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I’m always seeking ways to bring serenity to my life. Meditation helps, but it can be hard to fit into my schedule. But recently I’ve discovered ways to incorporate mindfulness practices into daily activities. I’ve benefited a lot from practicing mindfulness while I’m driving.
Before we go any further, a word of caution: Stop the mindfulness exercise if you feel drowsy or unable to focus on your driving.
How to practice mindfulness at the wheel
In my experience, meditation helps me stay both alert and calm while I’m driving. I hope it does the same for you. Before you start, turn off any news or music you have playing, and take some deep breaths. Here are some practices I’ve used:
Observe the feel of your breath on both the inhale and exhale. You can focus your attention on the flow of air at the tips of your nostrils, or on the rise and fall of your chest.
Observe the flow of traffic in both directions, not judging it, not commenting on it, just watching it flow.
Observe the sounds: engine, wind, tires, rain. Let each sound enter your awareness without judgment.
Repeat a mantra, such as the word peace, or love, or lovingkindness, either silently or aloud.
Allow yourself to feel goodwill or lovingkindness toward other drivers.
Bestow a blessing or feeling of lovingkindness on other drivers. You could say, “safe journey,” or “blessings,” or “peace,” either silently or aloud.
These last two may be difficult when you encounter drivers who are rude, thoughtless, or reckless. But that’s all the more reason to try. When I can let go of my anger and irritation at other drivers, I feel calmer and lighter, better able to get on with my day.
When I can, I sit in mediation for longer stretches. Sometimes for 20 minutes twice a day, sometimes for a longer period once a day. It all depends on what else I have to fit into my schedule.
How I’ve benefitted from practicing mindfulness at THE WHEEL
I’ve enjoyed many benefits from practicing mindfulness at the wheel. Here are just a few:
I arrive at my destination feeling calmer
I find the commute less stressful
My reactions to other drivers are less extreme and angry
I feel good about having done something positive for myself
If you want to learn more about mindfulness while driving
I found this book to be very helpful: Meditations for Manic Motorists by David Michie which is offered as an audio book by Bolinda Audio (and which is read aloud by Nicholas Bell in a soothing British accent)