You’re in your car and all of a sudden another driver cuts you off. They didn’t signal, they didn’t honk their horn or even acknowledge your presence. Your blood begins to boil and in your tiny cocoon you begin to yell expletives at the top of your lungs. You imagine jumping out of your car, grabbing the other driver by the throat and choking the life out of them.
You’re surprised by this aggression because on an average day you do not behave in this way. Where does this aggression come from?
At the root of who we are, we are all hunters, gathers, warriors and nurturers. We have primitive instincts that are constrained because we live in a civilized society. Our natural urges prompt us to react instinctively when we feel we are threatened or in danger. This is why we hear stories of mother’s exhibiting supernatural strength to rescue their children who are in danger. The natural aggression that we feel when we experience the stressors of life are instinctual and we can not turn them off because this is our body’s natural way of preparing us to fight off predators or enemies in the wild.
In modern society, there are no predators or wild animals to kill, so we react with this same aggression during simple activities like driving or when we are dealing with gossiping co workers at work.
Get Rid of Road Rage by:
1) Understanding that when we are driving, whatever it is that another driver did to upset us has already happened. Your screaming and yelling will not help the situation or change it. It will most often trigger the natural aggressive reaction from the other party. Relax. Breathe in. Breathe out. Adjust your driving pattern and move forward. You are still on the way to your destination and that is what matters most.
2) Becoming involved in a physical activity like a sport or an exercise group. Your urge to react aggressively can be channeled into an activity that is beneficial to your body. This can also become beneficial to your wallet if you dedicate enough time to fine tuning your performance and become a leader or teacher in your activity.
3) Understanding that every single day we are moving closer to our deaths. If other drivers want to rush to this final destination, allow it. By allowing them to affect you in a negative way which may push you to react in an aggressive manner, you are joining them in their race to the finish line.
4) Understanding that their actions are not a personal attack against you. You may be reacting to another situation in your life that you feel you have no control over. You are displacing your anger over your circumstance onto your interactions with people who are not involved in the situation. The world is not out to get you. You can relax and react passively, allowing the people and situations around you to be chaotic if they must. You do not have to join them.