Rush hour traffic is a part of life in cities all across the country. In fact, the average American will spend an average of 42 hours a year stuck in this traffic. For people in more populated cities, that number can increase to as high as 84 hours annually. It can be stressful to be stuck on the road after a long day at work when all you want to do is get back home. Try de-stressing during your commute and you will notice a positive impact in your daily life.
Tips for De-Stressing While Driving
There are plenty of things you can do to make driving to work more enjoyable. You can try listening to upbeat music to put you in a good mood. Commutes are also a good time to catch up on your favorite podcast or listen to an audio book. If you find yourself getting too stressed out, then try some relaxing breathing techniques. Inhale deeply, hold it for three seconds and then exhale. Breathing exercises allow you to focus on something else other than the traffic.
Ways to Avoid Rush Hour Traffic Altogether
You should look into taking public transportation to arrive at your destination more quickly. Alternatively, you can look into different routes. Even a route that will take five minutes off your commute can really add up over time. Consider leaving at a different time, too. If your job allows you to show up when you want to, then think about leaving earlier or later to avoid the hectic rush hour. Additionally, you should consider speaking with your employer about whether you can change what time you have to arrive at work or if there could be one day in the week where you can work from home.
You should also think about starting a carpool around your office. Driving in rush hour can be a lot more enjoyable if you have people to talk to. Additionally, a carpool means there will be certain days of the week where you do not have to be behind the wheel of the car, so that can improve your mood substantially as well.
Benefits of Remaining Calm
It is natural to feel stressed once in a while. However, if you feel overly stressed every day during rush hour, then your health is soon going to feel the negative effects. Increased levels of stress can lead to higher blood pressure and difficulty sleeping at night. Over time, constantly feeling stressed can increase your risk of having a heart attack. With so many health problems associated with stress, it is certainly worth it to look into ways to limit your exposure to it. For example, you should remove any anxious thoughts from your mind while you are in rush hour. Do not worry about how your boss will react when you arrive a few minutes late. Keep your thoughts on the present situation.
Approximately three billion gallons of fuel was wasted in 2014 due to rush hour traffic congestion, so it is worth it to try to reduce traffic jams. Rush hour traffic does not have to consume your life, so be proactive about avoiding it.