How to have a mindful commute with Jody Shield
It will come as no surprise that a recent study found commuting is getting longer and longer with rail passengers spending on average 2 hours a day on the train and drivers an average of 52 minutes in their cars.
With the holiday season upon us, a time when we rely even more heavily on public transport and often find ourselves stuck in Friday evening traffic, we caught up with mindfulness expert Jody Shield to find out how we can use mindfulness to keep us calm and collected.
It’s easy to miss what’s happening right now in this moment. We’re locked into either the future, worrying about what’s going to happen, or the past, obsessing over what’s already happened. When we’re like this, we miss the life unfolding before our eyes. Before or after your journey, take 5 minutes in a quiet space to practice presence. Inhale deeply into your body and hold it for seven counts, then release it and exhale. Repeat this another six times, so you do it seven times in total.
BE MORE GRATEFUL
Consistently expressing gratitude for everything in your life alters your energetic biochemistry because when you’re grateful you release endorphins, which flow around your system and boost you from the inside out. Driving is a great time to practice this because we’re usually in a quiet environment and often on our own, so it’s perfect for being in your own thoughts and using that to be more mindful. It’s easy to brush this off, forget to do it or only do it from time to time, but if you make it a commitment and a constant practice it’ll become a part of your life. Do it on-the-go, in the car, on the commute and anywhere you need a boost!
PUT YOUR POSITIVE PANTS ON
Words are energy and using positive words in your vocabulary is like music to the soul. Using more positive words instantly raises your vibes and pings you up into glory state. Examples include: happiness, joy, expansion, rejoicing, celebration, harmony, nourishment, powerfulness, richness, abundance. Experiment to find out which words make you feel high. Notice the words that resonate with you and make a list. Stick it somewhere you’ll notice it to remind you!
TAPPING YOUR COLLARBONE
Many people can find the daily commute a stressful experience and can often find themselves feeling anxious when traveling in extremely busy environments. A top tip to instantly calm down nerves is tapping your collarbone. First, you identify your writing hand, softly clench your fist and then gently tap on your collar bones. This action sends neutralising signals to the fight-or-flight response part of your brain which can calm you down straight away. Use this tactic while in the car, walking on packed streets, or a congested train station.
Before driving or commuting during peak periods, allocate 5 minutes prior to your journey to ‘mentally prepare’. Do this by inhaling deeply into your body and hold it for seven counts, then release it and exhale. Repeat this another six times and you’ll have relieved your mind from focusing on any initial stress or tension anything you initially thought of as stressful. This tip works best before a hectic car journey or as you wait for your train on the platform.
PLUG IN YOUR HEADPHONES
Many feel anxious having to immediately step into a tight, compact space which will inevitably shift your energy and perception around the experience you are currently having. To avoid getting too anxious in the car or on your commute listening to music with a rhythm of 60 to 80 BPM slows down the activity in your nervous system, which will help decrease anxiety and lower blood pressure. Alternatively, use this travel time to listen to podcasts that discuss your top interests – this will have you distracted from your busy environment, right away!