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Since my use of car metaphors has been successful in helping others prepare their own “chasses” for life’s journeys, it is not at all surprising that I turned once again to my own car interior to find needed inspiration.

During your journey through life, please take comfort in knowing that, despite the impending storm outside, you have full control of your steering wheel and control panel.

Why would this be reassuring? Well despite the hazardous driving conditions that life throws your way, a fate certainly out of your hands, peace of mind would come with the knowledge that your are the pilot or the driver of your soul. A winding road and skidding tires should never dictate how your daily ride should be.

Your navigation skills serve as your guide. What are these skills? They are all of the coping skills in your trunk. If they do not seem to be effective then seek help from your mechanic, i.e., your physician, your minister, a counselor.

Your safety belt should always be on. Never take unnecessary or careless risks. You are so important. This life would not be the same without your smile.

Always be aware of the rearview mirror. Yes, there may be some unhappy memories, but focus on the joyous ones. All of the bumps in the road should challenge you to either dig down deep for inner strength and forge ahead or use a different path that may lead to joy and happiness. But always remain true to your beliefs.

And when the going gets tough, please don’t pull into the next gas station and get tanked. Self-medicating with alcohol or drugs will fog up your windshield. Stay clear-headed and open-minded. Cherish every friend, family, and acquaintance that crosses your path.

Keep your gear in drive, not in reverse. Try to always cruise below the speed limit. After all, you are given this wonderful gift of life. Stay in the “present”. Notice something new everyday. It could be as simple as a bird soaring in the sky. And be mindful of those drivers around you. Be courteous. Smile. Give others the right of way.

Should your heater turn on and you become hotheaded, roll down the window and take some deep breaths.

And finally, please never forget about your roadside assistance button. Oh, come on. We all have one. When the going gets too rough and none of your car features are providing comfort on life’s journey, then just push the button and say a prayer. This particular device can bring immediate relief. This wonderful function was part of you when you were assembled and will remain with you until your odometer records its last mile.

I hope you all have a life filled with pleasant journeys and a car that limits backseat drivers. Happy motoring.

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Dr. Elaine A. Campbell is a Psychiatrist, a Mental Wellness and Lifestyle Coach as well as Director of Food and Nutrition at The Lu-Jean Feng Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

She is author of My Life As A Car: A Mental Wellness Guide In Your Glove Compartment. In her book, she uses car metaphors as a light-hearted approach to difficult topics. She is devoted to educating the reader about early signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse in an effort to improve diagnoses and to formulate treatment plans that follow traditional and/or alternative methods. She lost her 19 year old son to substance abuse and has been dedicated to fighting alcohol and drug use among teens and young adults and is a Suboxone prescriber for opoid addiction.

A mother to two adult children and grandmother to a 1 year old grandson, she lives a life filled with "No Regrets". She shares a home in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband and two Labs. 

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