Raise Your Finger If You Didn't Know Commuting Causes Stress

Jim Shea
Contact ReporterThe Hartford Courant

Commuting can be bad for your health.

Everyone who didn't know this, please raise your hand.

You're not from around here, are you?

If you were from around here you would know that in these parts commuting is kind of like group road rage.

Everyone who didn't know this, please raise your finger (you know which one).

Over the years, studies have determined commuting affects drivers' physical and mental health in a variety of ways, with stress being the major complaint.

Some studies have shown that people with challenging commutes have higher stress levels than even police officers and firefighters.

Everyone who didn't know this, please look in the rearview mirror the next time you are stuck in rush hour traffic and count the number of times that snaking purple vein in the middle of your forehead pulsates.

Another study found that women with pre-school children experienced commuting–related stress at a level four times greater than the average. Of course, women with pre-school children experience pretty much everything at a stress level at least four times greater than the average.

Everyone who didn't know this, and has emerged unscathed from a commuting-related incident with a woman who has pre-school children, please consider yourself very fortunate indeed.

Commuting can also affect relationships. Couples with long commutes had a 40 percent greater risk of divorce, according to one study. Although the study did not indicate, I'm betting the rate of splitsville would jump to 80 percent if couples commuted together.

Everyone who regularly commutes with a spouse and has not had stress-induced exchanges of bad words, please keep it to yourself because no one is going to believe you anyway.

Some try to deal with commuting stress by emphasizing the opportunities it presents to spend time alone, think, listen to news programs or enjoy music.

Unfortunately, there is another block of commuters who pass the time by having breakfast, talking on the phone, texting, reading the newspaper, watching videos.

Everyone who didn't know this please know that we know the reason you didn't know is because you were too absorbed in one or more of these behaviors yourself.

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