Conscious Commuting: Making Time for Mindfulness Throughout Free Moments

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One criticism about mindfulness I hear again-and-again is “Steve, I simply don’t have time to be conscious.”

Hey, I get it!

The concept of slowing down and “having fun with the second” appears at odds with the concept of being productive. And I like productiveness.

How Making Time for Mindfulness Improves Productiveness

It’s simple to suppose that making time for mindfulness would make you much less productive. However this isn’t actually true.

The reality of the matter is that taking breaks and pondering mindfully really provides your mind time to get better and will increase your productiveness. Your thoughts wants a break.

Mindfulness will increase productiveness by:

  • Consolidating reminiscences and bettering studying (supply)
  • Reigniting motivation (supply)
  • Decreases choice fatigue (supply)
  • Assist hold you centered when you’re working (supply)
  • Decreasing work associated stress (supply)
  • Improves psychological and bodily well being (supply)

Clearly there are numerous good causes so as to add some mindfulness into your every day life.

However typically the sheer quantity of the way to be conscious appears daunting. Not too way back I wrote a put up: 71 Mindfulness Workout routines for Dwelling within the Current Second. The concept of this put up was to provide a big quantity of concepts folks may cherry decide for methods so as to add extra mindfulness into their every day lives.

However nonetheless I heard the criticism. “If I comply with these 71 mindfulness workout routines I can’t have any time to dwell my life.


Whereas I used to be by no means advocating including each single mindfulness train right into a every day routine. I made a decision to put in writing one other mindfulness put up that featured methods to be conscious in these free moments of time. The instances when you don’t have anything else occurring. Driving to work. Taking a bus, practice or airplane. Strolling.

Earlier than we dig into the precise conscious actions that may show you how to be extra conscious in your free moments. Let’s make certain we’re all on the identical web page. Whereas this put up isn’t written for mindfulness specialists. I do assume that anybody studying this put up has at the very least heard about mindfulness.

If the idea of mindfulness is new to you. (or you possibly can use a refresher) I recommend you learn: What’s Mindfulness? to rise up to hurry or take a look at this assessment of the Grokker app if you would like to construct a strong mindfulness apply.

NOTE: Mindfulness is an train. Similar to operating or hitting the health club. Besides it targets the thoughts relatively than the physique.

Which means that doing an excessive amount of of it with out creating a routine can put on you out. You probably have a protracted method to journey you do not want to spend your entire journey “being conscious” apply 5-10 minutes of the journey on mindfulness, then let your self hearken to your music, podcast or different distractions for some time.

Let’s get to it.

Why Conscious Commuting Can Be So Essential

Jonathon Haidt, in his ebook Happiness Speculation (hyperlink to ebook & image of ebook on aspect right here), identified the issue with commuting. He famous {that a} lengthy commute is among the main stressors in life that all the time decreases happiness. As he stated,

Many individuals select to maneuver farther away from their jobs in search of a bigger home. However though folks rapidly adapt to having extra space, they don’t totally adapt to the longer commute, notably if it includes driving in heavy visitors. Even after years of commuting, these whose commutes are visitors stuffed nonetheless arrive at work with greater ranges of stress hormones.”

Commuting will all the time be a stressor.

The simple reply is to dwell nearer to work, retaining your commute quick. However typically we don’t select to dwell distant for our personal happiness, however for the happiness and wellbeing of our youngsters and partner. So what could be completed about this catch-22? How will we improve our happiness when sensible issues imply we will need to have a journey time?

The reply is conscious commuting and discovering time for mindfulness in these spare free moments of your life.

Conscious Commute: Working towards Mindfulness Whereas Driving

I’ve an issue.

I’m usually a really calm and easy-going man. It takes quite a bit to actually make me mad.

However by some means driving a automotive adjustments that…

Individuals minimize me off. Tailgate. Drive to sluggish. Drive to quick. Discuss on the telephone whereas driving. And usually, act like they need to haven’t any proper to drive a automotive.

This stresses me out. It makes me very offended. I’m going rapidly from delicate mannered Bruce Banner to the unimaginable Hulk.

Isn’t highway rage a fantastic factor?

This is the reason I like working towards mindfulness whereas driving. It retains the anger and stress at bay. It makes driving a much more nice expertise. Relatively than ending a 45-minute drive wired, offended and upset. I finish my drive feeling refreshed and able to work.

When driving, it’s simple to tune issues out and get misplaced in thought. Your autopilot takes over and by some means you get the place you’re going safely.

Conscious driving is about being current throughout your drive. It’s simple to spend a drive obsessing over the previous. Worrying concerning the future. Or pondering over the issues we did in the course of the day. Conscious driving takes us away from these obsessive ideas and provides us an opportunity to benefit from the world we live in.

Drive Mindfully

WARNING: Mindfulness can typically make folks sleepy. The aim of conscious driving is to be centered, calm, alert and relaxed. If you end up getting sleepy -stop the apply. Flip in your radio, podcast or audiobook and get up.

(Keep in mind Security First!)

