How to Keep Your Cool in Gridlock Traffic

4311994985_ce05d7b012_zThere you are, driving in the car along the highway on your way to work, when out of nowhere you come to a sudden and abrupt halt. Next thing you know, cars are getting backed up all around you, and what was previously a quick commute now seems like a never-ending sea of halted vehicles.

Getting hit with gridlock traffic is one of the most frustrating things for drivers, especially if it occurs unexpectedly. It can cause stress levels to skyrocket, anxiety to increase and can turn an otherwise good day into one of despair. However, when it comes to these situations, maintaining your cool is the best thing you can do for yourself. Here are a few tips to help you stay sane during bumper-to-bumper traffic:

Practice Deep Breathing Exercises

When you feel your stress levels start to rise, the first thing you should do is stop, assess the situation and take a deep breath in, and exhale out. If you find your hands gripping the steering wheel tighter and negative thoughts running through your head, take a few deep breaths to ease the tension.

Concentrate on your breathing, your inhales and exhales, and let your mind relax from the built-up tension. Getting stressed out on the road is never a good thing, especially when your surroundings are highly congested. There are numerous breathing exercises you can do to help you relax and keep stress levels low. Take advantage of these techniques when you find yourself in gridlock traffic to ease the frustration that may be boiling just under the surface. 

Keep a Smile on Your Face

If you suddenly come to a halt on your morning commute, keeping a smile on your face is likely the last thing your face will do naturally. No matter how goofy this may sound, smiling when you’re upset is an amazing method of dealing with the anxiety or stress that arises from being stuck in traffic.

Research has proven that doing something as simple as smiling will help your body better maintain the stressors around you and relieve the building tensions. So before you decide to frown, furrow your eyebrows and let the road rage take over, spend a few minutes with a smile on your face and see the wonders it can work.

Don’t Try to Push Your Way Through

We’ve all seen that person who tries to narrowly maneuver their way past every single car during gridlock traffic. Even if all the lanes are going the same speed, there is always one person switching lanes to try and shave off 30 seconds from their commute. Trying to make your way past every car in heavy traffic not only increases stress levels, it can cause you to get into a minor accident. Sure, getting out of the traffic a minute earlier may seem worth it at the time, but if you happen to get into a fender bender, you’ll see it as a huge regret the next time you compare car insurance rates.

Have a Stress Ball in the Car

Sitting in gridlock traffic can seem like an endless amount of time, and if all else fails to reduce surmounting anxiety, having a stress-relieving ball in the car can be a beneficial tool to manage your emotions. If you’ve found yourself in these situations more often than not, check out some stress-relief balls to find the one that may work best for you. Make sure to keep it in the car, and go straight for it as soon as the highway congestion starts piling up.

Almost every person who drives on a frequent basis has had to deal with a sudden, unexpected onset of gridlock traffic. Although the natural response is to let your stress levels skyrocket and frustrations take over, keeping your cool during these situations is the best way to get through it without ruining your whole day. Using some of the techniques above will help you when these instances do occur, and make the time fly-by at a faster rate.

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