Ask anyone who drives a lot and they will tell you that stress on the road is a fact of life. For people who drive for a living, it is therefore imperative that they know how to keep their stress at relatively low levels on an ongoing basis — but when you're sitting in traffic and you're on a tight timeline, that's often easier said than done.
The following tips may be able to help truckers get a better handle on these issues and set them up for success in their life on the road:
1) Plan more effectively
While you can never plan for every possible scenario you will encounter on the road, if you do a little more to plot out your trips, find alternative routes and so on, you can reduce your stress when something (inevitably) goes wrong, according to C.R. England. The more contingency plans you have in your back pocket, the better off you will be when it comes to keeping your cool.
2) Appreciate the scenery
Traversing the nation's highways and byways will give you a chance to appreciate beautiful mountain vistas, flowing fields of grain, rivers, canyons and more natural and man-made wonders, C.R. England said. The next time you're feeling stressed, take some time for yourself, and take in your surroundings.
3) Learn about breathing exercises
When we are stressed, we likely do not breathe normally, and that can create a vicious cycle where we can't relax because we're not breathing effectively, and we're not breathing effectively because we can't relax, according to Connect2Local. As such, you need to be more intentional about noticing when this is a problem, and taking some deep breaths so you can calm yourself down.
4) Listen to your body
Along similar lines, stress can lead to you tensing your muscles and tightening your jaw, which can result in physical pain that also makes you more stressed, Connect2Local added. When you find yourself tensed up, make sure you check in with yourself to see if you're clenching your fists or otherwise carrying tension that will make you feel physically and mentally worse.
A great way to work out tension, release soothing brain chemicals and give yourself more physical relaxation is to work out a little bit at least daily, according to Centerline. That can be as simple as stretching and walking short distances each day, or as rigorous as jogging or lifting weights. Anything you can do to be a little more physically active will reduce the stress you feel on a daily basis.
6) Find something to take your mind off it
One of the hardest parts of a trucker's job is feeling bored and disconnected from home, Centerline advised. For that reason, you have to be able to occupy your downtime whenever possible. That could mean reading a book, listening to music, texting or video calling family and friends, or something else you are passionate about. Make sure you always have something you can turn to when you need to pass the time.
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