We’ve partnered with Headspace to help make your journeys more mindful. Take a look at our advice to become more present, less distracted and de-stress.
You can also go on a mindfulness guided walk with our special audio series. We have two unique walks between:
- Camden Town and King’s Cross 🚶♀️
- London Bridge and Waterloo 🚶♂️
Plus, we have three walking meditations that you can use on walks, public transport or anywhere you need to practise a little mindfulness.
- Walking London’s Green Spaces – let nature help you stroll and relax 🌳
- Walk it Off – work off whatever’s frustrating you 😠
- Walking in the City – tune out the hustle and bustle 🏙
Get two months free premium access to Headspace
To celebrate our partnership with Headspace, you can get free access to all of Headspace’s content in the app including hundreds of meditations and sleep sounds. ☺😴
Just visit the special Headspace and TfL page to get started. Use the redemption code ‘tube’.
Life is short. We can live it lost in thought or we can choose to be present as life unfolds around us.
— Headspace (@Headspace) 16 August 2019
Travel mindfulness tips from Headspace
For a lot of people, the commute to and from work is a source of stress in and of itself. It’s something the mind has built up into something many people dread. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t need to arrive at the office or home already stressed out and tense. The solution is, quite simply, a little mindfulness.
When the mind is content, it’s likely that not very much bothers us. We’re in step with life, in the flow of things. But when we’re tired, frustrated, irritable, or stressed out about something, or maybe we’re just sad, then the littlest things can play on our mind. Like a phone ringing, the sniffle of another passenger, a foot tapping…
When stressed, the mind tends to magnify a lot of things, especially when we’re commuting. The mind wants a story. It wants something to keep itself busy and it will do anything to find it – even if that means focusing on the uncomfortable, the unpleasant, or the negative. This is the mind’s nature . This is why we start going down rabbit holes, chasing thoughts and emotions, building a storyline in our heads that, nine times out of ten, has little to do with truth or fact.
But when the mind is off and running, it might as well be its own train. We always have a choice, to engage or not to engage. Why indulge a negative storyline when we can swap it for a happy, positive one? Or, better still, just drop the storyline altogether.
When we’re commuting, it’s a good time to observe how we think and where the mind takes us. This is the practice of mindfulness. View it as meditation-on-the-go, with our eyes open. There’s no better time to practice mindfulness than when using public transport. It makes good use of ‘dead time’.
So think of it, or reframe it, as time well spent, improving your own mental wellbeing. There is no way of controlling what’s happening around us, but we can control what’s happening within us and the way we respond to it all. You never know, in time, incorporating mindfulness into your commute might well allow you to enjoy the journey, not just the destination. 👌
Here are some tips that can turn your commute or any journey, into a calmer, less stressful experience.
Take a breath
If you can, close your eyes. If you can’t close your eyes, pick an object of focus where you can hold a soft gaze. Breathe in through the nose, and out through the mouth. Mentally scan your body from head to toe, noticing any sensations. Next, mentally scan the environment, tuning in to any sounds. Finally, notice the rhythm of your breathing, following each breath, in and out, for a few breaths. What we’re doing with this brief exercise is training your attention to be in the present moment, while also allowing the mind to quieten.
Change your mindset
We have the opportunity to reframe everything at any time, changing the story we tell ourselves, deciding not to fuel our emotions. Like this example ‘Everyone’s getting in my way, slowing me down!’ is reframed into ‘We’re all sharing the same space, all going somewhere.’ Same with traffic. We’re not ‘stuck’ in traffic – we are the traffic.
All aboard the mindfulness train
Mindfulness and being mindful, is all about the intention. Before getting on the bus or the Tube, start with the intention of being mindful, of being intentionally optimistic – throughout. Cultivate awareness, this helps build a positive daily habit
Pay attention to your body
Want to get out of the thinking mind? Take a few minutes to settle into your body, noticing how you feel, where any tension is held, any aches. Just allow the body time to unwind and relax. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting or standing, just loosen your grip on the day.
Be the observer of everything
Notice the space around you, the sounds, the smells, the sensations – not thinking about these things, but simply observing them. This kind of paying attention teaches us to be present, not so wrapped up in our head.
We’re all in this together. Same city. Same ride. And we’ve no idea what the other person is dealing with or struggling with. Bring a sense of compassion to your day. Offer a smile. Offer up your seat. A little kindness in the morning, or evening, sends you to work or home in the right mood.
As with kindness, you’ll be amazed how gratitude sends positive ripples into the rest of your day. Give it a go. ‘I am grateful I have this job.’ ‘I am grateful I don’t have to drive.’ I am grateful for this or that, him or her… and so on.
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Do you have tips to share? Post them in the comments below for everyone to see. 👇