The drive home

Driving a car at night - pretty, young woman driving her modern

So many times during our drive home from work, school or even running errands we engage in unhealthy behavior. Like everyone, I find myself engaging in unhealthy behavior such as overeating or my favorite “road rage.” Especially after a long stressful day at work. I just feel as if I have so much anxiety, I need to GET IT OUT, on the person driving on the road in front of me.


Now, I am maybe exaggerating just a little, but we all can let the stress of the day get to us in one way or another while driving.

These are some simple techniques that have helped me on the drive home.

First: I find it helpful to reflect on the positive outcomes of the day. No matter how BAD the day was, find the good.

Second: Refocus my priorities. Reviewing short term goals and long term goals.

Third: Listening to music that makes you feel good whether it be pop, country, jazz, meditation or relaxation or R&B music.

Four: Talk to yourself, yes I said talk to yourself. It sometimes is effective to bounce an idea around with you to improve productivity and reflect on the day and what we could have done differently.

Fifth: To be grateful for the small things you have, such as a beautiful sunset as you look at the horizon. For some, this might be a time to have a deeper connection with a high power. 

Sixth: Be polite to other drivers. Do the opposite of what you are feeling at the moment. You will see a different outlook if you exercise your free will of choice, and not react to your impulses.

Next time you feel like waving a nice middle finger birdied or honking your horn at someone, try to implement these six simple techniques on your next DRIVE HOME.

If you need help taming the anxiety or managing the road rage, call us, we can help get you back on track. We have two convenient locations to serve you, Riverside or Murrieta. Don’t continue to worry or be angry, call us @951-778-0230 or email Therapyccs@gmail.com


by Lisa J. Clark, AMFT

Lisa loves working with teens and adults. She helps by teaching anxiety reduction skills and problem-solving skills. She is a good listener and she cares much. She hates to see people in pain and she works with them to help them develop a happier and healthier life. She is optimistic and warm and she helps people see other perspectives.

She is a parent and she understands that raising children can be a lot of hard work and sometimes parents get stressed and need help too.

A favorite quote of her is "It's easier to build strong children than repair Broken men." Fredrick Douglass.

Mindfulness with the Five Senses to Manage Stress and Anxiety

mindfulness.jpg

I often have clients ask me how they can overcome anxiety and stress that feels overwhelming.  One thing I teach to them is the practice of mindfulness with the five senses.  This helps a person slow down and notice what is around them using sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound.  When you do this, your mind gets a break from the stressors of life and allows you to slow things down.

Some examples of ways you can use mindfulness with the five senses are;

  • While you are cooking notice the smells, colors, textures, and tastes of your food.

  • Burning a candle, notice the aroma and watch the flame bounce around.

  • Watch a sunset and notice the sights, smells, sounds, and physical sensations you are experiencing.  Does it feel warm or cool?  Is there a breeze you notice?

  • While you are eating, hold the food in your mouth and notice the flavors and textures.  When you swallow, notice how you can feel the food move down your body.

Another way to use mindfulness with the five senses is through a guided visualization.  You may want to pre-record this guided visualization so you can use it again and again. 

Find a comfortable place for you to lay down or sit.  Close your eyes and imagine a place that is peaceful to you.  Imagine you are there now and take some time to focus on each of the five senses as you experience them.  What do you see there?  Notice the scenery, the colors, and the overall environment.  Pause and take in the view.  Now notice what your body is experiencing as you are there in your peaceful place.  Are you sitting or standing? Is it warm or cool?  Notice what you are touching as you are there now.  Pause and notice that.  Now move to sounds.  What do you hear there?  Can you hear sounds from nature or perhaps there are other people there.  Pause and notice what you would hear if you are in your peaceful place.  Now focus on the smells that would be there.  Are there smells from nature or foods? Pause and take a moment to take in the smells.  Now imagine that you are eating a food that you love while you are in your place of peace.  Notice how the flavors and texture feel as you imagine eating the food.  Take one last moment to notice all of your senses as you are in this place of peace.  Notice how your body may feel more relaxed or at peace.  Take a deep breath and take it in.

The wonderful thing about this guided visualization is that you can access it any time you have a moment to yourself. It can literally take only 5 or 10 minutes of your day.  Use this when you are already relaxed to allow your body and mind to incorporate this into your normal routine.  You can use this practice before going to sleep, when you are sitting in a waiting room, or on a break from work.

If you would like to learn mindfulness with the five senses or other techniques to manage anxiety and stress, please contact me Alicia at Central Counseling Services office to get therapy started today.


By Alicia McCleod, LMFT

I am passionate about helping people feel better and work through the barriers in their life. I completed my graduate work at the University of Phoenix and have been working in the helping field for the last 10 years. I've spent much of that time helping people overcome their depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, trauma, and relationship challenges. My approach is that of compassion, acceptance, and I create a safe space where you can explore those underlying issues getting in your way today.

Therapy with me is unique as I use EMDR, mindfulness, relaxation techniques, solution focused interventions, person centered strategies, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) methods to help reduce stress. I also have experience with helping individuals experiencing psychosis (hearing or seeing things others don't), trauma survivors, and people with ongoing mental health challenges. I work primarily with adults and also see teens and couples.

On a personal note, I do like to stay active and I practice mindfulness on a daily basis. I also enjoy hiking, trips to the beach, camping, reading, quilting, and spending time with my family. Please call my office today if you would like to schedule an appointment with me and get started on a healthier you!