As a true believer in the importance of road safety, tiremaker Bridgestone acknowledges that many vehicular accidents are triggered by stress. This may be especially true in Metro Manila, where driving is almost always a stressful ordeal. Our traffic is taking its toll on our well-being, and in effect, it could potentially have an adverse effect on congestion and road safety as well. Traffic stresses us out, and stress can cause even more traffic. It's a vicious cycle, and something must be done about it.
That's why Bridgestone consulted Parent and Family Education and Empowerment Consultant, Olivia Lou A. Yao (who's known simply as "Ms. O") about the effects of traffic on our well-being. According to Ms. O, the feeling of helplessness associated with traffic, when left unchecked, can lead to stress and anxiety. It may also be the cause of much road rage.
“Emotional stress prompts a physical response, and experiencing this on a daily basis increases our risk of long-term health problems,” she says. “Stress results in an elevated heart rate, difficulty in breathing, sweating, muscle tension, stomach discomfort, and experiencing these things on a daily basis increase our risk of high blood pressure and stroke, while decreasing the function of our immune system.” These are definitely not ideal conditions under which to get behind the wheel.
So the motorists of an increasingly congested Metro Manila have had to find different ways to condition our minds in order to cope. It's a matter of conditioning your mind and mentally preparing yourself for the traffic. Here are a couple of ways to do it:
1. Don’t underestimate the power of deep breathing. During times when the cars and motorcycles around drive us crazy with the insistent honking as background music, remember that our muscles tighten and breathing become shallow. Take the time, in that slow-paced trudging of the car, to put our hand away from the horn and practice deep breathing exercises. We need to relax our mind and deep breathing exercises will keep us calmer behind the wheel.
2. Listen to music or audiobooks. Since we have nowhere to go, many drivers have learned to divert their attention toward something more productive. We've learned to curate music for the drive or commute. The time spent on the road has also opened to a lot of time for audiobooks and podcasts.
3. Exercise. We can't use traffic as the go-to excuse for skipping gym time anymore, guys. In fact, we've downloaded videos for simple exercises we can do behind the wheel. Instead of boiling blood from Makati to Cubao for hours, why not burn calories instead?
It’s ridiculous that we have to put up with the traffic congestion on a daily basis. But we have since adapted and can survive it with a healthy mindset. Bridgestone is encouraging motorists to condition our minds for healthier habits on the road despite adversities. Keeping your car in tip-top shape by using the right tires can give you some of that peace of mind you need, so make sure that a you are also in your top shape by keeping your mind in check while on the road.
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