LIFESTYLE

9 Reasons Driving Can Be A Great Way To De-Stress

22/10/2014 12:57 BST | Updated 31/10/2014 10:00 GMT

When we're feeling anxious and overwhelmed, sometimes there's no better way to de-stress than jumping in the car and going for a relaxing drive.

While daily commutes and school run pick-ups might inspire more tension than tension-release, getting behind the wheel is a great opportunity to give yourself some much-needed alone time and allows you a chance to reconnect with nature, listen to a favourite book, or disconnect from your mobile and email (and the everyday stressors that you find hard to avoid otherwise).

"Driving can be both a stressor and a stress reliever, depending on the circumstances," explains Neil Shah, director of The Stress Management Society and author of The 10-Step Stress Solution.

relaxing while driving

"Some people do not enjoy driving and it can bring about a lot of stress. However, for those who do enjoy it, driving can be a really good way to de-stress and unwind. Of course, it all depends on the type of journey, traffic conditions and driving style."

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Not everyone has time for a soul-searching Kerouacian-style adventure, but according to Shah, even your everyday car journeys can turn into opportunities for relaxation and reflection.

"When stressed, our higher brain functions are therefore shut down. Driving to and from work will not require higher brain functions most of the time as it is a known route and familiar traffic condition. This can help clear and re-energise your mind."

Just take it from racing driver Ben Collins, author of How To Drive: The Ultimate Guide, from the Man Who Was the Stig: "To really enjoy driving there’s a part of you that just wants to be left alone to enjoy the majesty of the rolling carpet.

"When we filmed Skyfall I drove an Aston Martin DB5 across a mountain pass near Fort William before handing the keys over to 007. That car, with its yacht-like steering wheel and soft suspension, took me closer to heaven than anything I can remember."

Click through the slideshow below for nine reasons driving can be a great way to de-stress...