1. If at all possible, take public transport
Here’s why. Dr. Koslowsky’s research found that it’s not the commute per se that is so stressful, that is, the time we spend in the car.
The real stress comes from the issue of control.
If you drive your own car to work, part of the reason you do it is to feel that you’re in control.
So if you get stuck in traffic, you feel that you have lost control of your commuting experience, which is where the stress comes in.
By taking public transportation, be it the train, streetcar, or bus, you have already given up control of your commute.
If you get stuck, then, you won’t be blaming yourself for the delay.
Nor will you be torturing yourself to solve the situation.
2. Take the train
Going back to that control issue again, Dr. Koslowsky’s research found that another major cause of commuter stress is uncertainty.
And there is far more uncertainty in driving a car, or even commuting via bus or carpool because of traffic accidents, traffic jams, etc., than in taking a train, when arrival times are more concrete.
3. Consider carpooling
Now, we’re not telling you to definitely carpool, because here the research is ambiguous.
On the one hand, Koslowsky’s research finds that carpooling can reduce stress, both in terms of the “giving up” of control side of the issue, and in terms of the social interaction that occurs.
But if you’re an introvert who prefers a quiet commute so you can read or think or listen to music, then carpooling with people who expect conversation could just stress you out all the more.
Bottom line: If you’re an out-going, people kind of person, try the carpool. If you’re an introvert, stick to your regular transportation system.