I believe that you now know how to use the power of mindfulness to manage work-related stress. Let now talk about how to use your commute to strengthen the state of mindfulness.
Most of us spend around 2-5 hours of our day commuting from one place to another. That means we have at least 2 hours, if not more, to practice mindfulness and live in the present moment.
Practicing mindfulness during a commute may seem impossible to you right now, especially if you drive yourself. But I promise that if you continue reading, you will find out how incredibly easy it is.
Here’s what you need to do:
#: Pay attention to the ride
If you take the subway or bus to work or any other place, you don’t have to worry about driving. You can simply sit back in your seat, relax, and pay attention to the ride. Let me remind you something:
Nurturing mindfulness is not about breathing deeply or tuning into your body at all times. It is about merely grasping hold of the moment and observing whatever comes with it with an accepting, nonjudgmental mind.
If you are riding the train to another city that’s 2 hours away, pay attention to your ride and observe it. Observe the seats and ambiance, the nature of the journey, your feet as they rest on the floor, etc.
While paying attention to these aspects, do so slowly and consciously. If you are feeling the texture of the seat, feel it mindfully before moving your attention to something else. Use this approach to train your mind to observe your journey experiences.
#: Drive mindfully
Driving is one of the tasks many of us do on autopilot mode, which, yes, helps us do it smoothly. However, at the same time, allows our monkey state of mind a chance to take control of our thought processes.
If your car is your primary mode of commute, you can still use your commute as a chance to instill mindfulness.
While driving, we often start planning our tasks for the next day. We even start worrying about important projects lined up for the week, or recalling memories, many of which are painful.
Doing this may seem to reduce the commute time, but what it does best is increase stress. Instead of doing that, drive more mindfully by bringing your attention to the act of driving.
Become mindful of how the steering wheel feels in your hands. Notice the motion of the car as it turns to the left when you turn the wheel in that direction. Become aware of your feet as they move between the accelerator and brake pedals. Notice how you shift from one gear to the other once you’re on the highway.
It will take many attempts before you become wholly aware of these moves. However, when you do, you will be more mindful of the entire process and shall enjoy the drive more.
When you drive mindfully, you anchor yourself to the moment, relish that experience and become grateful for the ability to drive.
#: Enjoy the view
Whether you are driving or riding the bus, it is natural to catch a glimpse of the view outside. When that happens, instead of diverting your attention from the view, absorb everything as mindfully as possible.
If you are moving past a beautiful valley, observe the lush green fields and enjoy the scenery. While on the highway, with one car after another zooming past you, observe them and notice their colors. If you see billboards along the way, notice the signs and symbols.
While observing the views, defocus from any preconceived notions that pop up in your head. If you see a billboard with Kim Kardashian, and you aren’t a fan, avoid labeling it as a “lousy billboard.”
Instead, breathe in deeply and then replace that thought with a calming one. For instance, you can say, “To each his own,” or “I accept everything that comes with the moment.” Doing this keeps you from nurturing a judgmental state of mind, thereby allowing you to become more mindful.
#: Engage in mindfulness exercises
If you are not driving, use your commute time, to engage in mindfulness and meditative exercises.
You can close your eyes, take deep breaths, and watch your breath. Alternatively, chant a calming mantra, or engage your five senses in the experience and observe it mindfully. You can even engage in body scan meditation by observing your body and relaxing different body parts to alleviate stress.
Once you reach your workplace or home, you are likely to have many tasks to tend to and complete. Why not use your commute time as a chance to relax your stressed mind and body, and become more mindful?
A mindful mind does not wait for space to be conscious. It creates that space by choosing to live in the moment that is. You can do that by using your commute time and any other time, as a chance to be mindful:
In my book – How To Be Mindful Of Thoughts: Steps To Achieving Mindfulness And Living In The Moment (Buddha on the Inside Book 3), I discuss various other approaches you can use to increase mindfulness. Get your copy and see your productivity at work increase rapidly.
Written with beginners in mind, It will teach you:
- The basics of mindfulness, including what it really is, what it entails, how it works and more
- Why you need to nurture mindfulness
- How mindfulness and leadership coexist
- How to transform your life with different mindfulness techniques
- How to observe your thoughts, manage your emotions and feel good with mindfulness-based meditative techniques
- How to make mindfulness part of your everyday life to derive all its benefits
…And so much more!
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