Driving to Mental Health

By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN

At his point in my life, I figure I have been a passenger with at least 100 different drivers. Some are happy and entertaining while they maneuver through traffic. Some are conscientious, safe and good drivers. I only have to apply the imaginary brakes on my side of the passenger seat on rare occasions with very few.

canstockphoto0012473What I find the most astounding, however, is the large number of drivers who are outraged by other drivers. Without hesitation some drivers let fury, scorn and abuse fly at the other drivers sharing their road and route. I am amazed at their level of hostility, anger and scathing opinions they have of these other drivers. Most of these folks are family members or dear and close friends. This aspect of their personality only comes out when they are driving. I would wonder, How can this dear person allow other people’s driving to dictate her feelings, mood, and happiness? 

That is until I moved to a new region of the country. I have now become one of those unhappy, impatient, and screaming drivers. The common courtesy and rules of the road that I practiced in New England are not the same in the Rocky Mountains. Too often I find myself arriving at my destination furious and blustering about the other incompetent drivers on the road. “Don’t people know how to drive in this state?” I complain but no one seems to sympathize with me.

I also realized sound just like my brother-in-law did when he moved from New Jersey complaining about all of the incompetent drivers in Rhode Island. At the time I thought he was nuts. Now I’m becoming the same nut! And Jack has since moved to Georgia where he is complaining about how poorly people drive in that state too!

I have been recently reading my niece’s Facebook entries. She lives in South Carolina and has made the conscious choice not to drive a car but to use her bicycle instead. And she is bitterly complaining about the dangers and cavalier attitude of drivers toward bicyclists! This became my final straw.

In order to improve my own Mental Health & Happiness, I’m changing my ways. I know for sure that I cannot change the way other drivers drive, or cyclists ride, or pedestrians walk. I can only control myself. It is time I followed my own advice.

When I look for the other drivers who are driving cooperatively, safely, and considerately I always find them.

I’ve started a new habit. Every time I get behind the wheel, before I start driving, I thank my fellow drivers for driving cooperatively, safely and considerately. I vow to do the same. Let’s work together to arrive at our personal destinations safely and filled with love. 

So far I have been amazed how much more considerately, safely and cooperatively the other drivers have become!

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