Commuting Stress Is Your Worst Enemy: 5 Ways To Defeat It
Stress On The Freeway (Freeway Commuting Stress)
I’ve surrendered and accepted that rush hour traffic in LA is the root canal of commuting. You have two options if you commute to work in LA. One is enduring the traffic pile-ups to and from work; the other is arranging your schedule and hitting the road before the gridlock begins. I’ve known people who left for work as early as 4:30 in the morning just to beat the traffic; I’m not one of those people. What I don’t get is why some LA residents didn’t get the “Living in LA you’ll sit traffic” memo? I know the message must have missed a few houses because when I sit at a dead stop on the freeway, there’s always someone behind me that starts blasting their horn.
What exactly do they expect me to do? If I weren’t afraid I’d wind up with a crowbar slammed against my head, just once I’d like to get out of my car, approach the beeping driver and ask him. “Excuse me, what would you like me to do? I can’t move forward, backward or sideways. We’re STUCK, jammed as in, immovable”. But I hold back for two reasons:
- I want to go home in my car, not a body bag.
- Commuting stress can turn the Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde.
How about you? Does your commute send you blood pressure through the ceiling? Do you frequently experience commuting stress? Do you walk into work or return home having one nerve left and anyone that approaches you is standing on it? Do you find freeway driving stress difficult to deal with?
Commuting Stress Isn’t Your Friend
A recent study on commuting stress at the Cooper Institute in Dallas found that people who drive at least 10 miles to and from work have higher rates of depression, anxiety and social isolation. In addition, stress while driving (eg: freeway commuting) causes spikes in blood pressure levels and the longer the commute, the higher your pressure raises. Spikes in blood pressure put you in danger of developing heart disease or a having a stroke; is your morning drive worth the risk? Although there’s no cure for stressful commuting, there are ways to take the edge off the stress and anxiety of your time on the road.
5 Tips To Alleviate Commuting Stress
Below are the 5 easy steps on how you can easily defeat commuting stress.
Prepare In Advance:
One of the best ways to lessen driving tension and commuting stress is to prepare everything you need for work the night before. If you’re running through the house frantically searching for keys, files, and papers, you’re stressed before you walk out the door. If you take the time in the evening to put out your clothes, keys and set the coffee to automatic brew, you’ll eliminate those time killing house hunts.
Get Enough Sleep:
Sleep is an essential component if you want to manage commuting stress and stabilize your mood when diving. Your body requires sleep just like food and water. According to the National Sleep Foundation, the exact amount of sleep you need depends on your age and your individual needs. You can calculate your needs by asking yourself the following questions:
- Are you alert and productive on seven hours sleep? Or do you require eight or nine hours to feel well rested and peachy keen?
- Do you feel sleepy while driving?
- Do you need caffeine to get through the day?
- Do you crave sugar and carbohydrates during the day?
- Do you have high blood pressure or low cortisol levels?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you probably need more Zzzzz’s.
Juggle Your Work Hours:
If your work hours are nine to five, you’re on the road during the peaks of rush hour. Perhaps your company offers or would be open to instituting an alternative work schedule or flextime. Research shows that businesses offering flexible schedules to their employees resulted in higher job satisfaction and decreased turnover with their workers.
Share Your Ride:
I know it’s inconvenient coordinating your commute with another person or two, but riding with a friend might be worth the fuss if sharing your ride reduces your stress. Studies show that sharing a ride to work lowers commuting stress significantly. In addition, you’ll find it’s easier to stifle those angry outbursts with someone else in the car.
Change Your Focus:
If you choose to concentrate on the amount of traffic, slow or discourteous drivers your ride will be a miserable experience. Instead, keep your attention on what you’re doing and using the time productively. Driving alone in a car gives you a break from the outside world. You can choose a number of options that will take your mind off the traffic. For example, you can listen to entertaining, informative or motivational podcasts. If you’re a member of Audible download a few books and you may find yourself hoping for a bit of traffic in order to hear the end of the chapter. You can even learn a new language, “하지 그 좋은 생각” (I think that’s Korean for, “isn’t that a great idea”).
Benefits of Stress-Free Driving (Defeat Commuting Stress Now!)
If you can learn to manage freeway driving stress, you’ll arrive at the job feeling more empowered by your self-restraint. In addition, your morning attitude will improve, and you’ll be more courteous. The first words out of your mouth will be, “Good morning” instead of, “Good God what a morning”! Since you didn’t waste all of your energy on stress, there will be more oomph for the day ahead, Your productivity and stamina will increase. Plus, you’ll be the most pleasant person at the water cooler!
Have a banner day!
The long commute has become a staple of the American work experience: The average round-trip commute is close to an hour and at least 10 percent of the workforce spends more than an hour getting to work. Read more…