Hack your commute: Cut down your cortisol

Inspiring ideas to expand your mind on the way to work.

calm relax

Or, in other words, relax. “Easier said than done,” you might argue, but there’s a serious reason commuters need to keep their stress levels manageable. Over time, the frustrations of getting into work each day can cause long-term health problems such as hypertension (high blood pressure), which increases the chance of a stroke or heart attack.

Stress also affects concentration, and the longer the commute, the worse the effect, according to a 2006 study in the Health Psychology journal.

Longer rail commutes caused higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the saliva of 208 New York rail commuters, as well as higher perceived stress and shorter concentration times on a task set after the commute.

READ MORE: Hack your commute: ‘Read’ a book in 15 minutes

And this doesn’t only apply to train travel. If you drive to work and feel stressed by it, it’s not traffic that causes it per se, since you’re effectively just spending time alone that could be enjoyed listening to the radio.

But building anxiety results when traffic threatens to make you late. Leaving five or 10 minutes earlier might require you to simplify your morning routine (or go to bed earlier), but if it removes the possibility of being late it’s likely to cause less stress day to day.

Similarly, it might be a good idea to avoid checking your phone or email on your commute, since you’re likely to cause anxiety about potential problems you can’t resolve until you reach your desk.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here