How to Be Happier

Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman‘s research into the emotional quality of people’s everyday experiences found that commuting by car ranks dead last. My own experience bears this out; I would hate to go back to commuting by car. Bike commuting has made me a calmer, happier, more relaxed person. How has bike commuting affected you?

15 Responses to “How to Be Happier”

  • todd says:

    never owned a car so can’t compare, but i do know that the ride to-from work has frequently been the best part of my day for about 10 years now. this is followed closely by the rides to/from the grocery store and the rides to/from son’s preschool, now sadly replaced by a 2-minute walk.

  • RJ says:

    I find myself trying to think of errand to do so that I can go ride my bike.

  • Alex says:

    Can you really compar openess to being in a box.

  • Alan says:

    @Todd

    I’m learning to appreciate walking. I’d rate it second to cycling, followed by a nice train ride.

    @RJ

    Me too.

    @Alex

    Nope. :-)

  • Spanky says:

    I’m a man, not a fish. I don’t belong in no glass case.
    I’ve been commuting to work for seven years, and haven’t yet made an exception. I find as soon as I get in a car, feelings of irritation start to mount. It’s Pavlovian now I think.

    Commuting to work is also great in the respect that if you are too busy to go out for other rides, you’re still getting decent exercise. And you arrive at work feeling invigorated instead of starting the day with that irritable languor that driving gives you.

  • Cody G. says:

    I quit smoking after I became a bike commuter.

  • Dave Kee says:

    I am never irritated when I am driving my new red Miata with the top down, but then I am retired and don’t commute anymore.

  • leaf slayer says:

    I’ve never owned a car. I’ve never even had a license. And I’m 41. Even when I was living on the East Coast while in grad school I would walk to campus 2 miles through the snow. It offered me some great quiet time with myself and some exercise. I live in Portland now and commute to work by bike everyday, rain or shine.

  • Elaine says:

    I have a slice of time entirely to myself, which is something I desperately crave, so that alone helps keep me sane. Speaking of which, I’ve discovered that my mental health requires a LOT of exercise for stability & happiness.

    I’ve also lost almost 60 pounds since April of last year, which was about the time I started bike commuting at my new job. (5 miles each way) I also changed my eating habits significantly, but biking was a big part of my life change.

  • Alexander López says:

    Good for you, Elaine! I’m lucky to live near a small mall so most of my errands can be done just by walking one block. Back when I was in High School I stopped using the school bus and I walked 30 minutes to from school. Either walking or cycling makes for a healthy time with myself and my thoughts, which really makes a difference.

  • Alan says:

    @Elaine

    That’s great Elaine – congratulations. I too appreciate the alone time, and the one-on-one time I have with my wife when on the bikes and away from our many responsibilities.

  • Alan says:

    @Alexander

    I always walked or rode my bike to school too. It seems kids today just aren’t outside as much as they were back in my day (60s-70s). I think the computer, cell phone, and video games are a strong pull that distract them from the simple pleasures of being outside. There also seems to be more concern about safety, though I have to doubt that where we live there’s more real danger than there was when I was a kid.

  • Paul says:

    @RJ: I also do that :)

    I’ve been commuting all my life, every single day (and I live in Stockholm).
    The amount of money that I save by not owning a car allows me to take a taxi whenever I need to transport something really big (that won’t fit into my Wald 157 GB) or if my bike breaks down.
    Commuting to and from work is the best part of my day.

  • meli says:

    Ive been riding in SF for many years, and dont have the resentfulness with cars/pedestrians that most of my peers do. Its grown on me to be very patient rider and Im an huge advocate that mutual respect is key. both ways. (we all know it doesnt always work..) I stop at red lights 98% of the time….well Id say. anyhow. Im a happy person and love to meet fellow pedalers at the bike lanes, Im usually to super slow rider in the back chatting :)

    wanted to share this picture (on someone’s pack) I took this past saturday @the tour de fat, here in SF summarizes my point. lovely comments (on this post) – inspirational –
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/meligrosa/2687531703/

  • dave says:

    That shot of the lht in motion gave me deja-vu. Looks like every morning for me. Been commuting for 1.5 years. Best time ever!

 
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