How to Stress Less During Heavy Traffic

Posted by Fernando Correa ● Jul 9, 2018 1:49:00 PM

Road rage 

Heavy traffic is an unfortunate fact of life for carriers, and studies show that traffic congestion produces a great deal of anger, stress, and anxiety. In a recent study done by CargoBot, heavy traffic rated as the number one challenge facing carriers today.

If you're a trucker, you undoubtedly hate traffic. It costs you time and money and makes the job that much more difficult.

Although you can't usually can't easily avoid traffic, you can work on controlling your reaction to it. The following are some ways to help you stress less during heavy traffic:

Breathing Exercises 

When you're stressed behind the wheel, your breathing can get shallow and weak, and you probably don't realize it. You may even find yourself inadvertently holding your breath during particularly stressful times.

To stay more centered in bumper-to-bumper traffic, try simply focusing on your breath - inhale deeply, exhale, and repeat the process. Try breathing from your stomach, and when you inhale each time, make it last for a few seconds. You'll find that you feel more calm.

Although you may know from experience that this is true, science now backs it up. Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that nerve cells at the brain stem connect breathing to our state of mind. 

Problem-focused Coping 

Some people think that you can't focus on the problem and focus on your breathing at the same time. But breathing deeply will actually clear your mind and let you focus much more clearly on the actual problems that lie in front of you. 

Studies actually show that focusing on the problem (problem-focused coping) is a more effective way to reduce your stress in traffic than trying to feel less anger, stress, or anxiety (emotion-focused coping). 

Focusing on the problem itself can help you look for better routes in the future and remind you to avoid traveling through a particular area during rush hour if you can help it. Apps such as Waze can help you avoid possible detours. Because these types of apps are in real time, you'll find out whether there's something like an accident around the next turn that you should avoid. It's actually empowering to take a problem-solving approach to traffic because that can allow you to take tangible steps to solve your problem and reduce your stress. Focus more on your routes and staying present and less on things outside of your control. 

Develop Mindfulness 

Mindfulness is all about being aware of your surroundings and watching your emotions come and go without judgment. It's basically the opposite of road rage, negativity, and anger. 

In those negative states you can get really attached to a narrative that's not necessarily the most helpful for completing your route on time ("That guy just cut me off!"). Instead of getting mad or stressed, become more mindful of your surroundings and try not to judge your own emotions. Just let things pass. 

Being stressed out can actually impair your judgment behind the wheel. At some point you have to realize that you and your dispatcher are doing the best that you can and that's all that you can do. 

Remember to focus on your breathing (deep inhale, exhale, repeat), take a problem-solving rather an emotion-coping orientation, and bring more mindfulness to the drive to stay on top of the situation when you're in heavy traffic.



Cargobot Carriers

Topics: Carriers/Truckers