After a long day at work, commuting home is often another hurdle you have to cross before you can come home and curl up with snacks and Netflix. But with the loud noise and crowds of public transportation, or the traffic and constant honking of driving, commuting can be an anxiety-inducing experience. This is especially true if you can’t stop thinking about work-related problems, or maybe the stressors that might await you at home. If you’re looking for ways to make your commute a more relaxing experience, there are meditations for your commute on the Calm App, which features various meditations designed to help you with issues you might be facing.
Downloading the app for the first time comes with a free seven-day trial, but after that, it’s $69.99 a year. You can also download the meditations so that they’re available without an internet connection, which is useful for going through tunnels or other spotty service locations.
According to a 2014 analysis of 47 studies published in JAMA Internal Medicine, meditation can help manage anxiety, depression, and pain, which is part of why apps to facilitate it have grown so much more popular in recent years. Although Calm features meditations specifically for commuters, sometimes you might be thinking of a more specific stressor during your journey home. Here are a few meditations you can listen to if you want to keep calm during your commute, that might help you deal with situations unique to you or your day.
1. When You’re Driving
You shouldn’t use Calm while driving, because it requires that you expend focus that should be on the road. But Calm’s three-minute meditation for drivers is meant to be a short exercise that you do before you get on the road. A combination of rolling stretches and mindfulness activities helps to clear out existing anxious thoughts, or any tension that you’re carrying in your shoulders or back.
2. When a Stressful Situation Waits at Home
Ideally, the home would always be a space of total and complete relaxation. But that’s not always the case. Maybe your commute has you ruminating on potential stressors in your most intimate space, like a difficult conversation you need to have with your partner or roommate, or important household chores you need to complete. If that’s the case, you might want to try the Relationship with Others series, which includes meditations on Holding Space, Boundaries, De-escalating Conflict, and Listening.
3. When The Crowds Are Stressing You Out
Sometimes, getting on public transportation can feel suffocating. For me, when I’m being pushed and jostled about by strangers, I start to feel very irritated and claustrophobic. I also feel a bit disconnected from my body, as if it belongs to my surroundings more than it belongs to me. To recenter yourself and distract from the crowds, you might want to try Calm’s Anxiety Release series, which can help refocus you on the here and now. Depending on the length of your commute, you can pick 10, 20, or 30 minutes for the exercise.
4. For When You Had A Really Great Day And You Want To Keep The Energy Going
Sometimes, work can be really great! Maybe you totally crushed a presentation you’d been working on, got a raise/promotion, received awesome feedback during a performance review, or just had a fun time with your colleagues. If you had a great day at work, but don’t want the hustle and bustle of your commute to mess with your positive energy, you might want to try the “Practice Gratitude” meditation from the 7 Days of Happiness series.
5. When You’re Worried You Messed Up at Work Today
No one is perfect, which means that at some point, everyone is going to make a mistake at work. It’s totally normal, but sometimes people can worry about those mistakes in ways that fill them with uncomfortable anxiety symptoms. And if they’re doing that during a hectic commute, it can make us worry even more. If you think you made a mistake at work and it’s making your commute difficult, you should check out the Non-Judgement series, or the “Doubt” track from the Staying on Track series, which helps you confront overly harsh thoughts you might be having about yourself. Or you might want to try the Relationship with Self series, which delves into topics like Self-Trust, Failure, Worthiness, and Self-Esteem.
6. When You Might Fall Asleep On The Bus
Sometimes, work can be super draining, especially if you had a very productive and busy day. With the lull of the train/bus and Ella Mai or Labrinth crooning through your headphones, it can be tempting to just close your eyes for a bit. But the next thing you know, you might be asleep, in a completely different place because you missed your stop. Falling asleep on public transportation can be a frustrating experience, one that can potentially make your commute longer. If you want to say alert while getting home, then try the Sleepiness meditation from the Staying on Track series, which helps combat unwanted shut-eye.
7. For When You Have A Date Tonight
Rushing home to change for a first date at happy hour can be exciting — depending on how you feel about your date. Also, maybe you have a big date planned with your long-term partner, and you’re excited about any big questions or decision that might be made tonight. Or maybe, your date is taking you somewhere super cool (still waiting on Hamilton tickets from my partner). Whatever the case may be, the excitement of a date, with the possibility of a new relationship or the promise of spending time with the person you love, can sometimes also give us a bit of anxiety. This is especially true if you’re worried about logistics like time or how you’ll vibe with your date for the evening.
If you’re feeling super excited, jittery, or nervous and you want to bring down your energy a bit, try the Loving-Kindness series. It helps you develop love for yourself and others in a calming way, so you won’t lose that romantic and loving energy, but you’ll get a bit of calm and confidence.
However you choose to address anxiety or refocus your thoughts during your commute, meditation is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. While apps like Calm can be useful, putting the ease of guided meditations at your fingertips, there are also other ways to keep calm and have a peaceful commute.