From crawling traffic jams to jabbing elbows on the train platform, busy commutes can steal time from our day, leaving us feeling stressed and negative. But what if we could claw back that time as ours? Psychotherapist Padraig O’Morain, author of Mindfulness On The Go: Peace In Your Pocket, shares a few ways to be mindful during your commute and invite calm and positivity into time spent travelling.
In the car
Ever fall into a trance behind the wheel, arriving at your destination without being able to remember parts of the journey? Use these tips to stay in the moment, step out of that worry or stress-filled trance, and even drive safer.
- Feel the steering wheel. Notice the movement within your hands, feel your feet on the pedals or the movement of the windscreen wipers in the rain
- Notice your body. Check your shoulders and neck for tension that can build up throughout the journey.
- Check the mirrors and notice little details about the road ahead to stay involved in the world around you.
On the train
We often read or listen to music to pass monotonous train commutes, but crowded, hot, and delayed trains can make stress levels soar. Try a short break in between chapters or tracks to stay mindful and calm.
- Look out the window and notice the passing scene as if you are seeing it for your first time to bring yourself back to the present moment.
- Rest your attention on the rhythm and gentle sway of the train.
- Focus on your breathing. On a crowded train this can give us a welcome sense of space.
In the queue
When we are in a rush, eager to get on with work or home for the evening, a queue can be infuriating. But we all have to queue at one time or another, so why not try and see it as useful time to practice mindfulness and curb your impatience.
- Notice how difficult it is not to pass judgment on the person holding up the queue or the organisation who is making you wait, and see how quick that part of us jumps to those feelings. Notice your stomach muscles and shoulders tense up. It’s a great opportunity to train ourselves to be less reactive to minor events.
- Lightly put your awareness on your breath, on the soles of your feet and the tightness in your stomach. Observe the negative thoughts and try not to get caught up in their grumblings.
Mindfulness On The Go: Peace In Your Pocket by Padraig O’Morain is published by Yellow Kite, priced £12.99).
Picture: plainpicture/Christian Schoppe
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