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How to Make Your Commute More Bearable

6 Tips for a Better Commute

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American worker spends more than 100 hours every year commuting to his or her job. Unfortunately, research has shown that long commutes may worsen well-being by consuming valuable time workers would rather spend with family or engaging in social activities. If you are forced to commute to your workplace, here are some savvy ways you can turn a stressful, frustrating trip into an uplifting experience.

Listen to an audiobook. Pass the time by listening to the latest thriller from your favorite author. Only allow yourself to listen to the story during your commute, so you will actually start looking forward to your long drive, train or bus ride to work.

Learn something new. Countless universities offer pre-recorded lectures for free on iTunes. This includes some valuable content from Oxford, Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, Yale, Stanford and many more. You can download the lectures to your smartphone and listen to them via Bluetooth on your car stereo. If you have a 30-minute daily commute, that gives you 10 hours each month to devote to a new skill that could one day become a career that's a little closer to home.

Listen to podcasts. An entertaining and convenient way to absorb information, podcasts have experienced a boom in popularity. Whether you are interested in politics, business, sports, social issues or entrepreneurship, there are plenty of options available. Some of the more popular options include School of Greatness , Ted Radio NPR , This American Life , There Goes The Neighborhood , The Limit Does Not Exist and Side Hustle School .

Change your shoes. It may sound like a stretch, but the simple act of changing your shoes can improve your commute. Your drive will be a lot more pleasant if you ditch your uncomfortable dress shoes or high heels in favor of some well-worn sneakers. This can also signal your brain that the work day is over, so you will have an easier time relaxing and letting go of stress.

Calm your senses. Instead of jamming your horn or pounding your steering wheel in traffic, take the opportunity to hone your senses and relax your mind. Countless studies have shown that mindfulness can help improve overall well-being, while also causing other beneficial changes in the brain. By focusing on your breathing, the car in front of you or the physical act of driving, you can shut out stressful thoughts and irritating distractions, so you can achieve a more peaceful state of mind before you get to work. If you struggle to stay mindful, consider listening to relaxing audio, such as a meditation playlist, classical music or jazz.

Leave a little early. Boring commutes become hair-raising ordeals when you find yourself running late for work. Even if you leave on time, you can't account for traffic jams, accidents and the general chaos of the road. Try getting up each morning a few minutes early, so you can make your commute at a more leisurely pace. You'll be surprised at how much more relaxed you are when you know you have more than enough time to get to work, even when unexpected issues slow you down.

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