Being caught up in traffic has become an episode in everyday life. So today I choose to dedicate this blog to the stress which is often related to the traffic congestion. Together with stress, some might experience anger, frustration and anxiety. Since this is an issue that is not going to go away sometime soon, I will be sharing some tips on how to deal with this kind of stress.
Little by Little
Having to spend about forty-five minutes or an hour every day in traffic may be an added chance of a toll to your health due to air pollution and also to your state of happiness. The most obvious solution might be to avoid rush-hours and to reroute your drive.
Sometimes rerouting might be a solution to avoid traffic jams however, one can also consider other ways such as; catching public transport and then walk to the workplace, check if you can work flexible hours, maybe work from home where possible or join a class or gym close to your workplace and leave home early and head to the gym before work. These might be some solutions however, if the above do not work for you, the following are tips that you can consider to practice in your car so that you stay calmer when you cannot avoid that bottleneck.
1. Reduce your stress using the breathing technique
Inhale, exhale and repeat for at least a couple of minutes. Focus on your breathing.
2. Turn on some music
Choose a radio station or download some music that can help you to relax. Choose your genre and see what works for you. It is not in my remit to tell you which type of genre to download because for you a different genre might work best however, easy listening or smoothing tunes works best to lower heart rates. When we are stressed it is noticeable that the heart rate is increased hence, take this into consideration when choosing. Test your kind of genre when you are at home to prepare ahead.
3. Look at the situation from another perspective
You can either focus on the traffic or else redefine the situation to see this as an opportunity to listen to some of your favourite music. When we are stressed it is noticeable that the heart rate is increased.
4. Invest in this time
Check out some downloadable audiobooks which you can listen to will stuck in traffic. Maybe look out for that book that you never found the time to read yet.
5. Be in control of any anxious thoughts
Turn your thoughts to the present moment. Acknowledge and accept the feelings of what is happening now then approach these feelings with a mindful attitude.
6. Allow extra time
Lack of time can be one of the most common sources for driving in de-stress therefore, allow for extra time and drive safely. If you feel the need for a breather, head to a parking space and stop for a while.
Remember calm driving is important to prevent unnecessary accidents and avoid putting at risk your life and that of others on the road.
If you’re finding it difficult to manage your stress and would like some professional help, you can book an appointment here.
Rachel Osmond is a Family Therapist with Willingness who works with individuals, couples and families. She also has experience with children and adolescents.
Wasmer Andrews, L. (2015). How to stress less in a traffic jam. Retrieved on 23rd Sept 2022 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/minding-the-body/201509/how-stress-less-in-traffic-jam