Stay focused: How to practice mindfulness while driving

Keep calm and drive on.

You know it all too well: the daily commute to and from work filled with honking cars, wall-to-wall traffic, and trucks cutting you off. The frustration is so heavy that you blast your favorite song or podcast full volume to drown out the madness around you.

But, distracting yourself from your daily drive is not the best option for your safety or the safety of the countless cars around you. As tiresome as commutes may be, they can also be a great opportunity to become aware of your surroundings. That’s right: your daily drive is the perfect place to practice mindfulness.

A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information proves that individuals who engage in mindfulness are less likely to text and drive; a crucial statistic seeing as the National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving kills more than 3,000 people each year. With that being said

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment. It’s about giving your mind a break so that you can tap into a more profound intelligence within yourself. All that matters is what you are doing at this specific time and place. Everything else—anger, anxiety, fear—you calmly acknowledge, and you let it go.

Unfortunately, it’s much easier said than done. But, it doesn’t have to be! Here are five easy steps to incorporate mindfulness into your drive:

1.Take a few deep breaths. Take a minute or two to be aware of your body. Feel the sensation of your hands on the steering wheel, the seatbelt against your shoulder, the ball of your foot on the petal. Make an effort to feel as present and as aware of your body as possible.

2.Remove all noise. This includes your favorite radio stations and audio books. Spend a minute enjoying the silence. Listen to the engine of your car rumble. Enjoy the sensation of having zero distractions.

3.As you drive, tune in to your surroundings. You have probably never even noticed it, but your eyes are looking everywhere when you drive—on the road in front of you, in three different mirrors, on the sidewalks, and more. Notice that you are looking when you drive. Then, be aware that you are listening. Pay attention to every sound you hear.

4.Develop mindfulness rituals. A mindfulness routine might feel unusual at first, so ease into it. Make small efforts, like pausing to take a deep breath every time your car stops. Or, reward yourself with a small piece of your favorite candy when you complete five minutes of mindfulness in your drive.

5.When your mind wanders, gently bring it back. Nobody masters mindfulness in a day: your mind WILL wander. When it does, gently bring it back with the steps mentioned above.

Sinclair Broadcast Group is committed to keeping our viewers accident-free, which is why we initiated the Drive Safe campaign. Steer clear of danger with our monthly tips.