How To Meditate During Your Commute So You Can Shed The Stress Of The Day
If you typically ride the subway to and from work, then you know it's all too easy to grow to resent your commute. From the overcrowded, smelly subway cars, to the constant delays between stops, that time spent in transit can make you want to tear your own eyes out, especially after a stressful day at work. That's why learning how to meditate on your commute is an absolute game-changer, not only for finding those foolproof ways to calm your mind at the end of a hectic day, but also for making it through the mess that is your daily commute without totally imploding.
The next time you hop on the subway during rush hour, take a look around at everyone on the train with you. Most people probably have their heads down, immersed in the mindless act of scrolling through their phones to check social media (and hey, you may even be guilty of that, too). And though the habit might seem harmless, checking your phone all the time may contribute to anxiety, according to ABC News.
Incorporating a mindfulness practice into your daily commute, rather than amping up your mental stress through smartphone scrolling, is a great way to let go of any stress you've built up during the work day, or even the frustrations that are inevitably stirred up from those major #SubwayStruggles.
What's more, if you've been telling yourself for a while that you're going to start meditating, but your excuse has been that you "don't have enough time," your commute might be the ideal window of opportunity you've been looking for to kickstart your practice. Here are six ways you can meditate on your daily commute that will have you feeling cool, calm, and collected in no time.
1. Use A Guided Meditation App
Popping in your earbuds and making use of a guided meditation app is an amazing way to totally bliss out during your daily commute. Meditation apps such as Calm or Headspace have a bunch of different options for practicing mindfulness, so you can check in with how you're feeling and cater your practice to your emotional state on any given day.
Since you're probably a pro at knowing when your stop comes up, you can choose a specific amount of time you want to set your meditation for, close your eyes, and tune TF out until it's time for you to get off the train. Those 20 minutes of subway time never seemed so blissful, right?
2. Immerse Yourself In A Good Book
You might be skeptical of this suggestion, since reading isn't really a form of meditation, right? Well, according to The New York Times, you can actually be incredibly mindful while you immerse yourself in a great book, and the simple act of flipping the pages and filling your brain with meaningful words can be very meditative, all on its own.
Make sure to pack a good book for when you're commuting each day — i.e. something that helps you escape from the stress or tension of the day, like a great piece of fiction, or a wild sci-fi story. You can even try highlighting passages in one of your favorite books, and picking one to think about during your subway ride. Dissecting the words and applying them to your own life will help you stay mindful and present.
3. Practice A Breathing Technique
If you've never thought that much about your breath and how it affects your body, your commute home is a great window of time to start tuning in.
When you're stressed in general, your breathing becomes shorter and more shallow. However, you have control over this, and you can make yourself feel significantly more relaxed, simply by implementing some meditative breathing techniques into your commute.
Start by taking deep, full, belly-focused breaths, and exhaling slowly out of your mouth. The sheer act of switching up the patterns of your inhales and exhales can make a huge difference in how stressed you feel while you're smushed into that subway car.
4. Tune Into Inner And Outer Sensations
Noticing all of the sensations that are going on in your own body and around you (no matter how chaotic it might feel) is a powerful form of meditation, and may even be ideal for a commute home.
According to Psych Central, simply noticing the vibrations in your feet, caused by either the subway itself, or even by the subtle, bodily adjustments you have to make to maintain your balance as the train speeds through the city, is a mindful way of staying present and turning inward during your commute.
Don't worry if your mind wanders while you do this; meditation is not about "perfection." If and when you find yourself getting distracted, bring yourself back to the present moment and continue observing any new sensations that arise.
5. Journal Out Your Feelings
Packing a journal and writing about your day as you commute to or from work is a mindful way of meditating without actually "meditating" at all.
If you're not sure where to start, try prompting yourself by writing out a list of things you're grateful for. It's easy to get caught up in things that go wrong throughout the day, and to become absorbed by those little inconveniences, but journaling will remind you of what's really meaningful in life, and it'll help clear your head after a long day.
6. Tune Into A Head-Clearing Podcast
Hey, not everyone commutes on the subway, and if driving is your form of transportation after work, rush hour can feel like a literal form of hell.
Plug your phone into the auxiliary cable, and tune into a podcast that covers topics related to mindfulness and meditation. Trust me, your mind will be at ease before you know it. That traffic's got nothin' on you, girl.