How to combat traffic stress in Dubai
Having a longer commute time is linked to higher levels of cortisol in the body.
Getting stuck in the gridlock of Dubai traffic has become a part of daily life for many people. But longer commute times impacts our physical and psychological well-being. It does not just make us angry or anxious, but contributes to a number of things that change our physiology, including having an increased heart rate and blood pressure.
Having a longer commute time is linked to higher levels of cortisol in the body. Cortisol, also known as "the stress hormone," puts us at increased risk of developing chronic problems such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
There are, however, many things we can do to decrease the chronic stress caused by traffic.
1) Leave early. This creates time to plan for the frequently unexpected Dubai jams or construction en route, or car accidents along the way.
2) Consider the time of day and year, as traffic congestion is heavier around rush hours and local holidays. This means adding extra time to your commute.
3) Make your car a comfortable space. Creating ways to make your time more
enjoyable in your car will mitigate increased stress. Keep your car a clean space, add a pleasant smelling air freshener, and listen to music or a podcast that interests you.
4) Keep a healthy snack in your car. Keep an emergency snack in your car to prevent low blood sugar levels which tend to make us more irritable and hostile while driving.
5) Use traffic apps. Smart phone applications like Google Maps and Waze alert you to
traffic accidents, congestion, and construction. This can help mitigate the stress that comes with unexpected delays.
6) Practise core-breathing:. Take a deep breath using the core of your stomach, find a comfortable rhythm and take at least 2 deep breaths before driving.
7) Use public transportation. Take a taxi, the bus, or metro to avoid having to drive through congested areas.
The writer is a clinical social worker and programme coordinator at The LightHouse Arabia.
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