You overslept and are running late for work. After a frantic search for the car keys, you jump into your cold car and put pedal to the metal, determined to make it to the office on time. Along the way, you shout expletives at drivers who cut you off, slow down at green lights, block your way or simply get on your goat. Flustered, you turn up the radio while applying a smear of lipstick and honking your horn at a dawdling pedestrian. A happy commute? Not likely.
If your morning commute sounds similar, it’s time to step away from the horn and read our top tips for a happier, stress-free commute.
How to Have a Stress-free Commute
1. Meditate before you go
Meditation is the perfect stress reliever and can help you set a calm mindset before you leave the house. Consider waking up half an hour or an hour earlier to sit in solitude and set your intention for your commute.
2. Consider using public transport
Psychology professor Meni Koslowsky from Bar-IIan University in Israel reckons driving to work makes us more stressed. Why? Because we feel out of control when traffic prevents us from getting to work. Catching a bus or train, however, requires you to give up control over your commute, so you’re less likely to get stressed by delays.
3. Switch on something slow
Breakfast radio can be fast-paced and filled with shouting ads. Try listening to calmer tunes such as meditation tracks or even a talking book.
4. Carpool with a colleague
Chatting with others on your way to work can prove a distraction from hectic traffic. It’s also a win for the environment and means fewer cars on the road, which improves traffic flow.
5. Change your working hours
Ask your boss if you can start work earlier or later to avoid rush hour. You may even be able to negotiate working from home, to give you a weekly break from commuting. If you explain to your manager that the aim is to reduce your stress levels, they may be more inclined to agree.
6. Try a more scenic route
Forget the stop-start chaos and opt for a more chilled-out route to work. It might seem meandering, but you may find that it’s in fact a lot faster during rush hour to drive via the back streets. Plus, the scenery might help you relax that little bit more.
The next time you head out the door, consider these six tips for preventing commuter stress. You may just find that your entire working day improves as a result.Originally published on Feb 13, 2013