Be Mindful During Your Commute
Commuting. Standing on a crowded train, feeling like a sardine packed in a tin. Sitting in traffic, surrounded by aggressive, impatient drivers and trying to keep your cool. The lack of control we feel when we are running late and there’s nothing we can do about it. We feel the stress boiling in our bodies. We know that the time spent commuting is time away from our families, friends and our own personal rejuvenation time. By the time we get home, we are exhausted and spent.
Most of the time, the way we deal with the congestion and nervous energy is by going on auto-pilot. We mindlessly scroll through our Facebook newsfeeds. We turn to coffee, alcohol or smoking to help take the edge off. We even play silly games that we hardly find fun on our mobile phones just to pass the time. Are any of these coping mechanisms helping us sharpen the mind, feel more confident, be more creative or experience real joy? Probably not.
The stress of commuting day in and day out continues to build up in our bodies. However, whether we let this stress affect us is a decision we ultimately control. Here are some mindfulness tips to help you start to view your commute as an opportunity to find some mindfulness amongst the chaos:
- Listen to an inspirational or thought provoking podcast. There are endless options, but some of my favorites are: TED Radio hour, HBR IdeaCast, Radiolab, Planet Money, The Moth, Stuff You Should Know, The Recovery 2.0 Power Hour with Tommy Rosen and What I Wore When
- Mindful breathing. Challenge yourself to take a breath in for 10 seconds and exhale out for 10 seconds. Eventually, try to work your way up to inhaling for 30 seconds and exhale for 30 so that would be one breath a minute like a real yogi
- Smile. Maybe even make eye contact with someone who doesn’t look like they are having the best day, and let your radiant smile try to uplift them
- Close your eyes and begin thinking about all that you are grateful for. Count your blessings as you slowly inhale and exhale.
- Turn off the news
- Limit your mindless mobile browsing. Put your phone back in your pocket or purse for a while and resist the urge to pull it back out
We all know that in an ideal world, we would use our commuting time to further enrich ourselves. So why not start now? I recommend picking at least one tactic above to start, and trying to commit to it for 40 days. What’s the worst that can happen?