Reducing Stress Behind the Wheel…

If you have ever experienced ‘road-rage’, been stuck in a traffic-jam or distracted from driving by a demanding child in the back seat, then you will know that driving can be a stressful experience.

If you have ever been a car passenger with a driver who is lost, oblivious to speed restrictions, driving carelessly or talking into a cell phone, then you will know that being a passenger can be a stressful experience too.

So why is it that driving can be the source of so much stress?

SAFE Driving

The human body uses an automatic response mechanism to cope with danger.  Known as the ‘fight or flight’ or the stress response, this is a natural mental and body reaction that occurs when we feel threatened.

Unfortunately, driving provides many of these challenges – the sharp sound of a stone hitting the windscreen, the reduced vision by rain on a wet day, the cold sweat as we ‘hit the brake’ for an emergency stop.  All these provide opportunities for the stress response to be triggered.

So what can you do about it?

One way to reduce the occurrence of these stress reactions is to be a SAFE driver.  A SAFE driver is SURE, ACCEPTING, FOCUSED AND EGO-FREE.

Be SURE

As a SAFE driver, you will be sure of your vehicle, your journey and yourself.

Be SURE of your vehicle:  Most of the time, the vehicle you drive will be one with which you care familiar but inevitably, there will be time when you will need to drive a car that may not be your own, such as a hire car.  Time taken to familiarise yourself with a new vehicle is essential to help you keep your stress levels low.

Be SURE of your journey:  Know in advance the route to your destination and how long it will take. Be prepared in case of an accident on the road.  Always have water and a snack in the car and keep a first-aid kit for use in emergencies or in the case of breakdown.

Being SURE of Yourself

If you are sure of your vehicle and your journey plan, you will be more sure of yourself.  Check that you are:

Fully insured, not over-tired or taking medication that might cause drowsiness. Don’t drive if you are in an angry mood.

Be ACCEPTING

There are many ‘stressors’ that can cause frustration to drivers during a car journey e.g. road and weather conditions, other road users or accidents.

When you accept that there will be situations over which you have no control, you will find that driving will become less stressful.  Accepting becomes easier when you are skilled enough to use your experience to anticipate the reaction of other drivers.  If you can adjust your driving accordingly, you will be less stressed.

Be FOCUSED

For many people, a vehicle becomes an extension of their ‘personal space’ – a temporary home in which they can easily lose momentary concentration and make an error of judgement.  It is vital to stay alert and focused all the time and to avoid distractions and take regular breaks on a long journey.

Be EGO-FREE

A vehicle can make a statement about you and your lifestyle and this is harmless until you start to drive a car in such a manner as to deliberately enhance that image.  Horns are blasted and lights flashed as you try to overtake at speed – and behind such behaviour lies the ego that can make you into a dangerous driver.  Dangerous driving is a major stress for both you and others.  So next time you drive, leave your ego at home.

Putting SAFE into Practice

Although there are many situations on the road over which you will have no control, you do have full control over your own thoughts and responses.  Your responses are a direct result of your thoughts and your thoughts are your own.  You don’t have to become aggressive – you can choose an alternative response.  Be understanding of other driver’s mistakes and also acknowledge your own.  It will keep stress levels down and it will help you to be SAFE.

Because when you are SAFE – you are also stress-free!

Happy motoring!

Key Points

  • Driving can be stressful experience
  • Accept conditions over which you have no control
  • Leave your ego at home

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed? See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX and find out the latest ideas about workplace stress, stress management training. Get instant access to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

It is anticipated that Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields. Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations. Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling. Don’t miss this unique event. Book your place in our audience now! www.globalwomansummit.org

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Managing Work Related Stress: Engaging the older generation

I was really inspired to read in the publication, Toastmasters, of Richard Hendricks, a distinguished member of Wallingford Toastmasters in Seattle who is 101 years young and who has been a speaker for more years than many of us have been alive.

His story made me think about those who are over 50 and tell me that they don’t feel valued and have no satisfaction from life – they say they are too old!  Certainly, if or when someone loses their job, they also lose their personal work identity and this can be extremely challenging.  To get out of bed in the morning and realise that you are no longer a Sales Manager but just a man with a family but no job, is an issue that does need to be managed.

So is age just a ‘numbers game’ or is it more of an attitude and mindset?  Do we really start forgetting things at the age 50 or is this an excuse for being lazy and not keeping our minds active?

A new chapter

Getting older happens to everybody and it should be seen as a new chapter in one’s life.  With the experience of former years, it should be easier to understand how society works and how to better socially interact with others.  The learning that we have gained over 20 or 30 years should have given us an ‘edge’ over younger people who are still only half way up the learning curve.  This is a decided advantage, and we need to use it!

Richard Hendricks has a voice, and uses it.  But we all have voices, yet so many of us remain unheard because we don’t speak loud enough or we think that no one wants to listen. That is a mistake.  It is why people buy books – to read the distilled wisdom of those who have lived before us and have written what they have learned from their work, their passion, their interest. And we buy their books to gain from their knowledge. But you don’t have to write a book – you can talk!

However, if we don’t write and we don’t talk, our experience can be lost and that can be to the detriment of the younger generation who could learn so much from us.  All those years of learning, training and coaching can be lost forever if we fail to pass them on.

You cannot always package experience, sometimes it has to be felt and touched.  I remember going into a flower nursery the other day where I met a salesman who was over 70 years old and with whom I immediately established a rapport.  Here was someone who loved what he did; knew every plant by name and how to make it grow strong and flower. He was enthusiastic and wanted to pass on his knowledge, and I enjoyed every moment.  I thanked him for his time and expertise and you could see him smiling with pride and satisfaction.  I left there thinking what a privilege it had been to speak with him and I was really pleased to see that his company had such a forward-thinking policy of employing older people.

I often wonder why there are not more companies who have a policy of employing mature people and gaining from their skills.  There is the tendency in modern society to believe that youth is everything and experience is of little value, but that philosophy throws away the investment of years of expertise in learning the skill of how to do a particular job really well. It is similar to peeling an orange, throwing away the flesh and keeping the peel. The real value is in the inside, not the outside.

In order to help the young progress more rapidly and achieve their goals, maybe they should think about engaging the services of the older generation as their mentors and they will see how much quicker their interns will grow with the business and in the business. That is the way to really achieve a sustainable difference, and at a lower cost, by utilizing the value of the years.

Now that to my mind, makes good business sense!  Don’t you agree?

Key points:

  • As we go through life, we become more valuable
  • Experience, like books, is distilled wisdom
  • Today’s youth can gain from yesterday’s experts

[Reprinted with the kind permission of Gulf News]

Book Keynote Motivational Speaker, Entrepreneur, BBC guest-broadcaster and best-selling Author, Carole Spiers in person for your next conference for charismatic, high-impact work related stress and effective communications presentations.

Stressed?   See Carole live http://bit.ly/TUWbX and find out the latest ideas about workplace stress, stress management training.   Get instant access to stress reduction products http://bit.ly/FjL5L and stress management training aimed to reduce stress and delivered to blue-chip clients from IBM to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company in UK, Dubai, UAE and worldwide at www.carolespiersgroup.co.uk

A Date for Your Diary

1st Global Woman Summit Conference, Washington DC, 8 – 11th October 2011.

It is anticipated that Michelle Obama will be opening this prestigious, 3-day educational programme that will unite and honour leading women in international fields. Meet and listen to world leaders, diplomats and experts plus your opportunity to network with eminent women from diverse occupations. Leave having gained greater insight and increased knowledge of women who regularly break the glass ceiling. Don’t miss this unique event. Book your place in our audience now! www.globalwomansummit.org

Listen