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How to Keep Your Commute From Crushing Your Soul
Recently a group of Swedish researchers performed a comprehensive study on 21,000 commuters, taking into account the mode of commuting (most by car, about a quarter by public transit) and the length of the commute. As reported in The Atlantic, their findings were that, surprise surprise, long commutes corresponded with decreased sleep. Long commutes—particularly in the 30-60 minute range—were also linked with poor health in general, and increased stress levels. Writer Eric Jaffe explains, "People with a lengthy commute show an increased amount of stress, get worse sleep, and experience decreased social interaction. A commute of 45 minutes carries such a cost to well-being that economists have found you have to earn 20 percent more to make the trip worth it."
In other words, those hours in the car or on mass transit may be weighing you down more than you think.
So you could make it official and move into your cubicle (or shop or school or...). Or, you could try walking or biking to work-- happiness expert Dan Buettner says that "the negative stats about commuting apply largely to car-based commutes, plus you'll get your blood pumping and be more alert when you start your day." Or, even easier, listen to your favorite music during your commute, and try really hard not to think about work during that time. In the words of LLuminari CEO Elizabeth Browning, "Feel the freedom of walking away and going to another area of life." You could also look into having those "Pimp My Ride" guys install a mini-spa and waterfall in the backseat of your Corolla. Just a thought.
More on workplace happiness:
How these women switched to their dream careers.
3 steps to finding the right job for you
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