A long or stressful commute – and the negative thoughts to go along with it – can carry over into the rest of your day or social life. Some of us were still commuting throughout the pandemic, while others haven’t commuted in a long time and getting back into the swing of things can be tough. But what a lot of people don’t realise is that your commute can be a great opportunity for mindfulness. So, prepare yourself by positively directing your energy. Try any of the following tips while you’re en route to keep stress at bay and make the most of your day.
Brain at work
Public transport is the perfect time for a brainstorm session. Put your phone or laptop away and try looking out the window for inspiration or just to let your mind wander. Enjoy the silence and follow your thoughts and ideas. Who knows, you may stumble onto a brilliant idea that could boost your day.
Box breathing beats stress
If the tension is getting to you, try conscious breathing techniques, like box breathing. Close your eyes and inhale through your nose for four seconds, hold your breath for another four counts, then exhale for four and hold again for four. Repeat for a few rounds or until you feel a little more relaxed. This helps to tell your body that you’re calm and in control, and will help lower any stress levels. Place your hand on your belly and become aware of your breath as it enters and leaves your body. If you need more help to keep you focused and calm, try meditating with your favourite meditation app, such as the Rituals app, Calm or Headspace. Choose a suitable guided meditation, however long you like, and just listen.
Books and journals
Another great way to spend your commute is with a book. Truly use this time to focus on the narrative and let the story take you places. If you have enough room while you’re in transit, start writing in a journal as this will help you get a clear head. Either write a checklist of things you’d like to get done that day or take the time to jot down what you’re grateful for.
Get inspiration from the spoken word
For those with a more active commute, like a car ride or bike ride, consider listening to some inspirational or educational podcasts or audiobooks. There’s no better way to use your time than giving your skills and mindset a boost with new information and ideas. The Emma Guns Show is hosted by journalist Emma Gunavardhana and has a wealth of episodes covering different topics from unlocking your potential to learning to love yourself.
It’s all in the posture
Your body can be a direct reflection of your state of mind, so stretch it out to help relieve any anxiety you may be feeling and get some blood pumping. Try some simple seated calf raises or roll your shoulders up to your ears and back down with every breath. And remember, always think about your posture and sit up straight.
Keep calm and carry on
We’ll leave you with a final tip. Whenever someone cuts you off in the street or acts selfishly on a metro or train, just try to let it go. You will gain nothing from yelling or becoming angry at another driver or passenger. It will only leave you feeling upset or stressed. Breathe in, breathe out, and let it roll right off you.