10 Ways To Beat Stress While Stuck In A Traffic Jam


Woman driving and singing

Woman driving and singing

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A little drive time between work and home is healthy.  It lets you decompress, lets you shift mental modes and awards a little healthy alone time.  And then there are traffic jams, the perfect way to stress up your day. 

They don't have to be, though. Forget everything you've heard, these are can't-miss ways to mentally get ahead when you're at a physical standstill.

Coloring.  We’ve heard before that a way to beat stress and reconnect with your inner child is to whip out crayons and a coloring book.  Give signed copies to drivers around you.  Watch one wind up on eBay and sell for thousands.

Fake calls.  We always have to hear others’ calls while stuck in a traffic jam, so why not add your own twist?  Lift your phone to your head and loudly speak song lyrics like it’s just a normal conversation.  Sexy jams, psychedelic rock anthems and country ballads work well.

Guess the rhyme.  Like being stuck in a traffic jam isn’t bad enough, someone always seems to crank country music for that finishing purgatorial touch.  Country songs usually follow a simple rhyme scheme, so as a coping mechanism, guess the next lyric that rhymes.  You’ll surprise yourself how often you’re correct.   

Host your own talk show.  Turn on a talk radio program and crank it.  Lip sync to the host.  Fool surrounding drivers that you’re hosting the show from your car.  Watch them proceed to ask questions of their own.

Or really host your own talk show.  Do it for real and interview the people around you.  Learn much more than you’d ever hoped to know about that little old lady’s aches and pains.

Ron Burgundy Dodge Durango

Ron Burgundy Dodge Durango

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If you got it, flaunt it.  Channel your inner Ron Burgundy, the way he sold the hell out of the Dodge Durango's glovebox.  Cast a look to your side and brag, “Oh yeah.  There’s a four-cylinder under that hood.”  “Mmhmm.  That’s allll original rust.”  “There’s a good reason they don’t make these anymore.”  Throw in a wink at your own discretion.

Head crushing.  Not literally, just Kids in the Hall style.  If you need a refresher or are sadly uninitiated, YouTube it.

Play with your food.  Take a sandwich or whatever is available, act as if negotiations have failed and you must eat the sandwich as its punishment.  Yell things at the food between bites like, “Last chance!  Who do you work for?” or “You see what happens?   This is what happens!”

Brush with greatness.  The chances are infinitesimal the driver next to you is famous, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pretend they are.  Be an enthusiastic, gushy fan for them and see if they really believe it.  Bonus points for fictitious characters.   

Bark back.  For all the attention being given to distracted driving, it somehow remains legal to drive with unrestrained pets in our laps.  Best to combat it with incomprehension.  Bark at the dog.  Growl.  Pant.  See how quickly the owner relegates the dog to another seat.

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