How to Have a Happier Commute

FordHave you ever cringed at the thought of your commute as you’re stuck in traffic? City dwellers feel the same way as flesh is pressed upon flesh in a crowded subway but as per a panel we attended yesterday, the focus was about boosting one’s happiness in the car.

Ford assembled a panel consisting of E! News anchor Catt Sadler, Ford’s Amy Marentic, Flywheel co-founder Ruth Zukerman and NY Times bestselling author/Bad Boy Steve Santagati.

Considering most Americans spend over 30 minutes getting to and from work, that ends up being a significant chunk of the day on the road related to the good ol’ job. And according to statistics provided by Ford, approximately two-thirds of commuters reported car traffic occasionally during their commute which left them feeling frustrated and stressed out.

Interestingly enough, as they all spoke about the commute there’s a tone of underlying zen. That is, if you can leverage your commute home at night to relax and literally enjoy the ride (or at least detach from frustrations of the day), you can boost happiness in your relationships by entering your home from a happy state of mind.

1. Listen to spa music. Have you ever noticed that music can really put a spring in your step? From a workout perspective, Zukerman spoke about creating playlists or getting your mind into a pre-gym routine as you’re en route to one by cranking tunes that are conducive to working out.

For another perspective, Santagati talked about listening to spa music — you know, the type of music played during peaceful massages. That music can help you breathe better, relax and most importantly, exhale.

2. Listen to books on tape. If you want to feel accomplished without being too Type A about it and getting distracted by emails when your eyes should be on the road, there are always books on tape. Or podcasts. Or learning another language via CDs.

3. Don’t focus on traffic. “Look at the window and go, wow!” says Sadler in reference to a beautiful landscape. You can choose to either be annoyed by traffic and roadblocks or choose to leverage the time to block out the annoyances.

The panel emphasized safety first in terms of never texting on the road and paying attention at all times but Sadler points out there’s nothing wrong with spreading good cheer by simply looking at another driver at a traffic light and “sharing a smile.”

Considering commuting ranks among the top three activities Americans spend the most time doing (the other two relate to spending time with family and friends and watching TV/movies), it makes sense to make the most of it instead of fighting it.