How to beat that traffic stress

By Stefanie

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Commuting to and from work is a reality many of us have to live with. And with long rows of cars, traffic jams, and orange construction cones, driving can usually be more stressful than not.

Luckily there are some stress reducing solutions to try as you gear up for your daily drive.

Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) found in his traffic studies research that you are less likely to crash or get stressed if you have another person in the car.

So carpooling actually helps not only the environment but also your nerves.

Here's another interesting tip, inhaling scents or having air fresheners in your car has actually shown to improve motor reaction time, according to the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago.

Also, just say no to that horn. Research shows that traffic noise raises blood pressure and can lead to heart attacks. So stick with emergency only situations when laying on that horn.

Jeffrey Cohen, Owner of Jivamukti Yoga School in Mount Pleasant, is a master of stress-free living and says the biggest way to avoid stress is to stay present.

"Nothing releases stress more than our ability to be 100 percent accepting of the present moment as it is," Jeffrey Cohen said. "We are not our minds, we are not our thoughts, we are not what we think, what we are, and that is really stress releasing so we can release the burden of anxiety and the need to get somewhere very fast."

And one of the biggest ways to be in the moment is to turn off that cell phone. A Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study revealed that you are just as impaired when you are driving while on a cell phone, as you are when you drive intoxicated. Turns out, switching off the cell phone completely while you are behind the wheel is not only safer for yourself and other drivers, but also for your stress levels.

"You can actually turn your morning commute into a meditation that instead of a red light being an obstacle a red light is an invitation to turn off the radio," Cohen said. "Do your best to take some conscience breaths so that the red light becomes less of an obstruction and more of an invitation into the present moment."

"Stress comes from the incongruence of how we like things to be and how things actually are."