  • If you get within the automotive take a couple of deep measured breaths. (See lung workout routines.)
  • Flip off your radio. Preserve your telephone on silence. Remove all potential distractions when you drive.
  • Take a second to note the silence and your environment within the automotive.
  • As you drive pay additional consideration to your environment. Conserving your eyes all the time on the highway (security first) discover your environment along with your peripheral visions. Discover the sights, sounds and surroundings of your drive.
  • Concentrate on the bodily expertise of driving. Your palms on the steering wheel. What it seems like sitting in your seat. The texture of the contact along with your pedals.
  • Discover the opposite bodily sensations of your physique. Pressure in your shoulders. Headache from a traumatic day. Tightness in your hips out of your lunchtime train. Will your physique to calm down and let go of the stress, ache and stress.
  • If somebody cuts you off otherwise you get caught in visitors discover the sentiments this brings (frustration, anger, competitiveness, nervousness, stress). Determine the feelings and perceive why you’re feeling them. Many instances, merely understanding why you’re feeling a adverse emotion will show you how to to cease being adverse.
  • If you cease for visitors, a cease signal, a lightweight or a crosswalk take a second and run by a fast deep respiratory ritual. Only a few easy deep calming breathes.
  • Any time your thoughts wanders, gently pull your perspective again to the current. Our thoughts naturally jumps from topic-to-topic. In response to scientists the typical individual thinks as many as 50,000 various things daily. That is our monkey thoughts. You’ll be able to’t cease it fully throughout conscious driving since it’s worthwhile to let a lot of your thoughts free to give attention to really driving. However should you discover your thoughts is straying -bring it again.

Extra Strategies of Conscious Driving

If working towards mindfulness dulls your alertness when driving, or in case you are completed with a session of mindfulness, there may be extra that you are able to do to maintain calm and centered throughout your drive. This strategies if mainly about listening to one thing that may calm you down and cut back stress.

Meditation and Mindfulness Apps. The mindfulness apps listed on this put up equivalent to Headspace, Smiling Thoughts, Calm, and so on. are a good way to assist discover some calm even when you’re caught in a sea of visitors. We additionally reviewed a number of enlightenment apps on this put up.

Mindfulness and Meditation Podcasts. Podcasts have way more diverse content material than the apps. They’re most likely even higher suited to a grueling commute. Your thoughts will ease and calm itemizing to a few of these nice podcasts.

Different podcasts or audiobooks. Whereas different kinds of podcasts and audiobooks will not be objective pushed to ease your thoughts, they do have that impact. Listening to a great ebook or listening to an attention-grabbing podcast or any kind will show you how to to calm your thoughts and make the journey appear much less traumatic. It will not be “mindfulness” precisely. However hey, something that does the trick works in my ebook.

Conscious Journey: Working towards Mindfulness Whereas on a Airplane, Practice, Bus or as a Passenger

A commute/journey is among the finest instances to apply mindfulness. It’s lifeless time anyway. There may be solely a lot work you possibly can really accomplish on a practice, airplane, bus, or automotive (as a passenger). However it is vitally simple to make use of a little bit of your journey time to deliver your self to the “now” with some conscious pondering.

The risks of conscious journey as a passenger are far lower than that of driving, however they nonetheless exist, so are worthy of acknowledging. Mindfulness makes you calm down. This might trigger you to sleep which may make you susceptible to theft or miss your cease. So if meditation makes you sleepy, proceed with warning.

Be Conscious Whereas on a Airplane, Practice, Bus or Passenger

  1. Choose an object to give attention to. Stare at it whereas prepared your physique to calm down.
  2. Do a psychological stock of your physique. Discover any ache, discomfort, rigidity or tightness. Will your extremities to calm down and let go of the ache and rigidity.
  3. Tune out distractions. Concentrate on a impartial sound, just like the sound of the engine or passing autos and tune out conversations, music and different distractions.
  4. Focus in your respiratory. Discover your breathe patterns and deliberately make your respiratory deeper, with slower exhales. Develop a sample to your respiratory. Arrange a rely to your respiratory may also help this. For instance, a sluggish 2 rely in inward breathes and a sluggish 3 rely on exhales.
  5. Focus your thoughts on the current second and the way you’re feeling. For those who thoughts wander (and it’ll) deliver it again by taking note of your respiratory.
  6. Preserve this course of up for 5-10 minutes of your commute. You’ll be able to set a watch or app to provide you a discover when your time is full.
  7. As soon as you’re completed go forward and do no matter you’d usually do to fill the time throughout your journey. Learn a great ebook. Get some work completed. Take heed to your favourite podcast or audiobook.
  8. If it’s a lengthy journey, repeat this course of for five -10 minutes each hour to maintain your self a bit calmer.

Conscious Strolling: A Quick Mindfulness Follow When Strolling from Place-to-Place

Perhaps working towards mindfulness throughout your commute isn’t for you. That doesn’t imply you can’t discover a method to match some mindfulness into your journey. You’ll be able to merely apply conscious strolling (aka strolling meditation).

Merely park your automotive distant out of your vacation spot. The objective is to have a 5-10 minute stroll in an space that isn’t a harmful car parking zone. 5 minute plus stroll on a sidewalk or path as you head towards work is ideal.

Then merely comply with most of the steps out of your conscious commuting. Tune out distractions. Focus in your physique and its emotions. Follow your respiratory.

To search out out extra concepts that can assist you in conscious strolling take a look at this text on Conscious Meditation.

Remaining Phrases On Mindfulness and Commuting

A protracted every day commute is hell. It’s unlikely, even with working towards mindfulness that you’re going to get by it, each single day, with no stress in any respect.

However taking a couple of minutes to apply mindfulness throughout your journey will ease your stress to some extent. It’s making the very best of a foul state of affairs.

Attempt to apply mindfulness each single day throughout your commute for per week. See the way it makes you’re feeling. Does it cut back your stress? If it does, make it a apply. Like something, mindfulness is a apply. The extra you place into it, the extra you get again.

If you wish to study extra about working towards mindfulness I encourage you to take a look at my ebook: 10-Minute Mindfulness: 71 Habits for Dwelling within the Current Second

Lastly, in order for you a easy method to cut back your stress and nervousness, then attempt writing these 35 mindfulness journaling prompts to dwell extra within the current second.


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