While smartphones have arguably made our commutes more enjoyable, whichever method of transport you use to get to work, we all have to contend with the stress of crowds, rushing and too many red lights.
Australians spent 4.4 hours a week, or 53 minutes a day, traveling to and from work, according to research. That's a long time sitting in traffic and on public transport.
One way to diffuse the stress and start your day in a better way is to commute mindfully, says Rachael Kable, meditation teacher and author of The Mindful Kind. You’ve heard about being mindful (which really means paying attention in a non-judgemental way) as a way to feel happier and calmer in life – here's how to practice it on your daily journey to and from work.
Do the ‘Notice Something New Challenge’
Each time you commute to work, set yourself the challenge to notice something new. It could be a house you’ve never looked at before, a street name, the shape of leaves on a tree, a shop or an animal.
Allow yourself to create the habit of paying attention to the world around you and exploring it with your eyes. If you feel like there aren't enough new things to notice, or you’d like a change, then see if you can commute to work a different way! It may take a little longer but it might also provide a richer experience.
Use this pocket of time to practice gratitude
The commute is a fantastic time to practice reframing your thoughts. As you begin your commute, try setting the intention to acknowledge and appreciate all the good things n your life, even things you might normally take for granted:
- Being able to use safe public transport
- The weather
- Hearing your favourite song on the radio if you’re driving to work
- Having some time to yourself
- Arriving a little bit early
Anything you can feel a spark of gratitude for!
This is an edited extract from The Mindful Kind, by Rachael Kable published by ABC Books and now available in all good bookstores and online. Find out more at rachaelkable.com