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.
Advertisement

More from Mind

No one goes through life trying to be a horrible person. But sometimes, it's a challenge to go that extra mile (or even just a few steps) out of your way...
Living with anxiety can feel like a constant battle. You have to stay alert to catch anxiety creeping up on you, and it can turn into an all-day fight to ...
We explore the unconscious messages a voice can give off and why snap judgments can be harmful, even if they're innocent
(Paid Content) Taking short breaks during the workday can bring your sanity back to earth. Of course, they have a calming effect, but did you know breaks ...
It's not always easy to predict how much you're going to drink when you go out — or how drunk you'll actually get. And according to a new study, your ...
This story was originally published on May 19, 2016. A few years ago, I called my dad for one of our weekly chats — but he wasn’t happy to hear from me...
As much as it sucks, anxiety doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Without a little bit of it, you wouldn’t make sure to show up on time to that job interview or...
(Paid Content) Moods are fickle things. You can be going about your day in a happy, productive, and calm manner, and boom — everything changes. And ...
This story was originally published on May 19, 2016. I am six years old, in the first grade girls’ bathroom with my friend. We are washing our hands. ...
This story was originally published on Jul. 19, 2016. Several months ago, a woman I’m very close to checked herself into a hospital because she’d been ...
This article was originally published on May 27, 2015. Now that pot legislation is making its way across the country, it's time for a refresher on the ...
Depression is one of the most common mental-health issues in the United States, and it affects roughly twice as many women as men. Yet new research ...
On social media, it's easy to catch all sorts of digital diseases, such as FOMO, internet addiction, and anxiety. Facebook and Instagram-wary researchers...
As a culture, we have a slight tendency to exaggerate. We don’t just love PSLs — we’re obsessed. We aren’t just neat and tidy — we Kondo. Another term we ...