Commuting: fight or flight?

By london_ken Last edited 189 months ago
Commuting: fight or flight?

Londonist was drawn to an article in The Guardian today with the Ronseal-esque headline Want to feel less stress? Become a fighter pilot, not a commuter.

Viewers of the BBC's The Stress Test will be familiar with the measurement of cortisol as an indicator of stress. It turns out that commuters who took part in the study reported in The Guardian release a lot of this pressure-induced hormone.

Other 'findings' of the study were:

Heart-rates can race up to 145 beats per minutes (up from a normal 65); and
  • a defence process known as commuter amnesia, which is the inducement of a trance-like state
  • Edmund King, Executive Director of the RAC Foundation, is sceptical of the study, reckoning that "a fighter pilot has got to be suffering more stress than a normal M6 commuter". He failed to comment on the average M25 or District Line commuter.

    Don't get us wrong, Londonist is all for research which might help to bring to light just how bad commuting in London is, but did it require volunteers with electrodes attached to their heads to find that most commuters turn into zombies once they're on the tube?

    How exactly does one get funding to perform research to see if some commuters get incredibly annoyed when a train gets stuck between stations with nary an explanation or apology from the driver?

    Londonist proposes a follow-up study to see if shopping on Oxford Street on a December Saturday is stressful. All offers of funding are welcome and should be directed to the usual place.

    Last Updated 30 November 2004