I get it, most people hate their commutes. Especially if they’re long and involve serious traffic. It can feel like your life is slipping through your fingers while you sit in your car, day after day, just hoping the car in front of you might move up 10 inches. It only gets worse when you thought you gave yourself more than enough time, but now you have a meeting or train you’re almost sure to miss while you sit in traffic. The question becomes, do you want to be miserable during your commute, or find ways to sit back, relax and enjoy your daily travel time? The following are five ways to use your commute time to productively relax.
Find beauty. Have you ever considered how much beauty is around you? I have seen so many gorgeous sunsets and sunrises, trees, mountains and cityscapes while commuting. Be open to it. Instead of focusing on the traffic keeping you from getting into the city, notice the outline all the different buildings create against the skyline.
Practice gratitude. This is a great time to practice appreciating all you have to be grateful for. Not only will it take your mind off all of the unpleasant traffic related thoughts you may be having but gratitude has scientifically been shown to have a host of benefits. It doesn’t take much to access, try simply listing off the top 10 things you are thankful for today (your family, having a job, your morning latte, etc.).
Ask yourself, “What is great about this?” It’s easy to get caught up in what isn’t great about any less than ideal situation. Looking for the positives is a great way to shift your perspective. Maybe you have time to listen to music you wouldn’t get to otherwise. Maybe its just having time to be with yourself or having time to call and touch base with a friend.
Recite a mantra. If you have a practice of saying mantras or affirmations, the car is a great place for them. In the morning you have the space to set out what you want for the day. The evening commute is a great time to set out your intentions for your family or self time and transition your mindset.
Meditate. Quiet your mind and focus on your breath. See if you can quiet all of your thoughts about what happened earlier and what will happen later and simply be present right here, right now in this very moment. Note that I don’t recommend going into a deep state while driving or watching for your stop on the train.
Dance. Next time you are in standstill traffic glance at the drivers around you. How many of them are gripping their steering wheels? Wouldn’t it be much more fun to turn on the radio and dance? Now, I only recommend this in standstill traffic, but it’s a great way to release stress and appreciate the moment.