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How to commute without going bonkers

AFP-Relaxnews, September 6, 2012

NEW YORK, USA -- If you’re wondering how to trek to work without losing your mind, Emmy Award-winner and New York City-based meditation teacher David Nichtern offers up a few pointers on curbing commuter stress.

<< File photo of people commuting to work in New York. — Picture courtesy of shutterstock

“People think of spiritual practice as a tranquiliser,” Nichtern told fitness blog Well+Good NYC recently. “But I’m not from the school of ‘Let’s just chant something.’ My school is awareness. The more aware you are, the more likely you’re headed to a positive outcome.”

So, how to make your commute more mindful? He offers up a few ways to respond to common commute scenarios, as per his interview with Well+Good NYC.

Q: It’s sweltering on the subway, there is no air conditioning, and someone on the train is standing right next to you. How do you stay calm?

Nichtern: “The simple answer is to just relax. If you can and want to move away, then do it. But if not, don’t worry about it. Relax your attitude and energy and don’t fight how things are.”

Q: You’re late and the train is running slow or you’re stuck in traffic. How to not stress out?

Nichtern: “I think we can look more at the whole attitude of situations. There’s an ancient Mayan quote that I love: ‘Change your attitude and relax as it is.’ One time, on the way to tai chi, I was late and stuck in a traffic jam with a siren blaring in my ear. I was frustrated until I realised that I was going to tai chi for the practice of calming down!”

Q: So what’s the best way to channel your energy toward something positive?

Nichtern: “Energy is neutral, and we tip it towards a negative or positive outcome with our attitudes. Each individual has to create their own positive environment by being mindful and aware.”

Q: Any calming audiobooks or podcasts you’d recommend during the commute?

Nichtern: “My Facebook page is loaded with stuff like that. And [leading meditation teacher] Pema Chodron has a lot of great audiobooks you can download.”

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