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Tips for Commuting with Less Stress

Unless you work at home, there's always some stress involved in getting to your job. Here are eight tips to lower that stress level.

Longer commutes and rising gas prices are adding stress to getting to work or just getting weekly errands done. Don't let traffic stress you out. Here are eight ways to de-stress your commute.

1. Leave earlier in the morning. You don't have to feel victimized by traffic gridlock. Strive to arrive an hour or even two hours early, at least one or a few days a week. You can take an early morning walk which will both clarify your thinking and allow you to make plans for your day's work.

2. Leave work later. Juggle your schedule to leave at a different time so that you're not always trapped in the heaviest traffic even if you only do this twice each week. You can study something different at a local junior college or you can take to trip to your library. Stay late one night and have a after-hours social gathering with your buddies to let the bulk of the traffic pass by.

3. Whittle down your gas bill. Alleviate some of the financial stress that comes with paying higher gas prices by making sure your car is tuned up. Keep tires inflated to the recommended pressure, because under-inflated tires use up more fuel. Replace clogged air filters. Also save gas by lightening up the load in your car trunk.

4. Relax. If the gridlock you're caught up in can't be avoided, just take a deep breath and breathe consciously like this until you become calm again and can place your thinking on the road and off your distress. Stress is contagious, so don't become an instigator or a victim of road rage on today's already stress-congested highways.

5. Learn. Keep a book-on-tape or book-on-CD to entertain or teach you while you are sitting in traffic. Public libraries have huge selections of histories, motivational recordings, language lessons, business tips, biographies and other topics.

6. Don't talk on your cell phone. Cell phones are becoming an increasing cause of traffic accidents, which is why many cities are banning cell phone talk on the road. Don't do it. In an emergency, pull over and off the highway and come to a complete stop before you make a call.

7. Accept the inevitable. Sometimes unexpected traffic tie-ups can make you late. It's a common denominator among today's commuters, so keep that in mind before you worry that your boss or acquaintance won't understand. Besides, accelerating and braking too much in traffic also uses more fuel. Be accepting (and safe!) instead of stressed.

8. Consider mass transit. Instead of dreading getting behind the wheel, you'll look forward to letting someone else do the driving while you read or plan your day's schedule on paper. BesidesFind Article, a healthy walk to the bus stop is one more way to make exercise part of your day!

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Ruth Klein, America's De-Stress Diva", is owner of the award-winning firm The Marketing/Time Source. With a master's degree in clinical psychology, Klein, is the author of the best-selling Time Management Secrets for Working Women and five other books on business and lifestyle topics. Sign up to receive Ruth's 7 Part Mini-Course on Branding and Productivity.

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