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5 mental wellbeing tips for your daily commute

Refreshments being served on Grand Central train

Travelling during peak train times can be tough, especially if you do it regularly for your daily commute to work.

Will I get a seat? Where can I stand? How busy will it be? All questions that are bound to run through your head as you are standing on the platform, ready to board.

So, if a train commute is your daily norm, make it count. Here are 5 useful tips and ideas that could fill in the time as well as improving your mental wellbeing at the same time. No seat required!

1. Practice your breathing

Many of us don’t tend to think about our breathing too much, however, when we are stressed or worried about something, our breath tends to quicken and become shallower, getting us ready for a ‘fight or flight’ situation.

Slow, deep breathing is one of the number one ways to help our brain calm down and de-stress, and is something you can practice easily on your train journey. If you’re not used to breathing exercises, then there are a few simple techniques that you can use to get going.

A great starting point is to count your inhales and exhales. Start with an inhale for a count of 1 and an exhale for a count of 1, and then increase to a count of 2,3,4,5 and so on until your breathe has become deep and slow. This is an exercise that only takes a few minutes and can be practiced anywhere, any time.

2. Brighten Someone’s Day

According to Age UK, 1.4 million people in the UK today are lonely. Performing an act of kindness, no matter how small or insignificant, could make the day better for both someone else and yourself.

If you are feeling tired, fed up or in a low mood, then by actively trying to lift someone else up, you can leave yourself feeling better as a result.

Start a conversation with the elderly gentleman sat next to you, offer your seat to the lady with the toddler, pay a compliment to the lady with the nice dress or leave a motivational post-it note on the seat for the next person who comes to sit in it. If all else fails, just give a smile to everyone you meet as you board the train – it will cost you nothing and might just make a difference to someone’s whole day.

3. Listen to some classical music

Music has the power to uplift the soul and transform a mood in an instant. Listening to your favourite track while on your train journey is sure to get your endorphin levels pumping and prepare you for a great day at work.

If you fancy something truly uplifting, then opt for some music of the classical variety. Often considered a genre of music only for the very cultured or elder generations, classical music is increasing in popularity among younger generations too. It is even claimed by some that listening to classical music can boost the power of our brains and help us become more intelligent.

If that’s not reason enough to download some Mozart to your playlist, then we don’t know what is!

Note to self - always make sure your music is at a level that is not affecting anyone else’s journey experience.

4. De-clutter

Tidy life, tidy mind. Marie Kondo has helped us all to understand how arranging our home interiors to be clutter free can help to remove anxieties and stresses in a relatively pain-free way. The same goes for aspects of our personal possessions too.

Next time you have some time to spare on a train journey, look at ways you can remove any clutter from your personal affects. Tidy out all those old receipts from your purse, re-arrange all the Apps on your phone into handy sub-folders and remove any old chewing gum/hairgrips/post-it notes/broken pens from the bottom of your bag. The results will inspire you more than you can imagine!

5. Make plans

Nothing makes the working week feel better than knowing you have something lovely to look forward to at the weekend.

Whether you invite a friend over to watch a movie, plan a BBQ for some family members or organise a dog walk in your local park, you will have something to look forward to and talk about at work.

Use your train commute to think up some ideas for your social calendar and then reach out to people by call, email, message or letter. Plan in some good times and you are sure to feel good in the process.

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