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To reduce ANGER, slow down and relax.

Published:Saturday | October 16, 2021 | 12:08 AMPaul Glenroy Messam - Contributor
Remains of a car after a fatal accident along the Tollgate main road, Friday, August 6, 2021.
Remains of a car after a fatal accident along the Tollgate main road, Friday, August 6, 2021.

In Jamaica, difficult driving conditions can lead to tensions and frustrations. Very often, other drivers interfere with your planned path of travel. They suddenly slow down in front of you, stop suddenly in front of you, indicate to turn left but turn right, change lanes without warning or space to do so. Since anger prepares the body for combat, it can also impair smooth braking, steering and accelerating.

An anger trigger can be something that frustrates or annoys someone. These triggers often result from injustice or unfairness. They can occur when we feel slighted, such as through insult or disrespect. An imagined threat to our authority or reputation can also stir up feelings of anger.

Angry drivers do not always see everything they should see. They may also cause other drivers to stop or swerve abruptly. Such actions can surprise other drivers and create hazards for pedestrians and other road users. Many other emotions affect safe driving. These include sorrow, depression, discouragement, and anxiety. “They slow body processes and reduce mental alertness,” advises Dr Andrew Burton.

Some drivers’ actions, such as a recent case in Mandeville where, according to news reports, a driver was furious with another driver, lead to a deadly confrontation. Other drivers may encounter similar problems. If they occasionally stay awake at night brooding over things that upset them during the day; they lose control of their emotions frequently and therefore episodes of anger are often followed by shame or regret.

The concept of controlling your anger before and during your presence on the busy streets is beautifully expressed in The Good Book: “let anger and leave rage, do not show yourself heated up only to do evil.” To reduce anger, motorists should drive carefully, slow down, relax, and try to avoid saying the first thing that comes to mind. If you feel yourself getting overly excited and feel you are in danger of losing control of your emotions, take your leave, and count to five.

Start by learning simple relaxation methods which can help to reduce feelings of anger. The following techniques have proved to be effective in combating stress-related anger:

Breathing deeply, which is one of the best and fastest ways to reduce the intensity of your anger.

While breathing deeply, repeat a word or phrase that is calming for you, such as “relax”, “let it go”, or “take it easy”.

Immersing yourself in something you enjoy; it could be reading, listening to music, gardening or some type of activity you find enjoyable.

Getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet.

Additionally, here are other techniques for coping with emotions:

Drive in an organised, orderly manner. Learn and use correct driving procedures until they become habits.

Anticipate emotion-producing traffic problems. Say to yourself,”I know there may be delays during rush hour; tired people will be hurrying home. Some of them will be thoughtless and careless. I will not let them upset me.”

Make a self-check. If you are emotionally upset, before you enter the car, tell yourself, “I am angry but I must not drive angrily.”

Do not drive when you are not in control of your emotions. Know yourself. Be honest with yourself about your emotional characteristics.