red light
Five Things You Should do at a Red Light

1.Take a deep breath 

Immediately change your outlook and programming. No longer will you have the mindset to be inpatient for the light to turn green. Take notice of any trees around you. Are the leaves rustling? Do you see any shapes in the clouds? Use this time to tune in with your breath. When you’re at a red light take a deep breath, expanding your belly and rib cage and then let out a deep breath, either through the nose or mouth, with or without sound. The important thing is to exhale all the thoughts that have you been weighing you down and consuming mental energy on the drive.

2. Extend your neck

Get more range of motion in your neck by lifting your chin up to the roof of the car. Feel the stretch in the front of your neck. This activates the thyroid gland. Get some movement in that area by doing a counter-stretch so that your chin is tucked in towards your chest. Then lift your chin back up again, to the normal range of motion you can achieve without discomfort. At an average red light, you should be able to do this at least 10 times. And if somebody honks you, don’t react from a place of anger; instead notice how good your neck can move. It’s a good bet the person honking you doesn’t have your range of motion.

3. Activate your abdominals and perineum

Most people by now know how to activate the abdominals. When you come to a red light, first take a deep breath in. Exhale and then pull your belly in gently towards the spine. At the same time, activate your perineum. For men, it’s the sensation of stopping the urine flow while peeing; for women, it’s performing Kegel exercises. It might take a while to train your muscles to the point where you feel the sensation you’re supposed to: a quasi-orgasmic sensation which you should feel up the spine and towards the crown of your head. Practice this enough and you’ll be upset you weren’t stopped at a red light.

4. Rotate Your Ankles

Your ankles are the foundation joints for your body. Just as a house is only as strong as its foundation, so is the human body. Think about it: when is the last time you did anything beneficial for your ankles? A long walk is good, but it’s only one motion; the ankles aren’t moving in different ranges of motion. At a red light, do ankle rotations with one foot clockwise, then counterclockwise, then side-to-side, and any other plane of motion. Switch feet with caution. Try putting your car into park with the emergency brake on if you’re at a long light.

5. Rotate Your Wrists 

Unless you’re a mesomorph (someone who is naturally muscular; think football jock) with naturally-strong wrists, chances are you are not exercising your wrists enough. Our ever-increasing labor-avoiding society continues to suffer from carpal tunnel and other chronic conditions from sedentary lifestyles and technology. If you use the computer a lot, then wrist exercises are a must. Just as with the ankles, rotate your wrist one way, then the other; move it from side to side, then flex and extend it (fingers up; fingers down).

Adopt some of these tips when you come to a red light. You’ll soon be reprogrammed into ridding yourself of anxiety.

Judd Handler is a freelance writer and wellness/lifestyle coach in Encinitas, California. He surfs uncrowded, fun reef breaks; plays instrumental alternate-tuning guitar; goes hiking in the backcountry; and is amazed on a daily basis by just being alive.