The health consequences of traffic and stress behind the wheel
The daily commute to and from work or running errands, while battling traffic, is unfortunately a part of reality for many of us.
Even if traffic jams are temporary and short-lived, the feeling of being stuck in the car is exasperating and makes you particularly impatient.
Did you know that according to a study published by Université de Montréal, spending more than 20 minutes in traffic can have serious consequences on psychological health and even lead to burnout?
Longer term consequences
The stress caused by traffic added to all the other sources of stress you experience each day (fighting with a spouse, conflicts at work or simply waiting in line) can have consequences over the long term such as psychological distress, anxiety or mood disorders.
A few tips for managing stress behind the wheel
If the morning commute to work is inevitable, here are a few tips for dealing with the frustration!
Breathe in, breathe out, and repeat
Deep breathing is a tried and true technique.
It seems simplistic but it works and allows you to get grounded instead of focusing on the fact that you are probably going to be late for work.
Not only will it make you feel better, courtesy at the wheel will compel other drivers to adopt the same behaviour.
Be nice and the favour will certainly be returned!
See it as an opportunity
This is a good time to relax and listen to your favourite music.
Use public transportation
Using public transportation is a great way to relax in the morning and use this extra time to plan your day in advance or answer emails.
Say “yes” to your frustrations
It’s often easier to keep your frustrations inside rather than let them out and move on to something else.
The principle is easy: saying yes to your frustrations enables you to accept them and experience the present moment differently.
Even if it might be the last thing on your mind when you’re crawling along at 10 km/hour in the fast lane, it has been scientifically proven that smiling reduces stress.
Think of something silly about the situation and you might crack a smile.
Psst! Even a fake smile has a positive effect on the body and mind!