Long Commutes Are Linked to Lower Life Satisfaction, So Try And Work Close To Home

Spending long amounts of time stuck in traffic or on public transportation can certainly be unpleasant, and a new study reveals that not only is this time unenjoyable, but it can also be bad for your mental and physical health. Long commutes are linked to lower life satisfaction, according to recent research from the University of Waterloo in Canada.

The study, published in World Leisure Journal, examined the time diaries of around 3400 Canadian driving commuters who had participated in the 2010 Canadian General Social Survey. Researchers found that long commutes were connected to lower life satisfaction and an increased sense of time pressure, which lead to feelings of time crunch and heightened stress levels.

In previous studies, long commutes had been linked to poor mental and physical health, hypertension, obesity, and low-energy. Some of these symptoms, and a decreased sense of well being, can be attributed to time scarcity. Spending a good part of the day on the road leads to less time for leisure activities, physical activities, and social activities. Decreased amounts of time for leisure and social activities, such as spending time with family, pursuing a hobby, or sleeping are all factors that contribute to how participants feel about their life as a whole. Less time for physical activities, be it a recreational sport, walking, or going to the gym, translates into an unhealthy lifestyle and more stress.

So what can you do if you’re stuck with a never ending commute? Waterloo researchers suggest that you try and use the time to mentally shift yourself in and our of work mode, enjoy the scenery if you can, and relish your alone time. And for all of you who don't have a long ride to work in the morning and don't have to deal with traffic, be grateful that you aren't stuck in a car for hours on end every day...there are much better things to do with your time.