How to be Truly, Deeply Happy with Your Commute

Does your commute make you happy? We’re not asking if you tolerate it – you must, or you would be doing something different. But does your commute really add something to your day, a small piece of time to look forward to?

Colin Beavan (author of No Impact Man and How to be Alive) asserts that the traditionally-accepted path to happiness – go to college, get a job, make lots of money, retire to someplace sunny – doesn’t give most people true satisfaction. “The truth is that those old approaches to happiness no longer work for us or the world, and they’re starting to break down,” he says.

The same can be said of traditional commuting in Central Texas. The old equation – get in your car during rush hour and zip down to your free parking spot – just doesn’t work anymore. There isn’t much zipping on the highway during rush hour Long, stressful commutes are making us anxious, sick, and less satisfied with our work. Then, there is the driving around to find parking, especially downtown…more stress. What if you could transform your commute to add meaning and joy back into your life? When you use commute options your travel isn’t just about getting from point A to point B; you have time to do more and you are contributing to a better place.

Step 1: Redefine Your Happiness

More often than not, what makes you truly happy is also good for the rest of the world. Instead of focusing on getting to your office as fast as possible, think about what matters to you most. Is it simply getting to work, or is it getting exercise, having time to read, or finding a few minutes to work on a crossword?

Step 2: Start Small

“What do I care about?” is a big question. But the answer doesn’t require a career change or grand action; that will stop you, says Beavan. “Instead, explore who you are in the world by looking at simple relationships you have with things like food, products, or transportation. Then choose one aspect of your life that matters to you, and take a step each day toward manifesting value in that area.”Screen shot 2016-02-01 at 4.31.31 PM

You might find that you want to spend more time connecting with friends or coworkers, or maybe you want to spend more “quiet time” in nature, letting your mind wander. Perhaps you want to get back to an old hobby or learn something new, like sketching or crocheting. If there’s a cause you really care about, this could be your chance to start a blog and rally support.

Step 3: Find an Option that Works for You

Once you’ve started getting excited about your passions, you’ll need a commute option that allows you to pursue them! If meditation, exercise, or connecting with the outside world are important to you, try integrating walking or biking into part or all of your commute. If you want to be social or develop closer relationships with friends, carpooling might be the key. If you want to read, write poetry, or knit, the bus or train can be your go-to. If Irish stepdance is your calling – well, you might just want to telework and ditch the commute altogether. You can start with our online toolkit to figure out how these options can work for you.

Step 4: Share your Story

You’re doing something unique – using your commute to add meaning and joy to every single day. Inspire your friends and coworkers! Start a knitting club on the train! Even people who have been using options for a long time can forget the fun of multi-modal travel. So share your story around the watercooler or on social media – oh, and tag @movability so we can spread the word, too.


       Photo: Movability’s communications coordinator has been known to knit on the bus!

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