If life is about the journey, not the destination – as the practice of mindfulness reminds us – then the many hours you spend in cars are no exception.
Sure, it might feel like a kind of purgatory for the millions of office workers who reluctantly return to their commutes in 2022. But even stuck behind the wheel, that time can be reclaimed like yours. At an excruciatingly long red light, any driver can practice mindful breathing or focus on the present moment.
Even better is an electric ride. In an EV, it’s quiet driving thanks to near-silent electric motors and battery, and charging at public outlets or at home is a time to recalibrate and recharge in more ways than one.
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While behind the wheel, mindfulness experts seem to primarily encourage on-the-go meditation, especially to combat road rage and tense moments in traffic. the Calm app has a ride playlist for drivers and passengers, while Insight Timer has a 15 minute session for drivers who start with breathing exercises while your hands are on the wheel. Headspace does not recommend doing a full session from the app but does offer a variation based on car that starts before you switch on.
Psychologist Seth J. Gillihan wrote in psychology today about using his driving time as a place to practice acceptance, a form of gratitude and mindfulness.
“I’ve found acceptance behind the wheel to be extremely helpful…We often add so much stress to our driving by battling things we can’t change. For example, there are countless times when I silently (or loudly) cursed a stoplight for turning red, or another car for “getting in my way. When we deliberately let go of the need for everything to go exactly our way, much of the stress and anger we feel can dissolve.”
Mindfulness Specialist Jim Posner is a big advocate for meditation in the car, and not just when it’s parked. In one Thrive Global Medium post he writes: “There is a misconception about meditation. You don’t need to be sitting on a cushion on the floor with your eyes closed in a full lotus position to practice mindfulness. You can do it while driving, walking, eating, showering, waiting for the elevator, being intimate.”
More of your fellow drivers may be practicing mindfulness than you think.
My colleague Mashable Chris Taylor use it Mindfulness app on his Apple Watch while driving. Using haptic feedback, the watch guides him to breathe for up to five minutes. He said that while focusing on the breath, he’s not zoning out or in a trance – instead, he’s paying attention to the task at hand (breathing and driving) and can’t be so distracted than when listening to music or a podcast.
Automakers embark with full awareness
Similar to Apple’s haptic feedback, Mercedes-Benz recently teamed up with custom audio company Endel to create a relaxing driving experience through sound. Endel CEO Oleg Stavitsky said in an email that “a car is one of the few environments where you have to both focus and relax, often switching from state to state. other”. The Mercedes-Benz soundscape was supposed to be tuned to keep drivers calm, alert and responsive, while taking into account their driving behaviors, such as speeding or hard braking.
While many cars add features to induce calm and relaxation with soothing sounds, glowing lights, massage seatsand even pleasant scentsany electric vehicle is almost always an ideal meditation mobile: when you’re parked and plugged in, you have time to meditate and practice gratitude and mindfulness, while the quiet hum of a motorless car also makes time driving an opportunity to focus on your breathing.
Just about any electric vehicle can become a meditation pod when charged at public stations or even parked in your driveway plugged into a home charger. Unlike the gas station stress that accompanies internal combustion engine vehicles, “refueling” your electric car can be a decompression moment.
Tesla has drawn attention for its Games, fart mode, and “caraoke” built into the car, but Tesla’s infotainment center also serves as a portal to calm, focus and focus. Log in to your music account and plug in playlists or apps like Headspace and Calm, or listen to Spotify’s Daily Wellness collection. Especially when seated in the spartan Tesla Model 3 and Model Y front seats, it’s easy to give up distractions.
Dustin Krause, director of e-mobility at Volkswagen, said in a phone call that electric vehicles are a “peaceful place to live”. He described any electric vehicle as quiet and smooth, and singled out VW’s first electric SUV, the ID.4 for its front massage seats, panoramic glass roof, driver assistance and control. vocal. To create an atmosphere, the ID.4 also lets you customize ambient lighting to create a personalized and soothing space. The lighting takes advantage of the open and expansive layout of the car as the battery sits flat on the bottom of the car.
Krause said charging time is “time for yourself or connecting with others.” Even though he has a plug at home, he said he often goes to a nearby Electrify America station where he would take the time to make personal phone calls while charging. “I’m catching up with my mom,” he said.
Other EVs lean into the built-in “me time” that comes with charging. The Ford F-150 Lightning has seats that recline almost 180 degrees. The new Hyundai Ioniq 5 has an option for reclining rear seats, while lucid air offers luxurious executive seats in the rear that practically look like a bed.
The Future of (Safe) Mindfulness on the Road
Soon, we will tackle the next level of driving: autonomous vehicles. When self-driving cars allow drivers to take their eyes off the road and refocus their attention, car space becomes a place to play, work, relax or even sleep. These full-fledged Headspace sessions, which app founder Andy Puddicombe advised against using while driving, would be fair game in a self-driving vehicle.
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But we are not there yet. Until then, there is always public transport. Under the right conditions, you can steal a few minutes for yourself and not have to worry about driving, traffic, cyclists in your blind spot, or anything else but being there on this bus seat, present in the moment.