10 Ways to Journey Mindfully

Tho other day I caught a train in rush hour. Admittedly I hadn’t been on a train for a while but doing what I do I spent the time looking at my fellow travellers curious as to how this seemingly lost time was being used. It interesting how time spent coming and going to work can feel like time being wasted, especially if you are stuck in traffic or being pushed and prodded on a crowded late bus home. Here are 10 ways to turn these moments into mindfulness practice and arrive at home or work less stressed.

  1. Lets start with making physical contact with the world. Having  a sense of physical engagement with your surroundings helps us to bring the mind into focus and root us to our environment. Bring your attention to how your feet make contact with the ground, or the pedals on your bike. Notice your hands on the steering wheel or how the wind feels on your face.
  2. Pay attention to your breathing. This can relieve the stress associated with travelling and deliver a sense of space and wellbeing among the crowds. Focussing the mind on the gentle in breath and outbreath helps calm the body and diffuse anxiety. 
  3. Don’t always fill your commute with technology. It passes the time but only serves to clutter your mind more. Observe the world around you and your place in it. See how the trees that you pass everyday change with the seasons. Notice new buildings or old ones. Are your fellow passengers the same every day or are they different? Can you feel empathy for some of them? Why not help some one by a little kindness by giving up your seat or maybe smiling at a child.
  4. Leave plenty of time to get where you need to go. If you arrive early use that time to clear you mind.
  5. If possible take a different route. Seeing new things can help develop our sense of curiosity and creativity, and help to stay out of autopilot.
  6. Walk if possible. Get off the train or bus a stop earlier. Walking, especially slowly, calms and settles the mind.
  7. Use the movement of the bus or train to engage with your aliveness. Allow your body to surrender to the rock and roll.
  8. Check into your body and see how it is. Are your shoulders rigid? Are you restricting your breath? Is your neck tight? Are your fists clenched? Use your breathe to breath into these parts of the body and relax them on the out-breath. Do this a few times until your body becomes softer.
  9. Play with changing positives to negatives. This isn’t easy but fun once you get the hang of it. Firstly notice when you are feeling negative towards something. Queues are good for this. Use them as an excuse to rest and to look at the world around you. People watching can be a wonderful experience and make you more empathetic to others. 
  10. Work out how much time in your day is taken up with the daily commute and decide to do it differently. By adopting a more peaceful, positive and thoughtful mindset while travelling to and from work you will probably end up getting the best out of your work day and come home being a more present partner friend or parent.