Stress Mastery: How To Relieve Traffic Jam Stress (Part 3 of 3)

by Doc Orman, M.D.

Traffic Jam 3This three-part series is about how to better understand the true causes of traffic jam stress.  The same principles that apply to understanding the causes of traffic jam stress can be applied, in a generic way, to virtually any type of human stress.



So far, we’ve looked at:

Mistakes Most People Make In Thinking About Traffic Jam Stress (Part 1)

Internal Thoughts (Conversations) That Contribute To Traffic Jam Stress (Part 2)

Action Patterns

Today, we’re going to examine some action patterns that can also contribute to traffic jam stress.

How often have any of the following action patterns  (including actions you didn’t take) had a bearing on the stress you experienced in traffic jams:

  • Failing to check traffic reports for delays before heading out.
  • Leaving only enough time to get to your destination if everything goes smoothly.
  • Choosing a travel route that’s quicker but leaves you fewer detour options should traffic unexpectedly come to a halt.
  • Blaming yourself for being “stupid” for getting stuck in a traffic jam.
  • Complaining and getting even more upset instead of finding something enjoyable or useful to do while you are waiting.

Some of these action patterns can contribute to you getting into a traffic jam in the first place.  Others, along with some of the conversations we talked about in Part 2, can make your situation much more stressful than it needs to be.

Other Types of Stress

What we learn about traffic jam stress can be applied to many other types of stress as well.  This is because it is rarely external events alone, like traffic jams, that cause us to get upset.  Rather, it is external events coupled with our own internal conversations and action patterns that together cause us to end up feeling stressed.

We normally excel at noticing the obvious, external causes of our stress.  What we are not usually good at is appreciating how our own internal thoughts and behaviors may be contributing to our stress as well.

The value of learning how to identify these internal conversations and action patterns is that we have 100% control over these internal factors—once we become aware of them.  With regard to our external situations (such as traffic jams) there may, or may not, be much we can do to change or escape from them.  On the other hand, if we are feeling stressed, angry, frustrated, worried, panicked or in any other way distressed about the situations we might find ourselves in, well there’s much we can do to relieve these unwanted internal reactions.

NOTE: Be sure to get your free PDF copy of my latest e-book “4 Books On Stress That Can Transform Your Life.” You can easily do this by clicking this link (no registration required):


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