Commute of Calm

Cut me off, I dare you.

I'm a pretty nice guy.  I'm not outwardly mean, usually (except when I don't get my beauty sleep).  I normally empathize well and try to be there to support people.  I work hard to be a good team-member, to make things fun, and be professional.  Except when I'm driving.  When I get into a car, I turn into a total monkey's-arse.  I swear, I honk, I tail-gate, I glance menacingly.  I become a baboon.  But not today!

Road rage.  It happens to almost everyone who drives regularly.  I wonder why it's so easy?  I bet it's because we feel insulated from other people.  We're in our metal box, all closed-up and protected.  We can do whatever we want: yell, curse, sing, cry, whatevs.  No one can hear us or see us.  Awesome!

The problem is that every time we let our negative emotions out, we're missing an opportunity to practice emotion regulation.  Yes, the person in front of us is driving too slow.  But, by yelling and tail-gating, we're unlikely to make any difference.  More than anything, we'll raise our own blood pressure and get better at becoming impulsive and angry.

Today, the goal is to regulate the negative aspects of our commute and try to maintain calm during the drive. Again, preventing emotions isn't the goal.  We're going to simply not act on the emotions (don't yell, honk, etc.)  In addition, let's do our best to distract ourselves from the other commuters that make us mad: listen to the radio, think about pleasant stuff, etc.

Commute of Calm

Task: Maintain calm during today's commute.

Info: Two things to do today.  One, if you do get mad, don't act on it.  Control your own behavior.  Just remember: the other drivers can't see you well - they have no idea that you're yelling at them.  So, don't do it!  It's dumb!  You're basically talking to yourself...  Second, distract yourself so that irritation don't have first dibs on your attention.  Listen to music, a book on tape, NPR, your own breathing. Don't focus on the boat-like Olds in front of you going 15 in a 35mph zone.  Don't.

Goal: Make your commute pleasant.

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