Stress: What can you do in busy traffic?

Many major cities are ravaged by a plague. It is not a contagious disease, nor is it a destructive swarm of ravenous insects. Yet the health of millions of people is threatened by it. It causes a lot of stress and tension. What is it about? It’s about traffic! What can you do to relax a bit? According to researchers, frequent exposure to traffic congestion can be detrimental to your health . In fact, a recent study suggests that someone who has been stuck in traffic is at greater risk of having a heart attack for at least an hour afterwards. The New Zealand Herald reports that exhaust fumes, noise and stress are likely the main causes for the sudden increase in risk.

More accidents

With the increase in traffic, the danger to humans also increases. More than a million people die in traffic every year and this figure is growing steadily. In some areas the danger is particularly great. For example, researchers from the European Commission found that for every million inhabitants there are 690 fatalities on roads in Greece, as opposed to 120 in Sweden.” A nasty factor that has received a lot of attention in recent years is road rage . More and more often you hear of drivers taking out their anger on other drivers. According to a survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Board, drivers believed that the increased aggression in traffic was partly due to more traffic or more congestion.

What can you do?

In view of this, what can you do to deal with this annoying problem? If you are one of the millions who are regularly stuck in traffic, there are things you can do to protect your physical and mental health .

Be prepared for it

Many people are already stressed before they get stuck in traffic. They get up too late. Showering, dressing and eating happen in a hurry. The idea of being late for work makes them tense. The traffic jam only makes them more stressed. If you expect to get stuck in traffic, allow extra time for your journey. By leaving earlier you may even be able to avoid traffic jams altogether. According to the book Commuting Stress – Causes, Effects and Methods of Coping, a less stressed journey starts the day or night before. The book adds: Clothes, attaché cases, lunches for the children in the family are prepared in the evening to avoid stress in the morning. Of course, a good night’s sleep is also important. To get an early start in the morning, you need to go to bed at a reasonable time.
Getting up early offers even more benefits. For example, you may get stiff muscles when you are stuck in a traffic jam for a long time. Why not do some exercises tomorrow if possible? A regular program of exercise can improve your overall health and help you cope with the physical stress that comes with being stuck in traffic. Waking up earlier can also give you time to eat a nutritious breakfast . Stuck in a traffic jam with junk food or nothing at all in your stomach can make you even more stressed. You can avoid additional stress by making sure your car is in good condition . There are few things more frustrating than having a car break down in the middle of a traffic jam. This is especially true in bad weather. Therefore, make sure that your brakes, tires, air conditioning or heating, windshield wipers, window heating or other important components are properly maintained. Even a minor collision in a traffic jam can cause a lot of stress. And of course, you should always make sure you have enough fuel in your tank.

Be informed

inquire before your departure about special circumstances such as bad weather, roadworks, temporary road closures, accidents and other traffic situations. You can get this traffic information from the radio and other sources. Also purchase a road map of the area, or possibly a navigation system. Being aware of alternative routes may help you avoid bottlenecks.

Make it easy

Adjust the ventilation and your seat to a position that you find comfortable. If you have a radio/CD player, you can listen to your favorite music. Some types of music have a calming effect and can reduce stress. You may also be less bothered by annoying noise during a traffic jam.

Use your time well

One of those most productive things you can do while stuck in traffic is to think positively . Instead of worrying about the bad traffic situation, try to think about the day’s activities. When you’re alone, time in traffic gives you a unique opportunity to sort out important thoughts and even make decisions undisturbed. This will also reduce your stress. If you’re a passenger, staring at the long traffic jam in front of you might just make you more stressed. So make sure you use your travel time productively. Perhaps you can bring your favorite book or a newspaper, or read through your mail from the previous day. Some people like to write letters or do some work on their laptop.

Be realistic

If you live in an area where traffic congestion is a problem, plan for traffic jams and adjust your plans. In most cities there will always be traffic congestion. The book Stuck in Traffic Coping with Peak-Hour Traffic Congestion says: It is almost certain that all metropolitan areas that already suffer from traffic congestion during rush hour will continue to experience significant congestion in the near future. So try to accept traffic as a normal part of your life and do what you can to make the best of it.

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