Everyday Mindfulness Techniques: Driving Mindfully

As part of Esther The Golden-Doodle’s Lessons in Mindfulness we will be looking at every day techniques for staying mindful. Today it’s driving mindfully. Vroooom!

Have you ever driven somewhere and when you arrived at your destination you had absolutely no recollection of the journey? You know you got there safely because you and your car are both in one piece but how you did it is a mystery. Maybe you teleported?

How did I get here?

Autopiloting Our Way Through Life?

We can all drive on autopilot while our minds sort through to-do lists or maybe we have conversations with people who aren’t even there. It is all too easy to spend our whole lives in this state of mental absence. So when we decide to commit to a task and be fully aware it can be a real eye opener.

You may think that undertaking a meditative exercise while driving would be very dangerous and you would be bang right! Mindful driving is not meditative. It is fully aware, focused and committed action. You will arrive at your destination feeling present, calm and hopefully, refreshed.

Harvard Business Review has this excellent article on Mindful Driving and it’s power to free up brain space for more creative thinking. For now, here’s how you do it:

10 Tips To Drive Mindfully

  1. Get in your car, buckle up and take a couple of deep breaths
  2. As you start the car notice the sound and vibration of the engine
  3. Turn off the radio so you are not distracted by anything
  4. As you drive, breath normally and check in on your breathing throughout your journey
  5. Keep your hands at a 10 to 2 position and steer with precision, feeling the connection between your fingers and the steering wheel
  6. Notice how your weight shifts in the seat as the car moves round corners, slows and speeds up again
  7. Feel the vibration of the road travelling up through the wheels, through the chassis and into your body
  8. If your mind wonders then acknowledge it and return your attention back to the car
  9. Notice that you are moving forward and remaining still at the same time – woah!
  10. When you arrive at your destination take a deep breath and smile -you just spent that whole journey in the present moment

Look Out For Supernatural Sensations!

You might get a fleeting sensation of ‘nowness’: being completely in the present moment; fully in your body; in that place in the universe. It can feel super strange because we spend so little time fully present. Enjoy it and don’t forget to breathe!

Longer Trips

For longer journeys you might want to add a podcast or some music to keep you entertained. Or you could choose to give 10 minutes to a bit of mental clutter you need to sort. That’s fine. Just make sure you do all of these things with awareness rather than on autopilot.

Mindful driving can be amazing so commit to it whenever you get in your car, for as long as possible. Happy driving!