In many ways, your daily commute sets the tone for the start and end of the day. If your morning commute is rushed, hectic and stressful, it can affect your mood, productivity and attitude for the rest of the day. Hitting a traffic jam on the way home may have you walking through the door feeling angry, tired and frustrated.
About 130 million Americans share the road every day on their commutes. With so many people on the road, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stay calm, cool and collected while driving to and from work.
But a more enjoyable commute can make your days more positive and less stressful. Here’s how to have a happier commute:
Try a Different Transportation Method
Did you know that people are generally the happiest when they ride their bikes to and from work? And yet, less than 1% of Americans commute by bicycle.
Biking can improve your mental well-being by reducing stress and improving your concentration. It also gets your body moving which helps you stay healthy and further helps reduce stress.
But what if you have a really long commute? The average American travels 25.1 minutes by car to work, so cycling isn’t always a practical option.
Perhaps you can carpool with a co-worker. Those who ride as passengers in a car during their commute are happier than those who are behind the wheel.
Public transportation is also a great option. People who ride the bus or train to and from work tend to be less stressed than drivers because their timing is more predictable.
Create Playlists Just for Your Commutes
Studies show that people who listen to music when they’re stuck in traffic are less likely to get angry than those who don’t listen to music.
Listening to music can put you in a good mood and take your mind off of your commute. Try creating special playlists just for your morning and evening rides home. Choose your music wisely and include tunes that get you motivated or smiling.
Listen to Podcasts or Audiobooks
If you’re stuck in your car for 20 minutes or more, why not use your time more productively? Try listening to a podcast or audiobook while you drive, or ride the bus or train.
Give Yourself Time
One of the simplest ways to have a happier commute is to simply give yourself time. If you’re rushing through your morning routine and not giving yourself much time to get to work, you’re going to feel stressed, frustrated and angry.
Get up earlier than usual and give yourself plenty of time to get to work. This way, if you’re stuck traffic, you don’t have to worry about being late.
It may also help to plan alternative routes for your commute. If you get stuck in traffic or it looks like the roadways may be busier than usual, you can take a different, less-congested route.
Commute with a Friend
Do you have a co-worker who lives nearby? If you enjoy their company, why not commute together? Commuting with a friend can make the drive less stressful and more entertaining. It also gives you a chance to talk and connect with someone before you start the workday.