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5 Ways to Cope with the Stress of a Daily Commute

November 2, 2011

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Anyone who travels to work by car, train, or bus knows that the daily commute to your 9-5 can be exhausting and stressful. Traffic jams, cancelled or missed trains, bad weather, unexpected delays – it all causes worry and aggravation.

If you are living the life of an average commuter, you are more likely to have health problems than those who bike or walk to their job, says a recent study by researchers at a Swedish university. Commuters experience a set of health issues ranging from exhaustion to lack of sleep to higher levels of everyday stress. Commuters miss more workdays and suffer from poorer health in general, and they even report marital problems due to their commute.

While getting a job closer to home is an ideal solution, financial woes and a fragile economy are forcing people to take a job wherever they can find one – and sometimes that makes a long commute inevitable.

Luckily, there are some simple techniques that can help you cope. If you have to face a tough commute everyday, try these tips to relieve the stress of the daily grind. 

1. Meditate.
If you are a train or bus commuter, take the time during your commute for a daily meditation practice. Meditation reduces stress and anxiety and gives you an opportunity to prepare your mind for what’s ahead of you during the day. Integrative Nutrition guest speaker Dr. Andrew Weil offers three simple breathing exercises you can do anywhere.  

 2. Read.
Or listen to an audio book. Using the time on your commute to read a good book will make you feel more relaxed than just daydreaming, falling asleep in an uncomfortable position, or working.

3. Let it go.
If you find yourself stuck in traffic or your train is delayed, remember these things are out of your control. Getting anxious and stressed about it will only negatively impact you and you won’t get to where you are going any faster.

4. Snack.
Keep snacks and water with you when you are a daily commuter. Nothing is worse than being stuck or travelling a long distance and finding yourself parched and hungry. Raw nuts, seeds and water are great options for commuter’s snack.

5. Do work you love.
If you are putting in the time for a commute every day, make sure it’s to do something you love. If you love your job, your daily travels to get there might actually be a treat rather than a chore. 

How do you deal with a stressful commute?