Many people commute to work creating a great opportunity to create calm, focus and prepare for a top performance, simply with mindful commuting. In London, a huge number of commuters use the tube, which is rammed with people (in a rush), often smelly and particularly hot in the summer. How can one create calm and focus in those circumstances you may wonder?
As a commuter you join thousands of others, some of which push you, breathe on you, lean on you, rest their paper on you (I once saw a woman rest her newpaper on a man’s back, which she quickly moved when he turned, only to put it back when he looked away — it was quite amusing), stare at you and nudge you. Today there was a small space next to me and a man forced his way into it creating discomfort for everyone, including himself. So there are just a few incidences that could challenge one’s patience and yet what a great opportunity to develop the skills of patience and compassion towards others. In doing so, you feel better versus feeling anger, frustration or annoyance. We can choose.
Over and above developing a compassionate outlook for the day ahead by looking deeply at a situation (we can consider that the other person may be suffering for a range of reasons and hence behaving in a certain way), we can use the following practices to orientate ourselves towards positive emotions. Being aware of and acknowledging positive emotions broadens our thinking and receptiveness as well as enhances our resilience in the face of a challenge, all of which impact upon our performance at work based on how we communicate with ourselves and others.
- each time you find yourself becoming irritated on your commute, take 3 breaths and in particular notice your out-breath
- walk mindfully, paying attention to each step and just be curious as to what is going on around you. Notice how it makes you feel and return your attention to your walking
- if you cannot get through the crowd because it is busy, return your attention to your breathing to create calm and then walk mindfully
- be aware of those around you and wish them well in your thinking, noticing how this makes you feel and how the world then appears
- as you pay attention to your breathing, think kindly about your colleagues and boss so that when you encounter them, you communicate with skill and not on a background of feeling stressed and anxious
- if you feel stressed and anxious it is because your thinking (embodied) has drifted into the past or future, thereby flavouring the present. Take 3 breaths and see things for what they are; be aware of this moment
- listen to a mindful app on the journey
- practice mindful breathing when you simply pay attention to your breath that holds you in the present moment
There are many more ways of practicing but in essence just using one or two will help you create calm and focus. Try it and see!
Mindfulness is a very practical way of being that creates calm, peace and allows you to to see things for what they are as you are consistently aware of the present moment, you listen deeply and speak with skill to communicate understanding and compassion. This is transformative in all situations and achievable for all.
Mindfulness practice forms part of the Pain Coach Programme for pain and chronic pain | t. 07518 445493