For many people, commuting is a necessary evil. According to data, Americans spend 51 minutes a day commuting to work – and it’s been estimated that we spend roughly a year of our lives travelling to and from the office.
The smartphone has revolutionised the way people commute. Simple games are particularly popular amongst workers – the lucrative Candy Crush Saga, for example, has been downloaded more than 500 million times. Other people view the daily commute as an extension of office hours. Some employees begin working on their mobile devices long before they set foot in the office.
However, the average person already spends over 10 years of their life at work, without factoring commuting time. Instead of spending your journey responding to emails, use the time as an opportunity to relax and focus on self-improvement.
Learn a language
Learning a language can provide a wide range of benefits, extending far beyond being able to read the menu on your next holiday. Studying foreign languages has been shown to improve cognitive ability, boost memory, and stave off the onset of dementia.
Expanding your linguistic range could also improve your career prospects, as language skills are highly desirable to employers. Does your company have a number of foreign branches? Pick your language carefully, and you could find yourself with an exciting overseas posting.
Rosetta Stone is a comprehensive paid service – commuters can take advantage of the iOS and Android apps for on-the-go learning. For linguists on a budget, Duolingo offers a free language-learning app.
The office can be a stressful environment, and many savvy commuters use their journey as an opportunity to relax. One way to achieve this is through the Transcendental Meditation technique.
Studies have shown that Transcendental Meditation can reduce stress levels. This improves cognitive functioning, and can in turn boost our job satisfaction and efficiency in the office. It can also lead to improved clarity of thought.
Meditating for just 20 minutes on your way to and from work can also have a significant effect on your physical health. It reduces the risk of heart disease, lowers blood pressure, and can be used as a tool to give up unhealthy habits.
Get some exercise
Medical professionals recommend 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. However, according to one survey, almost 80% of American adults fall well below this amount.
Build some physical activity into your commute to improve your health and fitness levels. There are a number of ways to achieve this. Drivers can park further away from the office, those who take the bus could walk to the next stop, and train commuters can stand up during the journey.
Read the classics
There are many benefits to reading. Just like learning languages, reading can stimulate the brain, delaying the onset of dementia. It also expands our knowledge and vocabulary, boosts our memory, and leads to an improved ability to focus.
Finding the time to read can be a difficult task. However, if you don’t suffer from travel sickness, your commute is the perfect time to dive into a book.If you’re not sure what to read next, check out a book recommendation platform like Goodreads or Jellybooks. If you drive to work, download an audiobook and listen to it on the go.
Many people see their daily commute as a chore. However, with a little planning and effort, you can easily turn your journey into an opportunity for relaxation and self-improvement.
This article was written by Joe Trimby of TM Home, a 100% non-profit website dedicated to bringing you the latest stories about Transcendental Meditation.