Mindfulness at the wheel

Although returning to work after the holidays can be difficult, driving to the office is an opportunity to rid yourself of stress. The ambient light in the new SEAT Leon allows the intensity and tone of the lighting to be varied, in turn increasing comfort and safety. Contact a member of our Sales Team today to see for yourself or read on to learn about mindfulness at the wheel.

With people returning to work, stress becomes an added companion to life. The rushing around, getting back into a routine... it all contributes to our mood. So, far from increasing our anxiety level, commutes to the office or back home are the perfect time to calm your nerves, stop the cruise control of your mind and focus all your efforts on driving. How? With mindfulness.

“Mindfulness is about teaching the brain to focus on a single function so that it can devote full attention to it,” explains Emmy Smit, a psychologist and ITAE Empresas mindfulness trainer and collaborator of the SEAT Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center. It can be done while performing daily tasks, such as driving, so that they become less mechanical and more enjoyable. “On a physiological level, it stimulates areas of the nervous system related to positive emotions, increases the secretion of serotonin and endorphins and changes the map of brain activity” says Smit.

By applying mindfulness, we are able to pay more attention at the wheel and thus reduce the risk of accidents (30% of fatal accidents are caused by distractions, according to the Spanish Traffic Department). And in addition, we will reduce CO2 emissions and save fuel and money with more efficient driving. According to Dr. Gerhard Lux, who is responsible for Hybrid and Electric Propulsion Development at SEAT, “when you’re focused you’ll use high gears, and anticipate braking by reducing your speed.”

10 mindfulness exercises you can do in your car

1. Before getting in, note your emotional state and level of fatigue and be aware of your travel destination and your intention to enjoy driving without rushing.

2. Once you are seated, take a couple of deep breaths, feeling the air coming in and out through your nose.

3. After fastening your seat belt, become aware of your posture, your hands on the steering wheel and body contact with the seat.

4. When thoughts of non-driving subjects come up, or you are tempted to look at your phone, deliberately refocus your attention on the road, sights and sounds.

5. Practice kindness to other drivers to better enjoy a safe trip.

6. A red light or traffic jam is an opportunity to take a short break to consciously breathe and return your focus on the experience of the present moment.

7. When you arrive at your destination, wait a moment before getting out of the car and enjoy the silence.

8. Return your attention to your physical body and notice the sensations that the journey may have produced on a physiological level.

9. Reflect on whether you enjoyed the trip or were stressed by it. What would you do differently the next time you drive your car?

10. And, if you wish, take a few moments to be grateful for having arrived safely at your destination.