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Off the Record

The cure for the common road rage

Over my nearly 10 years of driving experience, I've developed quite the spurt of road rage.

It just grinds my gears when folks drive 15 miles per hour in a 25 mph speed zone, and especially when people cut me off while driving down the interstate.

Earlier this year I was attempting to exit a parking lot. A big white truck decided to slow down right in my way. Try as I might to avoid this, my emotions are worn on my sleeve. So naturally, I gave this truck driver a dirty look, subconsciously.

When I arrived back at the office, my boss asked if I glared at everyone who crossed my path while driving. Apparently he was trying to get my attention to say hello, and it was then I realized that not-so-nice look I handed out was to my boss!

How embarrassing.

So I've come up with the best possible cure to my road rage condition.

If you wear a smile, a larger than life smile, while driving, you just can't be upset.

There's something about a smile that prevents angry emotions from emerging.

In addition, if you're smiling and you accidently make the errors you oh, so hate when others commit, they may not be so upset with you.

Smiling, however, can be good for most any predicament, especially in times of grief or great sadness.

A 2010 study released by the Association for Psychological Science said, "However, it seems that smiling through tough times does a body good."

The article cited a 1997 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, saying researchers found lower levels of distress in those who displayed genuine laughter during times of great despair.

The psychologists also said smiling can help an individual recover cardiovascular levels more quickly than those who fail to crack a grin in emotional moments. That means smilers could maintain a closer-to-normal heart rate than those who don't smile.

So the message is simple, keep a smile as part of your everyday wardrobe, and you may live a happier life.

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