In today’s day and age, it seems as though stress is nigh on impossible to avoid. With our working and private lives increasingly placed under considerable pressure, perhaps no one should be surprised at the amount of stress-related illnesses sweeping the nation. Certainly there can be few things more stress-inducing than driving.
There are, in fact, a number of stress-related health conditions, and a good number of them could cost you your driver’s license if you are not careful. Mostly this is because certain medical conditions caused by stress can have adverse impacts on your driving, so your license may be confiscated for the safety of other drivers.
The conditions that could cost you your license are as follows.
Intense stress can cause severe headaches if severe enough, some of which may be brief momentary pangs while others may last for several hours. Naturally, a severe headache is a rather hefty distraction, and if one kicks in while driving it could cause a serious accident. If your stress is triggering tension headaches and migraines, then perhaps you should keep away from the car if possible.
As well as migraines, prolonged stress can also trigger muscle spasms. It does not need to be said how suffering from a sudden attack of twitching while on the road can be construed as dangerous.
You should never drive while suffering from a lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation causes a long list of mental and physical problems all on its own, and an estimate from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association shows that as many as 100,000 crashes on America’s highways are linked to sleep deprivation. Therefore, if stress is causing you to lose out on sleep because of insomnia, then there’s a very high risk of you falling into an accident.
Loss of Focus and Poor Judgement
Finally, stress can also lead to a lack of focus and judgement. Distracted as you are by whatever may be troubling you, as a driver you may be led by stress into making very poor snap decisions while driving, or worse failing to keep your attention where it should be – on the road and other drivers. This can easily cause a severe accident, and if linked back to you, that would easily result in the suspension of your license by the courts afterwards.
Coping with Stress
Preventing stress is fairly imperfect as a science, as everyone responds differently to things. Some people find certain treatments for stress very helpful, while others may find them somewhat ineffective. Regardless, here are some of the most common ways to deal with extreme stress.
The simplest and most common means of handling stress is simply to control your breathing. When made anxious, we start to hyperventilate, and that can amplify the symptoms of stress to even greater levels. Thus, if suffering from a panic attack or the like, just control your breathing and take long, slow, deep breaths. Within a few minutes to half an hour, you should feel a lot more calm and relaxed.
The best thing about this method is that it is exceedingly simple and can be done anywhere, whether it is at home in front of the TV or your desk at work.
Exercising is an excellent and healthy way to deal with stress. Get into the habit of exercising at least once a week, setting aside two hours or so solely to that purpose. Many people find that the act of physical activity is a great way of driving out the hassles of the week, and certainly the exercise is a great way to feel pumped and energised. You do not need a subscription to the gym, either. Anything as rudimentary as a twenty minute jog or half an hour of stretches will do in a pinch as well.
Meditation or Prayer
Not all of us are of a spiritual bent, but placing aside some time to clear one’s mind and set oneself at ease is invaluable. To paraphrase Archbishop Desmond Tutu, try to pray at least ten minutes a day. Except when you are busy – on those days you should pray for twenty minutes.
Whether you choose to pray, meditate, or both, the idea is to get some perspective on the things that are bothering you. Meditating or praying on problems can often lead to new insight or realisation about the topic, which will allow you to better deal or cope with it in the long run.
Talk to a Counsellor
Unloading your thoughts and worries to a sympathetic ear can do wonders in helping you cope with the daily stresses of life. Whether you want to work out long-held scars that you’ve buried from long ago, or else vent about something that happened to you at a fast-food restaurant just the day before, a counsellor can allow you to find some much needed closure about your problems. By getting them off your chest and out of mind, you will find them easier to confront and handle.
Counselling can take many forms. Professional therapists offer their services for a broad range of fees and charges, as well as prescribing extra supplements to assist you in your recovery, whereas friends, relatives, or the local priest can do a decent job on their own for free. It depends on the severity of the stress in question, and just what exactly you want to get the counselling session.
The writer, Christian Mills, is a writer who recognizes the problems of stress and stress-related illness and how severe they can become if left unchecked. For professional drivers who want to be sure their work-related stress isn’t causing health problems, he highly recommends paying a visit to driverphysicals.com. You can learn more about Christian on Google+.