For many people their daily car commute to work, school or other places is a major source of stress. There is not much we can do with the ever increasing traffic jams and “bad drivers”! We can however learn to drive mindfully with less judgement and more acceptance. This will help reduce stress, boost our health and arrive at our destination in a more relaxed and productive state.
“Your Car Commute Is a Chance to Practice Mindfulness”
I would like to simply reblog this post from Harvard Business Review as I find it quite complementary to my previous post ‘Life is better when you live “in” the moment, not “for” the moment‘ and a practical example everyone can try for themselves.
By the way this also applies to commuting to work on public transport. You can practice mindfulness in a train or a bus; or even riding your bicycle to work.
Below you see just a quote from the actual post which I encourage you to read in full by clicking here.
For those who drive to work, the daily commute is often a tense time of bumper-to-bumper gridlock, erratic and dangerous driving, delays, road closures, and construction. And best of all, we get to do it twice a day. Concerned about wasting time, we often try to catch up on all the “little” things we think we can do while stuck in traffic or at a red light – jotting down to-do lists or reading email.
I’d argue that there’s a better use of your daily commute: practicing mindfulness.
…if you don’t make a habit of living consciously in the present moment, you are missing out on life… your life.
By training yourself to remain in the present moment, you train yourself to avoid unconscious thinking. This frees up a great deal of energy, allowing your brain to become more creative and effective once you resume conscious thinking. You will have more mental firepower left for planning, figuring things out, and solving problems. It’s as if by giving your mind a break you are able to tap into a deeper intelligence within yourself.
To use your daily driving commute to help you practice conscious thinking and improve your mindfulness, start by getting into the car and acknowledging the intention that you aspire to be mindful during the commute. Take a few deep breaths. Once buckled up, but before you start to drive, become aware of your body. Feel your hands on the steering wheel, the contour of your body on the seat, your foot on the pedal. Make an effort to be aware of the body and feel present. Start to drive and notice that you are “looking” as you drive: through your windshield, into your mirrors. Now become aware that you are “listening.” Notice the sounds you hear.
The idea is that you are continuously aware of three things: your body, what you see, and what you hear. This is what it is to be mindfully present as you drive. Do your best to stay present for the entire commute.