5 Ways To Avoid Stress While Driving In Heavy Traffic

Listening Music

Traffic stress can be very frustrating as one is stuck within the vehicle like a captive. Sitting behind the wheels and waiting for the traffic to move on can be extremely boring and emotionally stressful. Stuck in a traffic jam might mean getting late to work, missing an important meeting, to keep your date waiting or even missing a train or flight journey. The consequences themselves add further to the stress. Here are 5 ways to avoid or lessen traffic stress which will help to kill the time faster or in a better way:

1. Listen To Soothing Music

Listening Music

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Hard times call for awesome music. Music arouses the soul and helps to fight back your inner unrest. It alters the mental outlook to a situation and soothes down anger to compassion. So, put on the car stereo and relax. But don’t switch to jarring and hoarse music or talking radio shows, which will increase the stress even more. You should rather listen to softer tunes like instrumental songs, light retro music and songs with simple lyrics in a sweet voice. Keep it gentle and slow-paced. You can also sing along to your favourite slow numbers and feel the stress vanishing away.

2. Be Ever-Forgiving And Stay Cool

Stay Cool

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It is useless to blame the traffic signals, the cops, the honking cars, the big public transport vehicles, the haphazard lanes, the narrow paths and the accumulating crowd when you are stuck in heavy traffic. Instead, try to behave like a mom who is ever forgiving for her kids in all situations! Nothing lies in your hands when you are actually stuck there. You cannot change things by accusing others and fighting. It only increases your mental stress level which might trouble you even after you have left the chaos and reached your destination. So stay cool and try to ignore the mistakes that everybody seems to be making.

3. Practice Deep Breathing

Deep Breathing

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Deep breathing has been one of the most commonly used techniques for relaxation. Even anger management programs advocate the use of this effective technique to soothe down the body and mind during trying times. Keep your focus on driving. Take a deep relaxed breath in such a way that your shoulder girdle and neck muscles are relaxed and upper abdomen rises up. Then, exhale gently and feel your ribs and abdomen sinking in slowly. Repeat this 5-10 times. You will immediately feel calmer and relaxed.

4. Make Yourself Comfortable


Photo by Elizabeth Hahn, CC BY 2.0

Staying on the driving seat for a long duration and moving ahead in traffic at a snails’ pace can get very alarming. In order to avoid unnecessary stress, try to make yourself more comfortable on your seat. Always keep a snack and a drink handy in your car. These can come to your rescue if you are stuck during meal times and want to avoid getting hunger cramps or dying of thirst! Beat the heat by keeping the temperature cool within the car. Choose a subtle fragrance for your car perfume to make the ambience more pleasant. Keep changing and shifting your position on your car seat to avoid a hurting back. Ideally the back rest should be at an angle of 135 degrees with the seat. Exercise your neck and shoulder muscles intermittently to avoid strain and tension in the continuously working muscles.

5. Think Of Using Time Productively


Photo by Ed Poor, CC BY-SA 3.0

The first priority should of course be driving! But if the traffic queue is really long and you are almost stationary, you can try some of these activities to kill time productively:

  • Talk and complete a missed social call by using a hands-free head set with your phone. Keep the call short and do not lose focus from driving.
  • Think about your favourite people, places and things. It will immediately soothe your mind that was stuck in despair and anxiety. Good memories from the past can fill the mind with pleasant feelings.
  • This could sound absurd but it works. Start a conversation with the other drivers stationed beside you. The plus point is that they are also in the same situation, so sharing out your helplessness will not be difficult. Communication is a good means of passing time when you literally can’t do too much sitting in your car.

So, the next time you are stuck in a traffic jam or facing chaotic traffic, don’t take the stress on yourself. Work it up strategically and try to stay calm. It is only a matter of time. Ultimately, you will reach your destination and the delay is unavoidable. So, it is better to stay happy, keep yourself relaxed and move on.