Podcasts To Turn Your Commute Into Daily Joy Therapy
> Joy & happiness are the antidote to life’s stresses and downers
Commuting to and from work is a dreaded and unavoidable task that most of us have to endure each week.
It really gets under our skin when there’s some idiot that can’t drive for shit.
They don’t use their blinkers, can’t seem to stay in their lane, not moving when the light is green, etc. They’re just oblivious to what’s happening all around them.
We could write a mile-long list of all the things that piss us off during our commute.
The upside to these negative reactions is that you’re focused on driving and aware of other cars around you. As the saying goes, “If you’re not cursing while driving, you’re not paying attention.”
The downside to having these reactions is that they don’t make your commute any better and they definitely don’t improve your mood.
Cursing and getting angry at traffic and idiotic drivers won’t make either go away. These are things that are out of your control. And when you are trying to change things that are not in your control, you’re just frustrating yourself.
It’d be like getting angry at the sun for rising and setting everyday. Pointless.
Now, imagine a very different scenario.
You’re still attentive to driving but instead of getting pissed off at random idiocy, you just let it go because you’re too happy to care about it.
Your mood is so positive that all the stuff that would normally get your blood boiling doesn’t phase you one bit. You’re just like “whatevs” about it - totally nonchalant.
When you’re happy, it’s impossible to be angry at the same time. The two emotions can’t coexist simultaneously.
You’ve seen this wildly popular video below. The unemployed dad got yet another rejection letter - probably his hundredth one for the week. He could easily get angry and pissed off at the world, but he can't because his little "BruBear" is quite literally laughing in the face of rejection.
Watch it again now and try to get angry. Seriously, it's impossible.
VIDEO: Baby Laughing Hysterically at Ripping Paper (Original)
See? You were smiling - don’t deny it. 😉
No way you can be angry while watching that video. Impossible.
How much happier do you feel right now?
Like a million times happier, right?
We all could learn a lesson from BruBear about how to handle bad news.
It doesn’t matter how much of a shitty day you’re having, the misery of your job, financial struggles, strained relationships, etc. Happiness and laughter can pull us up and out of our most sour moods.
The challenge is that we just can’t seem to “get happy” on our own very much. We need a little boost, kick-start, nudge, etc. Something to get the positive emotion going.
The Happiness Highway
For a lot of us, it can be a real struggle to find a bit of happiness in our day when everything else in life is working against us.
There are those days when the morning commute absolutely sucked, you get roasted by your boss, your inbox email count skyrocketed like your blood pressure and you had to interact with that asshole at work again.
It’s hard to even break a smile on those kinda days, much less being happy. The stress piles up throughout the day.
But, it’s on these types of days where we need to wipe away the built up stress the most. But, a lot of us feel that we just don’t have the time to relax and de-stress much.
Here’s the obvious duh moment.
The daily commute is the ideal time to stir up some joy to offset life’s stresses.
It’s time that we guide our minds down a different and better path during our commutes instead of the normal teeth-grinding, mind-numbing torture. A more ideal direction - the happy highway.
Science has proven over and over again that happiness is one of the best and most powerful ways to mend the mind and body.
This Harvard study showed measurable positive effects of happiness on health.
The study followed more than 6,000 men and women aged 25 to 74 for 20 years...that’s right, 20 frickin’ years. It found that happiness and “emotional vitality” actually reduced the risk of heart attacks.
Happiness doesn’t require drugs (although many unfortunately choose to go down this path), complex surgeries, expensive counseling, etc. It’s inside each and every one of us.
All we need to do is open the door and allow it to blossom out of us. It needs a little spark to get things rolling.
Podcasts Can Open Up Happiness On Your Commute
It’s been often quoted that children laugh, on average, about 300 times per day versus adults at about 20 times. It’s an unconfirmed statistic and we’ve yet to find any official research backing this up.
However, if you just watch children playing and hanging out, you can see their unfiltered joy and happiness. Laughing 300 times in a day for them doesn’t seem too far fetched.
We were all like this too, you know. Do you remember laughing at the silliest and stupidest little things as kids?
We still do now, just not as much. However, there are a select lucky few adults out there that can manage to get their giggles on in the silliest of ways - like this dad who's made a little trash can distraction for himself.
WARNING: The laughing is contagious in this video.
VIDEO: Dad laughing at talking robot bins
You just chuckled there too, right?
How could you not?
Oscar The Grouch from Sesame Street would be laughing his ass off right now.
