Rush hour is not anyone's favorite time of day, right? It is full of traffic, irritation, and maybe a few hundred pushing people if you are in NYC. How could this possibly get one degree less annoying?
I'm going to share my insider secrets to help you begin your day a little better.
As therapists we are trained with multiple techniques. The clinical terms are coping, reframing and thought stopping. I'm here to give you the real-life application of those things.
1. Prepare for the stress
I am a realist above all else and know that rush hour commuting can suck. I cannot convince you that we can change the way other people are during this commute. So step number one is about preparing yourself for those challenges.
If you know that you always leave at peak hours, set yourself up mentally for what you are in for. My 6am commute is heaven compared to my 9am commute and I know this!
Breathe deeply and choose a mantra that works for you like "I cannot control the angry, pushy, sweaty people on the subway, I can only control myself."
2. Set Yourself Up For Commuting Success
Have a couple go-to de-stressing tools at the ready for your commute. Perhaps you can tune out completely when listening to a podcast or reading a book. Maybe you love reading the morning news. You might even have a morning playlist to get you pumped for the day.
Engaging in more of those behaviors is going to put you ahead of the stress curve instead of engaging in thoughts about how much this sucks, how awful people are, and how you cannot believe you have to do this again.
Unless you work from home, commuting is part of life. Rush hour can be incredibly stressful, but remember, it does not have to be!
3. Pencil In Some Down Time
This is by far my favorite way to spend my commute: multitasking in down time. Whether you drive or take the subway, you have at least 20 minutes of dedicated sitting or standing around to do.
I'm not normally a fan of multitasking, but this is a perfect opportunity to fill that time mindfully. By utilizing time that is already blocked off for something like a body scan or a quick mindfulness meditation, you can automatically boost your mood for the day (and you have no excuses about not having enough time).
Keep in mind it is no ones choice but yours to get stressed over rush hour commuting. Don't allow yourself to go there. Practice any of these steps to create something different. Your mind will thank you!