Make Your Work Commute Better with These 5 Tips
Every driver has experienced it: You’re running late for work or you’re exhausted from a busy day and all you want is to get home. Cue heavy traffic due to an accident or even just the daily grind. Staying calm when you’re feeling stressed can be difficult, but it’s not impossible.
1. Take a Deep Breath
No, seriously. Take a long breath in, then a long breath out and repeat. This is a proven technique to help you relax, plus is easy enough to do while sitting behind the wheel of your car. Deep breathing releases feel-good endorphins in your body, while also providing you with more oxygen and therefore more energy.
2. Stop Switching Lanes
How many times have you been stuck in traffic and kept switching lanes — and then you switch back because suddenly your original lane is moving so much faster? That grass-is-greener scenario just keeps repeating while your stress and adrenaline levels rise because you simply must get in the other lane. News flash: You’re not getting yourself to your destination any faster. What you are doing is making yourself angrier and increasing your chances of getting into an accident. Don’t put yourself in danger for what will only be a few extra minutes saved.
3. Keep Your Mind off the Situation
Stay focused and be aware of your surroundings, and always practice safe driving, but don’t let the stress of high traffic take over your brain. Why not listen to the radio or a book on tape? Play some soothing tunes like classical or even meditation music to calm your emotions. A calm diver makes safer decisions and, who knows, you might even learn something while you wait.
4. Accept the Fact You Might Be Late
The main thing that really stresses out and distracts drivers when stuck in a traffic jam is the heavy-weighing fact that they are now running late. Sorry to say it, but that fact won’t be changing just because you keep thinking about it. Making risky driving choices in a desperate effort to make up a bit of time won’t change it. Accept this, stay calm,and move on.
5. Avoid It in the First Place
This is not the tip anyone likes to hear when they may as well be parked thanks to all the traffic on their morning commute, and yet you need to hear it. The best way to deal with the stress of heavy traffic and running late is to avoid it altogether. Give yourself more time to reach your destination. Think about your departure time to avoid peak-hour traffic. Plan your route before you leave to best avoid accidents or well-known busy roads. Even considering how your car handles in traffic is a lifesaver later on.
Keeping your cool in a traffic jam might take a little effort, but it will save you a lot of stress, danger, and anxiety in the long run.