Zipping through the empty bridge that links Fort Kochi and Ernakulam in the early mornings, I get to see the spectacular view of the rising sun. That is the time when I get meditative and recite my prayers of thanks and gratitude. One such morning, a cyclist dangerously jumped into my path. I hit the
Zipping through the empty bridge that links Fort Kochi and Ernakulam in the early mornings, I get to see the spectacular view of the rising sun. That is the time when I get meditative and recite my prayers of thanks and gratitude. One such morning, a cyclist dangerously jumped into my path. I hit the brakes, swerved my vehicle left and somehow avoided an accident. But strangely I felt no anger. I shared the episode in my class that day and there seemed to be a lot of interest in the spectrum of emotions people feel on the road. Though a few find driving therapeutic, many find the traffic extremely stressful. Depending on the gravity of the stress, one may be dealing with the condition known as road rage. Let us look at various road rage personality types.
Do you get competitive while on the wheel? When someone tries to overtake you, have you been told that you have the habit of increasing your speed? Do you change lanes quickly and often? Have you been associated with more than three accidents?
In the last month how often have you lost your cool with other drivers or traffic situations? (More than five times?) How often do you complain about traffic problems? (More than eight times a week?)
The self abuser
Have you hit your vehicle? (kicked, punched the steering, tyre etc.) Have you tried to hurt yourself to deal with the stress of the traffic?
The signal maniac
When the traffic light turns green, do you sound the horn to make the vehicles in the front moving? When you just get caught in a red light do you get abusive or angry?
Aggressors, themselves are often unaware of their condition and may not admit that they have a problem. For them, it is time for intervention, as it is the most dangerous form of road rage for the self and others. Intervention modules would include yoga or other body works that insist on awareness. Emphasis will be needed on abdominal and upper body workout, 15-minute mindfulness meditation of observing the breath with the rise and fall of the abdomen. Affirmations related to power such as “I am powerful and peaceful” etc. need to be repeated over a hundred times throughout the day.
The whiner is not a dangerous condition but if you have been told that you complain a lot, then you need to work on improving the quality of your life by engaging in positive experiences that involves all the senses – try hiking or kayaking, try tending to plants and watch them grow, hug someone. Let go of the whining by creating 10 minutes of positivity every day.
The self abuser needs to learn to forgive. Postures that open out the upper body, such as Matsyasan, Ustrasan and Dhanurasan are great ways to use the body to heal pent up anger. Use of essential oils such as Rose, Bergamot and Basil has proved to invoke a more softer emotion.
The signal maniacs need to create rituals that help them calm down when the car is kept stationary. A simple and effective technique is to sit in a parked car, take 10 deep breaths, take few seconds to acknowledge each of the senses – the scent of the car, the sounds around, the texture of the steering wheel, the seat etc. and the way the light is streaming in through the windows. Later, practice the same each time the car is kept stationary, say at a traffic jam.
There is one more condition of road rage, where you become the victim. In such conditions it is important to keep calm, note down registration number first and if possible, inform the police. However, do take time to understand that the other person is behaving wrongly owing to high stress, so may be, if the situation warrants, use humour to defuse the tension.
Before you start driving, take 10 long deep breaths and then hold your breath till you count up to 20 and slowly release. While driving, try to observe the way your breath goes in and out – feel your abdomen rise and fall.
Use soothing aroma in your vehicle – lavender, sandal.
(The author is the CEO of Me Met Me, which promotes self discovery through Yoga, Food and Fun)