More than 2,000 years ago, the Buddha sat under the shade of the Bodhi Tree, closed his eyes, and meditated to reach enlightenment.
The jury’s still out on whether meditation can lead us to bliss. But we do know that meditating can enhance our immune systems, strengthen the connection between brain cells, and even improve test scores. Which begs the question: If it can do all of these things, can meditation make you a better driver too?
No studies exist on the subject (ahem, researchers), but a convincing argument could be made for meditation’s ability to turn us into better drivers. Here’s how.
Meditation can relieve stress
Traffic, other drivers, and road hazards can make even the most mild-tempered among us flash with frustration. (Admit it: you’ve raged, raged against the dying of the green light before.)
Turns out, though, that a little bit of “om” can help you say “ahhh.” Adding to the body of research on meditation’s stress-relieving powers, a new study from the University of California at Davis shows that meditation is associated with lower stress hormone (cortisol) levels.
And lower levels of stress can translate into a calmer, more collected you capable of handling the aggravations of the road — which can potentially lower instances of road rage. (As a perk, avoiding road rage can also keep insurance rates low.)
Meditation can help you stay focused
The University of California at Santa Barbara recently found that meditation can improve attention, memory, and GRE scores. Students who participated in a 2-week mindfulness training course showed higher reading-comprehension scores, better working memory, and reduced instances of mind wandering.
Of course, better test scores might not make you a better driver. But the ability to focus on the task at hand and avoid distractions (like texting, tweeting, and eating) will.
And hey, focused driving can mean fewer car accidents and lower insurance rates.
Zen for the road
Even if you don’t meditate, it can be easy to bring peace and focus into your driving life. Sometimes, all it takes is a few simple reminders.
On that note, we leave you with some driving mantras to take on the road. Peace out.