Even a little bit of road rage could be turning you into a grumpy old man. If you find it difficult to keep your calm in traffic, you may want to consider what you’re doing to yourself inside and out. Whenever you’re stressed, your body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These raise your heart rate, slow down your metabolism and raise your blood pressure for anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours... even after the initial stressor has gone away.
Is your daily commute road rage making you age faster?
That “rush” you feel when you narrowly miss being sideswiped is a flood of those hormones and others, and the effects of those biochemicals continue to wreak havoc with your body’s systems long after that rush begins to fade. Just a little traffic exposure on a regular basis can play a role in future heart disease, high blood pressure or weight gain.
Besides your internal systems getting out of whack, you’re also putting a lot of stress on your face in the form of tensed jaw muscles, furrowed eyebrows, eye strain and other micro-expressions that lead to fine lines and wrinkles. But you have to get to work right? You can’t just “avoid” traffic altogether... so how can you mitigate its stressful effects?
How to get yourself out of these stressful encounters
- One solution is to hold off on the morning coffee until after you get to work. Caffeine just accelerates all of the negative effects of stress.
- You might also try listening to a book on tape on your way instead of the morning talk show. The simple sound of a single voice and a plot line that can hold your attention may distract you from the understandable frustrations of the road.
- You can also help yourself considerably by leaving an adequate amount of time for your commute. If you’re constantly rushing out the door 10-15 minutes late to begin with, you’re just setting yourself up for highway drama.
- You can even try simple deep breathing exercises the whole time you’re in the car. It will help lower stress levels and it’s a good practice for general health, too.
Practice these simple steps to help get you to your workplace with a clear head to start the day.