Looking for a jumpstart to a happier day? It begins with your commute to work. While it isn’t feasible for everyone, biking or walking leads to a happier you. Does this count in a torrential downpour? Pretty sure I would be ecstatic in a car versus on foot in a monsoon.

Another way to feel happier is using public transport. The happiness study is from UEA’s (University of East Anglia) Norwich Medical School. Using data from 18,000 UK commuters over 10 years, they were able to compile a happiness index. Researchers should study how thrilled people are to be stuck in Atlanta traffic.

What researchers found was commuters who ditched their car were better able to concentrate and under less strain than those behind the wheel. It doesn’t just make them happier. Those able to walk or bike to work had sizable health benefits. The morning commute became part of their exercise routine.

Out of the 18,000 commuters looked at, 73% commuted by car. 13% walked and 3% biked to work. About 11% used public transportation to get to their daily job. Those that had a physically active commute scored higher on well-being measurements.

A small percentage that switched modes of transport from car to active found an increase in happiness. Adam Smith, lead researcher, talked about the results. “Our study shows that the longer people spend commuting in cars, the worse their psychological well-being. And correspondingly, people feel better when they have a longer walk to work.”

If you want to stay out the elements, switch to public transportation if you can. It offers the ability to read, relax and if you’re brave enough, socialize.

Those of us stuck in our cars will continue our slow descent into a rage filled world. Or, at the very least, we will know every top 40 pop song by heart by week’s end. Damn you, Seacrest.

The full study was published in the journal Preventive Medicine.


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