7½ ways to enjoy your metro Atlanta commute

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet?

Metro Atlantans are driving more: In 2014, commuters sat in nearly 150 million hours of traffic, compared to almost 140 million hours five years ago.

While the Northwest Corridor and the proposed $8 billion MARTA expansion could ease some driving stress, there are things you can do immediately to tolerate, and even look forward to, your commute:

1. Leave early: Metro Atlanta traffic is unpredictable — one day your commute is 30 minutes, the next, two hours. Allow yourself an extra 15 minutes to take away some of the anxiety of running late.

2. Know what you're getting into: Use resources like Waze, real-time traffic updates and commuter information so that you can plan accordingly for road conditions.

3. Pass the time: Instead of stressing about the sea of brake lights, get away (if only in your mind) by listening to your favorite podcast. Or, catch up on your "reading" with an audio book.

4. Unplug: We're constantly bombarded with text messages, social media updates and other stimuli throughout the day. Turn off and put away all devices. Enjoy the silence, or the company of your commute companions.

5. Let someone else take the wheel: Although sprawl leaves many of us confined to our cars, consider riding MARTA or joining a carpool. Use this hands-free time to catch up on the latest news. Or, mentally prepare yourself for the workday by meditating.

6. Two-wheel it: Not only is biking a healthy commute option, but it could also make you a happier.

7. Consider a location-efficient neighborhood: Living in an area that is conveniently accessible to jobs, transit and other amenities can reduce trip times. How about one of these neighborhoods?

7½. Get over it: It can always be worse — snow jam, anyone?