Being based out of Greater Boston, here at Tranquility Labs, there is one common stressor that we face. Can you guess what that is?
Yes, TRAFFIC. This common everyday annoyance for millions of people has been known to cause anxiety and bitterness; and is indeed no way for one to start their day.
Now imagine if you could optimize the time you spend in traffic? And instead of dreading the time we must sacrifice to commute, we could learn to appreciate it and possibly look forward to it. Sounds crazy right?
Well in order to maximize the time we spend commuting, I have come up with a few solutions that could possibly change your perspective and are easily accessible to try!
Learn a new language.
Have you ever wanted to learn French? Italian? Maybe brush up on your Spanish? Well what better time to learn than when you’re sitting in your car for an extended period of time? This may sound a bit silly (and in part it is), but to be in bumper to bumper traffic reciting ‘La voiture est rouge.’ (french for, the car is red) it can feel a little awkward at first; but it is greatly rewarding to attain a skill that you otherwise wouldn’t have time for!
More importantly, it is an enriching distraction. Just imagine going to work and being able to say, ‘Il traffico non era così male.’ (Italian for, the traffic wasn’t that bad) with confidence. Furthermore, you can easily find various cds at your local library that offer instructions for many languages, making this both free and widely accessible.
Listen to an audiobook.
How many times have you picked up a book with so much eagerness and excitement to read it, only to find that you just simply don’t have time? Well, I can personally attest to the wonders and ease of audiobooks! Not only are they wildly entertaining, but they give me a sense of nostalgia: bringing me back to the days when I was younger and would and become pleasantly entrapped within a story. In fact, I have found that listening to audiobooks improved my long-term listening skills and attentiveness.
Reading and listening for long periods of time is a valuable skill in today’s fast-paced world, so why not take it with you on the road? One of the great things about audiobooks is that they are so widely available and often times free. On various music/media streaming websites you can find dozens of free audiobooks, narrated in various voices to suit your listening needs. Again, the library also is a great recourse to utilize if you prefer to use cds or cassettes. I am currently listening to Lewis Carroll’s’ Alice in Wonderland, and before that, East of Eden by John Steinbeck, had me completely encapsulated. The possibilities are endless, and once you find a book that you’ve allowed yourself to get into, I guarantee you will not want to leave your car!
Listen to mood music.
We all know that listening to music is always helpful and has the ability to transform our moods and perspectives. Though most of us already listen to music on our commute, the type of music we listen to is often overlooked. Music is very personal and affects individuals in different ways. Different parts of the body resonate to different sounds and pitches, and most significantly, certain kinds of music can powerfully affect the human spirit or soul. So when choosing your music to listen to on your commute, choose something that will lift your spirits and excite your brain. Furthermore, it is important to use music as the tool that it is and allow yourself to actually listen and allow the music to transcend you from the near impossible to change, external circumstances of traffic.
According to a study by the US National Library of Medicine, “It has been reported that music may have physiological effects on blood pressure, cardiac heartbeat, respiration, and improve mood state in people affected by anxiety, depression and other psychiatric disorders.” Music, often overlooked, has such a great ability to heal and excites so many areas of the brain; this tool should not be overlooked. So get creative, toss out that top 40 radio station and make a playlist!
As you see, they’re several transformative ways to optimize the time you spend in traffic. I cannot promise that these will work everyday, but I can guarantee these ideas will certainly add a bit of spice to your commute. Get creative and challenge yourself, in the very least it is a fun experience! And if all else fails and your commute is still dreadful, call your mom to pass the time. =)