5 Tips for Fighting Commuter Stress in 5 Minutes or Less

A Rhode Islander’s guide to keeping cool on and off the Washington Bridge


The Washington Bridge has commuters navigating the never-ending maze of orange cones and construction every day. If you've ever found yourself drumming on the steering wheel, wondering if you'll ever see the other side of your sanity again, you're not alone. Fortunately, there are quick stress-busters, from deep breathing to listening to music, that can help you stay calm during the daily commute.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, and remember to always keep your eyes on the road and stay alert while driving. If you are facing significant stress or mental health challenges, consult a qualified professional. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

  1. Breathe Like Your Life Depends On It

But not just any kind of breathing – deep, diaphragmatic breathing means inhaling deeply through your nose, and holding it for a count of four. Exhale through your mouth and repeat until you feel slightly less compelled to honk your horn in despair.

  1. Crank Up the Tunes 

Music has the power to instantly transform our mood. Create a playlist of your favorite tunes, crank up the volume, and sing as if you’re trying to drown out the sound of your own stress (or the construction noise). Bonus points if you manage to get the car next to you to join in.

  1. Practice Gratitude 

Take a moment to reflect on three things you're thankful for. It could be as simple as enjoying the view of the water or feeling thankful you're not the one operating the heavy machinery. While it may not ease the traffic, it can certainly provide a moment of peace amidst the chaos.

  1. Unleash Your Inner Storyteller 

Pick a license plate in your line of sight – bonus points if it's from out of state – and let your imagination take over. Maybe "4JBJ123" is a retired spy, or "FLYBOY" dreams of flying above the endless sea of gridlock. 

  1. Master the Art of Car Yoga 

While your car is safely parked, grip the steering wheel and extend your arms forward, imagining you're pressing away all the stress of the day. Tap into that deep breathing again and relax – the traffic may be slow but your Rhody destination is worth the wait! 

Washington Bridge, stress, I-95


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