“After leaving Egypt, Moses and his people endured a forty-year commute, starting with a truly epic crossing of the Red Sea (which made getting through the Lincoln Tunnel at rush hour seem like traipsing across a country bridge in a sundress on a spring afternoon).” – @BikeSnobNYC
The vast majority of us enjoy a commute on a regular basis. Commuting can be quite a pleasant affair, if it involves a gentle drive through rolling hills, a leisurely walk down the road or a picturesque cycle along a canal. However, some, especially if you live in a city, are not so predisposed to be enjoyable journeys. A crammed train, bumpy bus or a guaranteed traffic jam as part of your regular journey to work are not quite as fun to put up with on a daily basis, but they can be made to feel a bit less of a struggle.
Everything we do, everywhere we go, there is always something to appreciate. Gratitude is a humbling way to lift one’s mood. Even if the experience you are having is not altogether enjoyable, there is always something there that you can be grateful for… you just have to have a good look for it sometimes. The daily commute is no different. There are plenty of things to appreciate, be grateful for and enjoy during your trips to and from work, like these, for example…
1. People Watching
I often do this as a way of passing the time on a train. I plug my headphones in, listen to a tune or two, and consider the others around me. This helps me to avoid the mind-numbing instinct I have to lose myself in some nonsense on my phone, and feel some connection wit the world around me (this is especially important on a day when I am due to stare into a computer for most of it).
Every person is a story. They all have reasons for being on this commute, they have thoughts of their own, a vast variety of jobs, hopes, worries and impulses. It is good to dwell and ponder on the lives of others as opposed to your own current situation. This increases your connection to the world, stops you from focussing on the dullness or irritation caused by your journey, and puts your mind in a positive, cognitive and creative place going into your work-day.
2. You Are Fortunate
Whatever mode of transport you take, it is undeniable that you are in luck. As tedious as traffic is, as hot as crowded trains can get, as abruptly as some bus drivers use their breaks, we should still consider how amazing and miraculous our transport systems are. We are fortunate to be living in one of the most developed countries in the world, with some of the most advanced transport systems. It is something to be thankful for… pitfalls aside!
Furthermore from point 2, how good is technology these days? I am not just referring to the fantastic distractions we have to help us through our journeys; tablets, apps, games, music and laptops. I am also referring to the technology we now have in our vehicles that make our journeys ever more enjoyable and comfortable. Air conditioning, high speed trains, heated car seats and digital timetabling; these are just a few of the developments from the last 20 years that are easy to take for granted. Take a moment to consider how cool all of that is!
4. Your Rituals
There are certain parts of London that I know very well. The reason I know, for example, Regent Street and Soho area of London so well is because I used to work there. One of the small pleasures I used to take from my commute was knowing the little nooks and crannies of the streets. There were shortcuts that I felt only I knew about, and I would use these to make my journey a little quicker and quieter… away from the bustle and congestion of the main streets. It was a small pleasure, but I enjoyed it. Perhaps you have a few similar moments in your commute… a shortcut, a hidden secret footpath, a handy piece of commuting knowledge. Cherish these moments. Feel good about the fact that they not only uplift you, but reinforce your connection with the world that you live in.
By Chris Thomson
Not only will appreciating your commute help your mood, but preparing to make the whole thing more comfortable might also help. Control your commute… don’t let your commute control you! More here: Tips for A More Comfortable Commute
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