How to have a happy commute

I just got an email from Jens who works at DSA, a Danish trade union where I did a happiness workshop some months ago.

Jens writes that he has focused on happiness at work, but has also been trying to create some happiness in his daily train commute to work.

One morning the train conductor announced on the loudspeaker that “If you have any questions just let me know when I come through the train.”

When she passed me, I said I’d like to ask her something. “Sure,” she said, “go right ahead.”

So I showed her my phone, pointed at it and said “If I have an X and a C in Wordfeud, which word can I write?”

She was completely flummoxed, and literally turned once around herself on the spot. Then she said “THAT I don’t know” and left while the 10 nearest passengers cracked up. She was laughing too.

The next morning she’d changed the wording of her announcement to “If you have any questions about the journey…”

Both days it was a riot and I felt completely ready for my workday and my clients – even the negative ones :-)

Way to go, Jens. That’s some great commuter happiness right there.

This is interesting because studies show that long commutes are bad for you:

One in three employees with a commute longer than 90 minutes say they have had recurring neck or back pain within in the past 12 months. Just about the same amount say they have been diagnosed with high cholesterol…

The study shows a strong correlation between obesity and the length of your commute…

Employees with long commutes experienced lower levels of enjoyment and higher levels of fatigue and worry than employees with short commutes.

Your take

Have you ever introduced some happiness in your daily commute? How did you do it? Write a comment, I’d love to hear your story.

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6 thoughts on “How to have a happy commute”

  1. I’d wager the reason that long commutes are so rough on people’s health is that they do not know how to spend idle time with themselves. Their mind dwells on problems and worries. Recommendations – Positive affirmations, meditation, focus on positive out comes in life – What if everything turns out great?

    Dan @

  2. I read ebooks and captured web pages until I get train sick then listen to podcasts on my Palm Pilot.

  3. I agree. Your commute is what you make it. I find it to be one of the most relaxing parts of my day. I listen to podcasts, audio books, and my favorite music. Sometimes I brainstorm ideas, and plans.

    I bet the correlation between longer commutes and obesity is partly due to having less free time. If you have less free time because of a long commute you are going to be less likely to find time to exercise or to take the time to prepare and eat healthy foods.

  4. My husband had not only a long daily commute, he also had to catch a redeye out of Copenhagen several times a week. At one point he decided to drive within the speed limit, regardless if the freeway was open for speeding. After all, he had never missed a flight – and the company would pay for a new ticket if he did.
    Driving safely became a habit that not only lowered his blood pressure but also gave us good laughs many times. Whenever somebody zoomed past us on the freeway they would immediately slow down and drive legally in front of us for a while. Apparently, nobody could believe that a big BMW would drive within the speed limit unless there was police around.

  5. Where I live, I don’t see anyone saying anything to the bus driver when they enter the bus. They just validate their tickets and pass. One time I thought I could at least say “Good morning!” and “Good afternoon!” to him/her and that’s what I started doing. It does make my commute happier. And usually I get a reply. So, maybe it’s not just I the one who is happier.

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