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Fighting road stress

By Charles Hopkins Published 08/8/2006 | Health

Fighting road stress

Anyone who has just entered home after braving the peak hour traffic can tell you what road stress is. Blaring horns, traffic jams, careless motorists and casual pedestrians are few of the many causes of road stress. It is experienced equally by people driving cars or motor cycles and by people who are walking on the road.

Road stress affects both the mind and the body. It creates a feeling of anxiety, frustration and fatigue. The result is that by the time you reach your workplace or home you tend to be in a bad mood. Anger and temper outbursts are not uncommon. Under extreme circumstances it may lead to physical burnouts or even mental breakdowns. 

There is no way you can escape from road stress because you have to travel to work five days a week, and to the market once or twice a week. It is better to fight road stress by developing techniques that can help you stay calm and focused. For instance, there is no point in holding the other driver behind you if he is impatient to overtake you. Allow him to pass. It will save you the harassment of hearing the constant blasts of his horn.

Take care to avoid confrontations on the road even if the other person is at fault.  Confrontations can take an ugly turn very fast since most people under such situations do not act and think rationally. The proceedings can amount to unnecessary stress and anxiety.  Driving along with motorists and taxis can be unnerving especially at peak hours.  Keep yourself focused and calm. Think that they might be stressed out or in a hurry and give them the benefit of doubt.  You can avoid untowardly accidents that usually happen when people are stressed out.

If possible travel with a companion.  It breaks the monotony and helps you to stay focused and alert.  Also talking with a co-passenger can take your mind off the road and result in a pleasant journey. The other way to combat stress is to listen to your favorite music. Music has an extremely soothing effect on the mind.  It can ease the stress and help you feel lighter and happier.

It also pays to be cautious. Travel at least half an hour earlier if you know you have to pass busy intersections.  You will be much relaxed even if you are caught in the same traffic light twice or in a jam. Do not jump lights. They offer you some time to get your frayed nerves together. You can possibly drink water to keep your cool.

Sometimes even crossing a road can create deep stress.  Always wait for the green pedestrian light to come on and then cross the road. It is best to cross the road with a group of people. Never try running on the road in an attempt to cross it. Anybody driving cannot anticipate your actions. This can lead to accidents which are stressful for both the pedestrian and the driver.

You will find that you are less stressed if you drive slowly and carefully, and let the impatient drivers go past you.