Why Living Far From Your Job Is Actually Good For You

This article was originally published on May 21, 2015.

For many of us, commuting is a daily aggravation. But, new research suggests that there's more to love about our work journeys than we realize.

The study, supported by the Australian Research Council and Australian National University as part of the CommutingLife project, looked at how people feel during their commutes. For this report, they interviewed 53 commuters who were heavily affected by their travels and 26 organizations familiar with commuting (such as transportation advocates and traffic reporters). The researchers also spent two weeks "in the life" of people with particularly grueling commuting schedules — up to six hours per day traveling.

The team found that, as expected, commuting to work can be a stressful (and sometimes dangerous) experience that is continuing to change the way we relate to cities and to each other. But, they found something surprising as well: Many of us are finding creative ways to get the most out of that time to ourselves.

In particular, the researchers found that many felt their commute was a "necessary transition time between work and home." For some people, that meant thinking through problems in their lives. For others, it was a welcome chance to daydream, call a friend, listen to a podcast, or even meditate. Plenty of people also loved to complain about their journeys, but found that getting caught up in their own internal monologues just prolonged the stress.

So, we'll definitely be taking these tips on our subway ride home tonight. We may even queue up our long-forgotten meditation apps for the journey.
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