Each year in the U.S. over 139 million people spend an average of 26 minutes commuting to work. While the commute is unavoidable for most, the typical stress that comes along with it doesn’t have to be. Here are 6 ways to stop dreading and start loving your commute.
1. Practice Mindful Breathing Exercises
If you’re driving, you won’t be able to close your eyes but you can still participate in mindful breathing exercises. Mindful breathing has proven benefits of boosting mood and decreasing stress. Focusing on breath and being present in the moment makes it easier to let go of tension. Let the stress, anxiety, and negativity go as you breathe deeply. If on a train or bus consider using Spire’s boosts to guide your mindful breathing exercise.
2. Set the Mood With Essential Oils
Your sense of smell can impact mood. Your nose knows best! Try keeping a few small bottles of essential oils in your glove compartment to bring out when traffic frustrates you. Store these scents that boost mood and productivity in your car. Additionally, scents like lavender and lemon contain linalool – a chemical compound with proven calming effects. You don’t need a big vaporizing rig to start the aromatherapy – just open up a bottle of your favorite scent and inhale.
3. Tune Into a Podcast
Get your mind to focus on more interesting topics than traffic by listening to a podcast. The episodic nature of podcasts make it easy to tune in every week for new content. As the popularity of podcasts grows so does the diverse range of subjects available. You will undoubtedly find a podcast that interests you. Don’t know where to start? Catch up on the best podcasts of 2016 or try learning a new subject.
4. Become a Book-Worm
A great book has the power to transport you to a new destination. So instead of waiting in traffic, why not explore different worlds with an engaging audiobook? There are numerous classics available on audio as well as a magnitude of new fiction. Get pumped up for work or start on your personal growth with inspiring works of nonfiction too. You can finally cross off that book on your “to-read” list!
5. Kick Back With Bach (or Mozart)
Before you turn the volume up on that heavy rock station, consider playing classical music instead. Studies have shown that drivers listening to pop or classical music are more relaxed during their drive. Soothing songs have also helped everyone from surgery patients to anxious children relax. So sync up this classical playlist for a smooth ride home.
6. Try a Different Route
Being routinely stuck in traffic can drive you into a mental funk. If you can, change up your commute with a new route or transportation method to break out of bad moods. Challenge yourself to not make any left turns like UPS drivers. Ride your bike to work one day for a health boost. Discover a new neighborhood. Changing up your routine is a great method for sparking creativity and breaking out of a rut.
Realize that your commute is another opportunity for free time during the day. Instead of getting frustrated at traffic, engage your mind with new content or take some time for deep breathing. Once you pick up a new activity for your commute, you might just find yourself looking forward to the trip.