How to keep calm while stuck in traffic

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Based on a recent study, traffic congestion is the top cause of road stress for Filipino drivers.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Being stuck in traffic is the worst. Unfortunately for Filipinos, based on a report by Numbeo, the Philippines ranks fifth in the world in worst traffic conditions.

Motorists and commuters, day in and day out, endure the gridlocks in different parts of the metro.

People get frustrated, especially after a long day at school or work, when they find themselves stuck in traffic for hours when all they want to do is to go home, rest, and spend time with their families.

That’s why it isn’t surprising that a recent study revealed that traffic congestion is the top cause of road stress for Filipino drivers. What we don’t realize, however, is that road stress can be harmful to our health.

Read: 5 ways you can deal with stress

Dr. Gladys Mendoza, an internist at The Medical City, said getting stuck in traffic “produces a lot of your stress hormones.”

“It increases your heart rate, it increases your blood pressure,” said Mendoza. “And we know that if it increases your blood pressure for a long time, you develop heart disease… eventually you develop 'yung mga heart attack.”

Stressful traffic makes people impatient and hot-headed. That’s why it’s important to free yourself from the frustration and anxiety caused by traffic jams.

Here are a few things you can do while sitting stagnant inside a vehicle:

  • Always have healthy snacks near you. Mendoza said a few bites of “nutritious food like nuts, oats, biscuits, non-fat (food)” while in traffic are helpful.
  • Listening to relaxing music, audiobooks or podcasts and singing out songs is a great way to distract yourself from the horrendous road jams.
  • Talking to someone is an effective destressing method. Dial home and talk to a family member. Call a friend. Ask them how their day was. Just make sure you’re on hands-free mode!
  • Exercise. Yes, you read it right. There are easy exercises you can do that will help ease the tension and lower your stress levels.

CNN Philippines’ Paul Garcia contributed to this report.