I'm from LA and now live in Denver, so I am familiar with traffic. Traffic and long commutes to work have been shown to contribute to unhappiness and lower quality of life. I can’t think of a client who hasn't said that traffic caused stress contributed to a bad mood or been a factor in a fight with a loved one.
But it doesn't have to be that way!
First step is to accept that it sucks. Don't get frustrated or bang your head against the wall because your drive to or from work is crappy. You know it’s gonna be rough, so go with it and focus on the parts of your commute you can change. Set an intention to not let traffic rob you of your joy or put you in a bad mood that you take out on your loved ones or the world around you.
After you do accept that, here's some ideas based on my years of sitting in LA traffic. You can probably add some of your own. In no particular order...
- Call a friend
- Listen to music (I suggest either calming or happy/pop stuff...no need to rage in the middle of traffic with angry music)
- Listen to a podcast
- Practice breathing.
- Play a game. Maybe you look for interesting cars or people doing silly or embarrassing things in their car (I'm looking at you, driver who I saw the other day stop belting out a tune only to pick their nose then resume their solo singing performance).
- Enjoy the scenery - look for something you haven't noticed before.
- Pray or list things you’re grateful for in your life
- Practice breathing. Yup, I know I already listed it, but it’s worth repeating because it is so important and helpful, especially in situations like sitting in traffic