior of others. Depending on your temperament, these can lead you to lose control of your behavior. It can result in inappropriate aggression when driving, especially when you cannot stay calm during uncontrollable instances. 

How Counseling Can Help With Road Rage?

Seeking help from a counselor or any type of mental health professional can help you deal with road rage. Like any form of behavioral problem, this event might be a form of underlying anger or anxiety disorder. The difference is that it manifests on the road.

Counseling can help you understand these causes and roots. They may examine your daily life and your psychological stressors. Your counselor will encourage you to openly discuss these stressors and guide you on dealing with them. 

For instance, your anger may have come from frustrations in your married life. In this case, your counselor will focus on the specificity of your problems in marriage. In addition, they may ask to involve your family in counseling to help you develop a healthy coping mechanism.

Your counselor can also help you lessen the impact of road rage on your daily life. They may teach you basic anger management skills and techniques you can use.

You can utilize these whenever you feel extremely frustrated, stressed, anxious, and out of control on the road. Here are some of the simple tips you can follow to be calmer when driving:

  • Remind yourself to be calmer before driving
  • Avoid engaging in silent competition while on the road
  • Be polite towards your fellow drivers
  • Gradually avoid tailgating other drivers
  • Make visible gestures instead of yelling out the window
  • Practice apologizing when you made a mistake on the road
  • Use indicators to signal your fellow drivers about your next action
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Road Rage Conclusion

Consult a counselor when you have trouble staying calm when responding to your environmental stressors. Counseling can help you learn how to control your road rage so that you can function efficiently in multiple aspects of your life.