Case study two

When you get stressed in a traffic jam, your heart rate goes up. This is because, although youve got nowhere to go, your prehistorically programmed body interprets your agitation as impending con...

17 Nov 2010 00:00 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 00:03

Charles Grundy: Estate Agent
Charles works at Bushells estate agents in Clapham Common, London, as a sales negotiator. Over the course of the day, Charles jumped into his VW Polo 1.4 nine times to meet potential buyers at properties. His maximum heart rate was 137bpm and his average 97bpm.

1 137bpm
This must have been when a bus driver pulled out in front of me. A Ford Focus managed to get past him and I tried to follow but I didnt manage it. I probably got a bit carried away.
Expert Charles makes it worse by making each journey more stressful. The British Heart Foundation recommends first identifying that youre tense for example gritted teeth, clenched hands on the wheel then breathing slower and more deeply. It also suggests playing relaxing music CDs.

2 121bpm
A chap here cut me up in a Mondeo. I swore at him and he just looked at me funny. Im much better than I used to be. When I first worked here, I got into lots of bad arguments.
Expert Charless tendency to snap makes him a target for road rage. Apart from the danger of violence, the raised heart rate and adrenaline also makes him a dangerous driver.

3 134bpm
I was running late at this point. Its stressful when you know someones waiting for you.
Expert Weve all been late but its just a question of perspective, says the British Heart Foundation. He should remind himself that arriving on time is not a life or death situation. Calling ahead will also help.

4 117bpm
Im definitely stressed here this journey round the back of Brixton was solid with traffic.
Expert Charless extraordinarily high heart rate over the day could have long-term effects. According to the foundation, stress can affect the heart by increasing blood pressure and can encourage clotting in the arteries.