How to Drive Your Stress Away
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How to Drive Your Stress Away

Taking the road less traveled might be just the thing you need to keep you less stressed in the car.

If your regular route to the grocery store is on a highway packed with billboards and commercial clutter, you might want to find a more scenic route, even if it takes you longer. Your lower stress levels will thank you.

Researchers at Ohio State University, in Columbus, found that college students who viewed a driving video of a scenic parkway meandering through a heavily wooded area registered less stress than those who watched videos of a highway with a few manmade structures or a roadway lined with strip malls and commercial signs.

Even if you have to contend with a bit of traffic on your scenic drive, your stress levels should still remain low. When researchers tweaked the video they believed most calming -- the scenic parkway -- by adding extra congestion, student viewers remained serene.

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal magazine, June 2004.