Maybe there was a collision or a car broke down—either way, traffic is bad. Instead of getting mad, which won’t change the fact that you won’t be going anywhere anytime soon anyway, spend your time more productively with these tips.
1. Memorize song lyrics to Taylor Swift’s 1989 album.
While in the car, try listening to song lyrics and actually committing them to memory instead of just letting T. Swift blast on the speakers. This exercises your brain’s memory function. “Learning and practicing any challenging skill—for example, a second language, reading, or even juggling—can change the structure of your brain for the better,” reports CNN.
2. Sing your heart out.
Not in the mood to test your brain? Pass the time by singing instead. Who cares if your windows aren’t tinted? If singing Idina Menzel’s “Let It Go” still hasn’t lost its novelty, then go ahead and belt your heart out. According to a study featured on Business Insider, singing may actually lessen anxiety and promote happiness.
3. Make mental checklists.
Just because you’re still an hour away from the office doesn’t mean you can’t start working. If traffic is horrendous, pass the time by making mental checklists. What’s the first thing you plan to do when you get to work? Whose table should you go to right away? Do you need to send important emails to anybody? By streamlining your tasks in your head, you’ll be able to save time as opposed to waiting until you clock in to work on your to-do list.
4. Do breathing exercises.
It’s the oldest trick in the book, but it works. According to TIME.com, slow and mindful breathing—not unlike the kind you do when meditating—helps lower your blood pressure and stress levels.
5. Play Marry, Do, Kill with your friends.
Be honest: Talking about men is a fun distraction. If you’re with a group of your gal pals, play a couple of rounds of Marry, Do, or Kill starring your favorite hunks. Stick with the likes of Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Pine, and steer clear of the guys you actually know to avoid any conflict.
6. Bring baon.
Don’t let yourself get too cranky by stashing a few emergency biscuits in your car’s compartment. Let’s face it: Half the time, the reason why people get so hotheaded in a traffic jam is because they’re hungry. Paul Currie, a professor of psychology at Reed College in the US, says hunger makes us emotional. “Irritable, angry certainly, and the longer you deprive, there will be an increase in emotional response.”
7. Count your blessings.
Look at the brighter side of things. There are worse situations to be in. You could be stuck in a rainstorm, be in the car with your least favorite person at the office, or worse, be the cause of the traffic jam.
This story originally appeared on Femalenetwork.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors