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14 Ways To Have A Zen Journey

It’s easy to get wound up on London’s roads. But there are ways to make your journey more zen. It starts with learning how to Share The Road.

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1. Drive slower to get there quicker

Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), says traffic moves faster if everyone drives slower. Why? Most traffic jams happen because people are trying to drive fast into slow-moving traffic. Driving at a slower pace your whole journey will eliminate these traffic pockets.
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Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), says traffic moves faster if everyone drives slower. Why? Most traffic jams happen because people are trying to drive fast into slow-moving traffic. Driving at a slower pace your whole journey will eliminate these traffic pockets.

2. Do a good deed

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Make an effort to do one nice road-user deed a day: whether that's letting someone out in front of you, or smiling at a fellow road user. Studies from the University of Konstanz found helping others reduces your own stress and increases your happiness levels.

3. Try Walkit

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Walkit.com will give you either the faster, lowest polluted or most scenic route to your destination (depending which option you click) and its directions are easy to follow because they use landmarks and buildings. Eg. "Pass the Old Crown Pub on your right".

4. Give yourself a massage

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Instead of getting stressed in a traffic jam, rub your temples: a University of Miami study found rubbing your temples for three minutes zaps stress and tension.

5. Take up a photo challenge

Like the #100DayPhotoChallenge, where participants try to upload something nice or heart-warming to their social media every day for 100 days. When you start to actively look out for random acts of London kindness, interesting buildings and cool graffiti to snap, you'll start to look at the city in a whole new light.
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Like the #100DayPhotoChallenge, where participants try to upload something nice or heart-warming to their social media every day for 100 days. When you start to actively look out for random acts of London kindness, interesting buildings and cool graffiti to snap, you'll start to look at the city in a whole new light.

6. Find the best looking person in the traffic jam

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A 2007 Nottingham University study found an easy way to beat traffic-induced rage is to look around and try to spot someone attractive. It's an instant stress-melter. Just remember: look, but don't stare. You don't want to be that guy…

7. Treat yourself along the way

Plan your journey so that you go past a few ‘treat points’ on the way: like that busker who always seems to be playing your tune, your favourite coffee shop or through the park where you can walk along the river and watch the ducks paddle by.
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Plan your journey so that you go past a few ‘treat points’ on the way: like that busker who always seems to be playing your tune, your favourite coffee shop or through the park where you can walk along the river and watch the ducks paddle by.

8. Load your iPod up with classical music…

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… or jazz. The Journal of Advanced Nursing says these melodic beats actually reduce your blood pressure and cut your stress levels. Other genres, like rap and dance music, send your anger-levels soaring. For safety's sake, listen to them before your journey to put yourself in a zen frame of mind, or when you get home to chill out - not when you're on the road.

9. Count to 10 in French

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Your mum told you to count to 10 to calm your temper, but counting to 10 in a foreign language reduces stress even more - because it distracts your brain and gives you a new, easier task to complete.

10. Read, read, read - even on short journeys

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If you're not going to be the one doing the driving bring along a book. University of Sussex studies found six minutes of reading cuts stress by two thirds.

11. Carpool with a workmate

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A University of Michigan study found gossiping with co-workers reduces stress and promotes team-bonding. Plus, you're less likely to throw a paddy and smack that horn if you've got Jim from Accounts sitting there watching.

12. If you've got a tough journey ahead, wear blue

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Research by the University of Alberta found looking at the colour blue reduces your stress levels and promotes feelings of calm. Which could explain why the Smurfs were so happy-go-lucky.

13. Cut across the park

Even if it makes your journey longer. A study published in Landscape and Urban Planning found green spaces cut the amount of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, by a sizeable amount.
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Even if it makes your journey longer. A study published in Landscape and Urban Planning found green spaces cut the amount of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone, by a sizeable amount.

14. Meditate and tune out

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According to meditation app Headspace we spend 30-50% of our lives thinking. Use Headspace after work or in the morning to help de-stress and get in the right mindset before hitting the road.

Take in the sights when you cycle

Use TfL’s cyclist journey planner to explore quiet backstreets, canals and park routes.
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Use TfL’s cyclist journey planner to explore quiet backstreets, canals and park routes.

Isn’t it time we all learned how to #ShareTheRoad

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