It doesn’t seem to matter how we slice it stress is always in our lives. Sometimes it takes a break and returns at a later date when we don’t really want it around. It almost seems like it’s who we’ve become, but it’s not. It’s part of us like having a sore back because of how we slept, or a headache because of dehydration. We just have avoid believing it’s a permanent part of who we’ve become, because it doesn’t have to be that way. Being a professional driver can be stressful, I’m not going to lie to you, but there are different types of stress to consider, along with ways to identify you’re feeling stressed.
You may be surprised to realize there are two different types of stress. There’s good stress and bad stress. You may be asking, how can there be such a thing as good stress? Good stress can be related to deadlines and time restraints. There’s an emotional reward at the end. For example, reaching your travel deadline in time allows you to feel good about the outcome. Traveling to reach that deadline may have been stressful, but it’s over now and you feel good about it. Bad stress can be related to things you can’t control. That type of stress affects us emotionally more than it should, especially when there’s nothing we can do about it.
So how do you recognize the bad stress? If you’ve identified that your mood has changed for the worse, take a step back and identify why that is the case. Is there too much traffic which is slowing down your route? Is the weather making it difficult to travel in a normal routine? These are things that as a professional driver you have no control over. Take a deep breath and wait it out. To help remove that from your stress and anxiety, make adjustments to your travel plan if available. Leave earlier. Take a different less traveled route even though it may take you longer. Keeping your vehicle moving as opposed to stop and go traffic gives drivers the sensation they are well on their way.
Another way to identify you’re having a lot of driving stress is every little thing seems to upset you. Text messages, emails, instructions from your place of work all seem to set you off. Those are the tell tail signs you need to take a break and reassess what you’re doing. Weigh the pluses and minuses. Make a list and decide if it’s a big deal or not. In most cases it’s not a big deal, but this is a quick and easy way to defuse the situation.
As far as the other things that happen which cause stress in our lives, if you have absolutely no control over them, let them go. Accept them and move on. Constantly thinking of these stressful things can seriously distract drivers from doing their job as safely as possible. Removing the stress, or at least putting it on pause until you’re out of the vehicle, will allow you to remain focused on the driving task, plus you’ll be a lot healthier because of it.