Depending on location; the word commute will generate a different feeling from one person to the next. Your commute may add an extra hour each way. For some, this commute time is even longer. If you work an eight hour day and commute two hours total, your work day technically becomes a ten hour day. The average person in Britain is commuting 54 minutes each day. It is viewed as a necessity to many, and is simply tolerated. How does commuting affect overall well-being?
Commute and Well-being
It has been found that commuters are much less satisfied overall, in comparison to their non-commute counterparts. The NHS reported that commuters;
- Have a lower life satisfaction
- Lower sense that the activities in their life are meaningful and worthwhile
- Are not as happy
- Tend to be more anxious
A survey was conducted sampling 60,200 people (majority of the sample were commuters). They were asked a series of questions. Some of these questions were; 'how satisfied do you feel about your life' and 'do you feel like things in your life are worthwhile'. Scores were given based on a 0-10 scale (0 reflecting 'not at all' and 10 reflecting 'completely'). Many other factors were considered, including; sex, mode of transportation, time spent commuting, marital status, health, etc.
The results showed that commuters were; less satisfied with their lives, less happy and had higher levels of anxiety. The difference found was relatively small, but some factors were considered worse than others. The worst factors on a person’s well-being included;
Length of time: The most negative results came from individuals whom were commuting between 60-90 minutes. Once time passed three hours, individuals were actually more positive. If they were not directly driving, they were able to sleep, read, complete work, etc.
Mode of transportation: The most negative effects were viewed within individuals whom were taking the coach or bus for more than 30 minutes. This is approximately 7.2% of Britain.
What Are Your Options?
Just because you commute, does not mean you have to feel negatively about it. You are able to make your commute a productive and/or enjoyable experience. Some suggestions are;
- Listen to music. If the radio is too repetitive, make a good playlist. We have the technology to hook up phones and musical devices to our car stereo. Take advantage of this. You can make a new playlist every week if you like.
- If you are taking public transportation; use this time to catch up on work, read, talk to friends and family, draw, etc.
- Some have even reported learning a new language while they commute.
Commutes can be stressful; focus on measures that increase a positive commute. The last thing you want to do is let that stress come home with you. Once you're home, focus on time with your family or engage in positive activities.
We commute because of where we choose to live. Many are moving out of city areas to enjoy greener spaces and more affordable housing. Also, if you love your home; a little extra travelling time is well worth it.
Do you commute? Share your experiences below!
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/epsos/5591761716
Health Reporter. (February, 2014). How Does Commuting Affect Wellbeing? BBC News. Retrieved on March 28, 2014, from http://www.bbc.com/news/health-26190236
NHS. (February, 2014). Commuting Can Lower Your Sense Of Wellbeing. NHS Choices. Retrieved on March 28, 2014, from http://www.nhs.uk/news/2014/02February/Pages/Commuting-can-lower-your-sense-of-wellbeing.aspx