One of the most frequent sources of anger, stress and anxiety in today’s society is traffic congestion. While some people do not mind driving in a large number of cars, the case of a traffic jam can be highly stressful because no-one is heading anywhere quickly. Statistics have shown that rush-hour commuters in Australia will lose approximately 50 hours per year to traffic congestion. One may not consider this to be a problem, but the emotional and psychological effects traffic jams have can be highly detrimental to a person’s health. This article will provide information on how to manage stress caused by traffic at places like Richmond.
1. Protecting One’s Health
One of the best solutions to protecting your health is to steer clear of traffic congestion wherever possible. This can be challenging if the commute to school or work passes through a high-traffic location; however, one needs to be flexible regarding other routes or schedule different times. For example, you could avoid rush-hour traffic by leaving home earlier. It may also be possible to use a GPS service from your iPhone or such to re-route a commute through a less congested area.
2. Reducing One’s Stress
Once you have completed any re-routing or rescheduling to avoid traffic congestions, the next step is to face the traffic with greater equanimity. For people who cannot control the situation of a traffic jam, it is best to manage the reaction to the traffic. Below are some tips derived from research on how to reduce the stress of a traffic jam and help you remain calmer in this congestion.
• Redefining The Situation
Instead of viewing the traffic as an obstacle to overcome, try seeing it as a respite from an undesired task. For example, sitting in a traffic jam is an good opportunity to listen to music or have a few hours away from the office. By changing your perspective, you will be redefining the situation from a bad one to one where you can relax.
• Remove Anxious Thoughts
The majority of people will feel concern over the amount of time they are ‘wasting’ when sitting in a traffic jam. Instead of worrying about being late, approach the situation with a mindful attitude accepting it and realising you do not have control over the issue. Modify your awareness to what is happening in the present moment and do not think about the future.
• Start Smiling
When you are travelling at ten miles per hour in the fast lane, it is advised that you smile instead of scowling. If you can see the humour in the situation, you will feel less stress. In fact, evidence has found that even faking a smile can reduce the intensity of the body’s stress responses. The saying, ‘fake it ’til you make it’ does hold some bearing.
As can be seen, there are methods to dealing with traffic congestion. By using the information above, you can manage unwanted traffic jams with ease and fewer feelings of stress.