I think that all crafters, and knitters, in particular, revert to form when stressed, and dive in to their chosen form of artistic expression. To me, nothing relieves tension like spindles or pointy needles.
When choosing a knitting project to get you through a crisis, there are a few things you may want to consider
1. Choose something that you can put down if interrupted. I am working on the 10 Shawls in 2010 challange on Ravelry, and cast on a shawl just to work on when taking my Mom to doctor's offices and sitting in the hospital. It is something that I can set aside if needed
2. Choose a project that requires little counting and brain power. I opted for stockinette, and soothing. My project only requires counting on two out of every twenty rows.
3. Pick something that you can wash. My project can take a gentle soak in warm water and soap. Cotton may have been a better choice, or even superwash wool.
Basically, when I am looking for a project to get me for a crisis, I go for easy, soothing and portable.