When I'm stressed out, plagued by writer's block, or in need of an escape from everyone and everything, I like to go on long drives by myself. I get in my car, put the windows down, crank up Adele and just drive.
It's my cure-all activity. It's so incredibly cathartic and relaxing. When I get home, I feel refreshed, revitalized and ready to take the world by storm.
As it turns out, long solo drives are actually fantastic for both your creativity and your health. They can calm your anxiety, help you overcome mental blocks and put your life into perspective.
If you're not currently embarking on therapeutic drives, you better start.
Here are seven reasons why you should be taking long solo drives to live a healthier, happier, more productive life:
1. Spending time alone is just as fun as being with friends.
According to a study by business professors Rebecca Ratner of the University of Maryland and Rebecca Hamilton of Georgetown University, the anxiety many of us feel when we go somewhere alone is not because we're alone, but because we're anxious about what others will think about us being alone.
Your unhappiness is about social pressure, not genuine displeasure. Embrace your solitude. It's just as much fun going on a drive alone as it is with a travel companion.
A long, relaxing drive by yourself is a great time to crank up your favorite jams, sing your heart out and just be with your thoughts. It's good for your spirit.
2. You'll come up with your best ideas.
A long drive by yourself is the perfect time to come up with your best schemes; it's like a breeding ground for creativity. In fact, spending a lot of time in groups has a negative effect on creativity.
According to Keith Sawyer, a psychologist at Washington University in St. Louis,
Decades of research have consistently shown that brainstorming groups think of far fewer ideas than the same number of people who work alone and later pool their ideas.
It's markedly better for you to think and create alone.
3. It will clear your mind.
When you get a chance to be alone, out on the road, you focus on driving and just let your mind wander. You will cleanse yourself of the negativity in your life by breathing in the fresh air with the windows down and the tunes turned up.
In a world inundated with stress and complications, there is something so therapeutic about getting out on the highway or country roads to chill out and clear your mind.
4. It will improve your relationships.
Spending time by yourself out on the open road is a great way to strengthen your interpersonal relationships. According to Psychology Today,
By spending time with yourself and gaining a better understanding of who you are and what you desire in life, you're more likely to make better choices about who you want to be around. You also may come to appreciate your relationships more after you've spent some time alone.
When you consider and appreciate the time you have with yourself, you will automatically learn to value your time with others more. Driving alone gives you the opportunity to expand your mind and reflect on your life and choices.
5. It is the ultimate cure for boredom.
Now, on this road trip, my mind seemed to uncrinkle, to breathe, to present to itself a cure for a disease it had not, until now, known it had. ― Elizabeth Berg, "The Year of Pleasures"
Boredom is the ultimate toxin to creativity and happiness; it destroys new ideas. If you give into it, it will pull you deep into a black hole of sluggish apathy.
Instead of binging on Netflix or wallowing in your sorrows in the darkness of your home, head out for a drive.
Driving is easy; it's a simple fix to a dull state of mind. New scenery, your favorite playlists and the crisp air on your face will allow you to reconnect with your creativity and sense of self.
6. You're in control.
No matter how out of control your life may seem, when you're in the driver's seat, you are in control. You're running the show; you're owning the situation.
Taking a solo drive means no one can bother you; no one can tell you what to do; no one can hinder your happiness. You are the boss. It's the ideal opportunity to put things into perspective.
No matter what you're coping with, your solo drive will remind you that you can handle any challenge thrown your way.
A long, therapeutic drive will relieve you of the stress weighing down on your shoulders and eating away at your happiness; it will welcome you to a long, prosperous road ahead.
7. You can go as far as the road will take you.
A drive is cathartic, but you know you can always return home. You have new experiences that aren't scary or overwhelming because wherever you go, there you are. You're not far from the comfort of your home, but you get the chance to venture to lands unknown.
The open road is there for you to embrace, explore and rekindle the flame with yourself. It's an adventure in the literal sense and an adventure for your spirit.