By Brian Byrne

It’s the end of the day, you just got off from a long day’s work, and all you look forward to is going home. The only issue is, the one thing standing between you and that cozy couch is the infuriating, bumper-to-bumper commute home. But, what if there was a way to transform this time from tedious to both entertaining and beneficial? Fortunately, there is. We can use driving to increase our mindfulness, knowledge, and happiness.

MINDFULNESS

How well do you understand yourself? Driving is the perfect opportunity to begin to further this.

To achieve optimal mindfulness, shut o all distractions: no radio, no music, no phone calls; sit in complete silence. Then, begin to unpack your day. Reflect on what made you sad, or angry, or even happy. And from there, ask yourself why. Understand what in your life is causing you to feel this particular way.

If this is something you do not already do, it will be uncomfortable at first. However, it’s necessary to undergo this awkward understanding of oneself in order to ensure you are living the best way you can. If this silence is too uncomfortable at first, feel free to put on some guided meditations; a great app for this is called Headspace. Mindfulness is a personal journey, so embark on what makes you feel comfortable.

It’s proven that a good sense of mindfulness will lead to a happier, more creative, and stronger lifestyle.

KNOWLEDGE

Do you want to learn a new language, or perhaps understand more clearly contemporary issues? Podcasts, audio-books and educational radio stations are a great way of doing this.

Imagine if you took the time you spent in the car each day and dedicated it toward learning. This would be an incredible way of expanding your knowledge.

Some great educational podcasts to listen to are Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, Hardcore History and TED Talks Daily. However, podcasts, as well as other educational sources, should be individualized toward what you want to learn about. Explore what makes you curious!

Whether it’s listening to a fictional audio- book, a history podcast or a Spanish 101 lesson, you decide what you want.

HAPPINESS

Let’s be honest, it’s hard to smile in a crowd of car horns and angry drivers, but there is a way to still do so.

One thing to do is to remodel the interior of your car. Add some calming air fresheners, listen to your favorite music, and remove the clutter. Turn that sardine can into a calming space.

It’s also ideal to externalize how you felt about your day. Scream if your frustrated, feel free to cry if your sad, but most importantly, laugh with yourself. Practice your impressions and accents, or perhaps replay a song and learn all the words to it. Regardless, use your time to bring a smile to your face, not a frown.

Driving does not have to be frustrating, rather, it can be peaceful, educational, and even fun—you decide.