Be pleasant until ten o’clock in the morning and the rest of the day will take care of itself.
~Elbert Hubbard

Morning commute is a source of stress for millions of Americans. An average person travels 26 minutes to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Commute time is even longer in large metropolitan areas. In a review article on the measurement of wellbeing, Daniel Kahneman and Alan B. Krueger of Princeton University cite their 2004 study of 909 employed women in Texas. The results of this study are interesting. It turns out that women identify morning commute as the most unpleasant activity of all, falling behind working, childcare, and housework. Many students choose to take online classes in part to avoid the dreaded traffic.

What Makes People Most and Least Happy

Table on What Make People Most and Least Happy












This table from the same study describes the overall happiness level of employed women when they are engaged in various activities throughout the day. Let’s look at the results more closely.

What Do People Spend Time On?

As shown in column 1, 68 percent of 909 employed women in the sample engaged in morning commute, and 63 percent also commuted in the evening. Besides working and commuting, other popular activities included relaxing, watching TV, cooking, and having lunch and dinner. Excluding work hours, women spent most their time on relaxing, watching TV, cooking, and socializing after work, and least of their time on intimate relations and exercising.

What Makes People Happy?

Let’s look at what makes women happy and what they don’t enjoy doing at all. The “Net Affect” column shows net satisfaction, or happiness level, after subtracting the average of self-reported negative emotions (frustrated/annoyed, depressed/blue, hassled/pushed around, angry/hostile, worried/anxious, criticized/put down) from the average of positive emotions (happy, warm/friendly, enjoying myself). Not surprisingly, the top three activities that bring the most joy to women include intimate relations, socializing after work, and relaxing. Even though women don’t spend the least amount of time on exercise and intimate relations, these activities bring them much satisfaction.

What Makes People Unhappy?

Looking at the same column, the top three least pleasant activities for women are working and morning and evening commute. Other least favorite activities include childcare, housework, and non-work time spent working on computer. Being at the very bottom of the ranking, “commuting in the morning appears to be particularly unpleasant.” The U-Index measures the proportion of time a woman was engaged in an activity in which the dominant emotion was negative. It confirms the same results.

Takeaways and Final Thoughts

Of course, these are the results of only one study. There is research where childcare and work, for example, ranks much higher. However, the main findings made me think about the following two questions:

  1. How can we make unpleasant activities, such as work and commute, more enjoyable?
  2. How can we make sure that we spend more time on activities we enjoy, such as exercising, intimate relations, and socializing?

This post offers a solution for the first question. [clickToTweet tweet=”Listening to good music can make the least pleasant commute feel like a party! Enjoy our uplifting music #playlist.” quote=”Listening to good music can make the least pleasant commute feel like a party! ” theme=”style3″]

Check out this post to explore other ways to make your morning commute more productive and enjoyable.

If you enjoyed exploring the results of the happiness study presented above, Daniel Kahneman wrote a very insightful and intellectually stimulating book “Thinking, Fast and Slow” on how people think and make decisions. He won the Nobel Prize in Economics for his research in 2002.

Positive Effects of Music

Music can positively affect concentration, motivation, and productivity. As you probably experienced yourself, listening to good music can do the trick to offset the discomfort of morning commute. Recent research supports beneficial effects of music on our emotions and brain functions. In the column in Conscious Lifestyle magazine, Barry Goldstein, a composer, producer and author of The Secret Language of the Heart: How to Use Music, Sound, and Vibration as Tools for Healing and Personal Transformation, writes that music can positively affect our brains.

In fact, music can help people:

  • to stimulate emotion;
  • to regain memories;
  • to accelerate learning by forming new neural connections; and
  • to engage attention.

Uplifting Music Playlist

We have put together an uplifting playlist that will make your morning commute better. Start your day right with these 25 songs! [clickToTweet tweet=”Releasing morning stress and improving your mood early in the day will set yourself up for success. ” quote=”Releasing morning stress and improving your mood early in the day will set yourself up for success.” theme=”style3″]

Make sure to subscribe to our Spotify account, so you can listen to all our new playlists!


25 Uplifting Songs for Your Morning Commute

Uplifting Music Playlist on Youtube

  1. High – Lighthouse Family

2. Happy – Pharrell Williams

  1. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

  1. Walking On Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves

  1. A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got) feat. Q-Tip & GoonRock – Fergie

  1. Born This Way – Lady Gaga

  1. Rolling in the Deep – Adele

  1. Love My Life – Demarco

  1. Diamonds – Rihanna

  1. Firework– Katy Perry

  1. Love My Life – Robbie Williams

  1. Alors On Danse – Stromae

  1. Demi Lovato – Confident

  1. Counting Stars – OneRepublic

  1. La La La – Naughty Boy ft. Sam Smith

  1. This Is What You Came For ft. Rihanna – Calvin Harris

  1. Can’t Stop the Feeling! – Justin Timberlake

  1. How Deep Is Your Love – Calvin Harris&Disciples

  1. Lean On- Major Lazer & DJ Snake

  1. Wake Me Up – Avicii

  1. Cut Your Teeth (Kygo Remix) – Kyla La Grange

  1. Wild Eyes – Broiler feat. Ravvel

  1. Be As You Are – Mike Posner

  1. Moves like Jagger – Marroon 5 and Christina Aguillera

  1. Best Day of My Life – American Authors

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