Mindfulness Tips for the Road Warrior
Meditation expert and Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe offers up six simple things you can do to better appreciate your travels.
1. DON’T FILL UP THE QUIET MOMENTS
We spend a lot of time waiting when we travel. Most of us like to multitask and think if we cram a bit more into our life, we’ll feel happier or more successful. I would avoid going over e-mails while reading a newspaper and eating a sandwich. Instead, take in everything around you. It’s tempting to feel separate from the people around us, but when you sit in an airport and watch people go by, you start to see that we’re all in this together. The more we can remember that, the more connected we’ll feel to the world.
2. REDUCE YOUR TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
If I’m travelling, I’ll only go on social media six to eight times a day, with the intention of seeing if I can help anyone in the Headspace community with their questions. I take five additional minutes to see what’s going on in the world, and then I put it away. If your social-media use is intentional, then it’s not an issue. It’s when we get caught up in it and are mindlessly scrolling that it can become unhealthy.
Meditation isn’t just about the 10 or 15 minutes you spend sitting in silence. It’s how that practice impacts the rest of your day. Travelling can be stressful, and if you start a travel day with meditation, then you’re more likely to remain calm and responsive when things stress you out.
4. LOOK OUT THE WINDOW
I bet if you asked business travellers what route they took from the airport to the hotel, they probably wouldn’t have a clue (and I include myself in this, on occasion). The biggest challenge is to not check your e-mail once you step into a cab. Many of us are used to tuning out, especially if we frequently travel to the same place. But it’s beneficial to take in the city around you, even if it’s for just a couple of minutes. Look out the window, look at the faces of other people and watch where you’re going. We can’t do that if we are glued to our phones.
5. TAKE A WALK
Whether you’re taking an Uber, a Lyft or a taxi, it’s very easy to go from the airport to the hotel to the office without experiencing much of the outdoors. As soon as I arrive at my hotel, I put my bags in my room and take a 15-to-20-minute walk. Walking is an important part of staying healthy, but it also makes me feel grounded and appreciative of where I am.
6. WRITE IT DOWN
Not everyone likes to journal, but I recommend keeping a notebook by the side of your bed and, before you go to sleep, writing down three things that you enjoyed about your day. They can be little things, like getting green lights all the way to your destination. When we feel rushed or busy, we tend to create a story in our mind about being stressed. But when you pause and reflect on those positive things, it interrupts the story and leaves you feeling very different. You’ll likely have a restful night’s sleep.
The Headspace meditation app is available on Air Canada’s Inflight Entertainment system.