Yet another report, quoting a psychiatrist, said that continuously getting stuck in traffic jams can cause one to get mental health disorders, as well as depression and anxiety.
These, if not addressed, could also lead to chronic illnesses as high blood pressure, heart diseases, and diabetes, the expert had warned.
Face it, getting stuck in bad traffic is inevitable, but how we cope to it is what matters. Below are six tips on what to do if you find yourself in a bumper-to-bumper crawl:
1) Learn calming breathing techniques
Observing calming breathing techniques when you are stuck in a crawl can make a difference between reaching home safely, and getting involved in a fender-bender. The breathing technique below may help you calm down:
- Put one hand on your stomach just below your ribs and another hand on your chest
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, let your stomach push your hand out. Your chest shouldn’t move
- Next, breathe out through pursed lips, almost as if you were whistling. Feel the hand on your stomach go in and use it to push the air out
- Repeat this step three to 10 times, while taking your time for each step
Nothing soothes better than good music when you are stuck behind the wheel. Look at the jam as the extra time you have always wanted to catch up on your favourite podcast or audiobook.
In addition, what better time to sing along to your favourite number, than when you are stuck alone in a metal box? Releasing your pent up energy this way can put you in a better mood, and calm you down. While you are at it, also move your limbs (but keep it minimal) along with your favourite song, to loosen the stiff, tensed muscles.
3) Catch up on calls
Always wanted to call back a friend or relative who tried to reach you, but couldn't find the time to? Getting stuck in a jam is definitely a time to return the call. However, make sure that you are on hands free mode when you make the call, even when your car is hardly moving at all.
4) Keep an 'emergency' kit ready
Stuck in a crawl and your phone is running out of juice? Make sure you have an extra charging cable in your car. The same goes to some light snacks and a bottle of water, when you are not getting anywhere, well past lunch or dinner time.
5) Play games
Getting stuck in a traffic jam can get even more stressful when you have a bunch of restless, hungry kids in the back seat. This is when playing games to keep them occupied and distracted could help.
By games, it doesn't have to be a physical one. It could be the "I spy with my little eye, something beginning with the letter..." of the things you spot along the road or highway. Take turns between all the passengers in the car. For the older kids, getting them to add up the numbers on the registration plate of the other vehicles stuck in the jam, would do.
6) Plan ahead
If you know a certain road leading to your workplace is going to be jammed at a certain time everyday, try to leave home earlier, or try looking for an alternative route.
If you are embarking on a journey to a place you have not gone before, check a map beforehand to check for the traffic condition/possible road closures.
Whatever the case, it is best to keep a positive mindset, and accept the fact that you are stuck in a bad traffic condition. Getting aggressive and angry behind the wheel is not going to clear the traffic in any way, so it is best not to do that.
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