The sad fact is that we lose our sense of creative silliness and ability to see the joy in everyday things. It’s not our fault really because we all have to start “adulting” in the grown-up world of careers, family, homes, etc.
Our happiness was often shuffled into the back corners of our minds and hearts. It never was taken away. It simply took a back seat to all the other priorities in life.
Well, now we want to bring it front and center into our working lives.
So, we’d like to share a few happy and inspiring podcasts that you can listen to on your commute to get those happy hormones flowing.
Gretchen Rubin started out her career in law and even clerked for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner. During her days in the legal world, she dreamt of being a writer and finally took the plunge.
Ever since, she’s been really knockin’ it outta the park. Her core focus is on happiness and human nature. She’s a NY Times Bestselling author, speaker and thought leader in the happiness space.
Gretchen along with her sister Elizabeth, share a lot of uplifting & helpful stories and insights to be more positive & happy in life.
This is a podcast by Cindi Liming and in her words, “I’m on mom, wife, teacher, and lover of life. I love to spread positivity and enjoy making people laugh and smile. I am here to share how thinking and spreading optimism and awesomeness has change my life, and to give you tips on how to spread awesomeness into every aspect of your life.”
Sounds like a great recipe for all of us. We’ve got Cindi on auto-download now.
The Greater Good Science Center is part of the University of California at Berkeley, otherwise simply known as Berkeley.
The center studies and shares insights and research on the psychology, neurology and sociology of human well-being and happiness.
Their podcast shares the science behind happiness and more importantly how we can apply it into our lives on a daily basis. They share stories, tips and tactics on how to cultivate more happiness in life and also how to handle or overcome difficulties and challenges.
If you’ve listened to any NPR broadcasts before, you’ll definitely have experienced the heart-warming and inspirational stories published by StoryCorp.
These intimate interviews really help to bring life into perspective and remind us all of what’s really important in our lives - love, family, friendship, happiness and compassion.
Be sure to keep some tissues handy in the car - there’ll be some heartfelt tears of joy, happiness and love flowing down your face.
Today’s mainstream news media is just slathered in negativity, conflict, bloodshed, doom-n-gloom, etc. Yes, there is that rare minute during a slow morning where your local news station might cover an uplifting story, but for the most part, it’s mostly dreary stuff.
So to make each day more tolerable and uplifting, the card game developer, Cards Against Humanity, created The Good News Podcast.
Each little snippet is like a little mental dopamine hit of joy and happiness. The sessions are all about 5 minutes, give or take a few minutes. So, download a bunch and listen away.
This is a husband and wife duo of Griffin and Rachel McElroy talking about things they love, things other people love, what makes them happy, etc. It's all about the things in life that spark joy and enthusiasm.
Listen to this enough and their enthusiasm will rub off onto you.
This is another podcast from the great folks at NPR. Only this one focuses on all the fun things that happen in our popular culture, specifically within movies, TV shows and bit of books and fashion. It’s usually happy and upbeat too.
So, if you’re a big TV and movie buff, this could be your perfect way to get some laughs and boost your smiles on your drive.
This award-winning podcast has a similar feel to StoryCorp. It’s a seasonal series of very touching stories about putting everything on the line and going all in with somebody for the sake of love - including the sacrifices, obsessions, risks, etc.
These are real feel-good tear-jerkers and always fills you with hope and happiness at the end.
Pre-Load Podcasts For The Commute
At the end of the day, while you’re still at your desk, set aside 10 minutes or so to check and preview your podcast subscriptions and downloads on your phone. If the latest ones haven’t been downloaded to your phone yet, do it before you leave the office.
This way, you’ll be stocked up with fun content for the drive home and for the following morning back to work.
It’s a lot easier to sort it out at your desk instead of while driving - a big no-no.
The other benefit is that this little task helps to transition your mind out of work mode. Including it as part of your end-of-day ritual is a great way to shift and mentally disconnect from work.
If you don’t have a podcast app on your phone, check the app store. There are plenty of free ones available. Just download, install and start adding subscriptions.
Make Happiness Your Commuting Co-Pilot
Nobody enjoys their commute to and from work. It’s a tedious and unavoidable task that we all have to endure five days a week.
However, if you spin it and re-think the commute as your personal “me-time,” it can be the daily savior that you’ve been yearning for.
And with these fun podcasts, you’ll have happiness as your co-pilot.
With each commute, you’ll be a bit happier, smile more and have less angst during your trip. Your soul-crushing commute can quickly evolve into your twice daily joy therapy.
Traffic all jammed up?
Fantastic - it gives you more time to listen and absorb more happiness. Bring it on!