According to Psychology Today, "Commuting has been found to be one of life's least enjoyable activities." The longer your commute, the lower your state of well-being. Commuting is literally a pain--the stress that doesn't pay.
Shawn Achor, CEO of GoodThink, says that reducing stress and increasing positivity during your morning commute can be a very good thing. "The greatest competitive advantage at work is a positive and engaged brain," he says, "so happiness is an advantage. Finding happiness on the way to work might get you a promotion."
To help reduce stress and increase happiness while driving, Buick recently launched the 24 Hours of Happiness Test Drive. Some of the wellness experts who helped design this program shared their top five tips for reducing stress during your morning commute.
1. Focus on gratitude
According to Achor, "Your brain can't do two things at once. The more time you spend on your commute mentally fighting the traffic, the less opportunity you have for choosing happiness. So as you put your seatbelt on to protect your body, also protect your brain by thinking of one thing you are grateful for," rather than focusing on the negative aspects of your commute.
2. Learn something new
Use your commute to your advantage. Says Achor, "Take a few minutes to do those things we wish we had time for, such as listening to an audiobook or learning a language."
3. Turn up the tunes
Dr. Dot, masseur to the stars, recommends listening to "happy music" behind the wheel. Research reveals that listening to music can positively impact mood while driving. And having a better mood when you walk through your office door is something everyone will appreciate.
4. Stretch it out
Chad Dennis--yoga instructor to Maroon 5 and other celebrities--explains that while driving, "Stress can manifest in the shoulders, which can ride up." You can counter this simply by rolling your shoulders down and back and opening your chest, which Dennis says, "is a simple yet effective way to take you out of 'fight or flight.'"
Amanda Chantal Bacon, wellness guru and founder of Moon Juice, recommends reducing stress while driving by taking "some conscious even-inhale even-exhale deep breaths as you drive." It sounds simple, but deep breathing has been proven to have the power to calm us down.