I live in Brighton a place which, since May, has been one of the epicentres of the Southern Rail chaos. If you haven’t heard about it a. lucky you and b. where do you live? Can I move there? Basically the trains have been a mess since May when members of the ASLEF and RMT unions started striking to protest proposed changes driver’s roles on new trains. The BBC has a good summary in their article Southern Rail Strike: What’s It About?’.
If you have experienced travelling with Southern Rail recently then you have my sympathies. I imagine you must be feeling pretty mad and frustrated, I do too. But I also sympathise with the workers striking, it’s a tricky situation. Recently whilst on a disrupted train (which has basically been every train I’ve been on in the past 8 months) I realised Southern Rail has actually helped me learn some valuable mindfulness lessons.
My three mindfulness lessons learnt from the Southern Rail Chaos
(with a hint of sarcasm)
How to go with the flow
You can’t be a control freak in the Southern Rail chaos. Over the past 8 months Southern Rail has been helping me with my anxiety. After the initial period of anxiety shooting through the roof due to the inevitable fact of being late, I learned to go with the flow. Anxiety can be caused by a desire to control everything. Once you travel with Southern Rail you realise there’s no point trying to control everything. Some things are just completely out of your control and you should just deal with what happens when it happens.
It’s about the journey, not the destination.
Travelling with Southern Rail actually helps to illustrate this mindfulness point. Whether or not you reach your destination is irrelevant, it’s all about the journey and it will take as long as it takes.
Don’t misdirect anger just to get it out
It’s easy to get angry amidst the Southern Rail chaos. But actually your anger ends up being directed at either the station staff, or the other passengers. This doesn’t help anyone, it isn’t their fault. The people you’re really angry at are the big bosses, high up, who you’ll never see. It’s the system. So, when you’re on the train anger is totally pointless. It’ll make you and everyone else feel worse. Better to share a smile with your fellow passengers, and maybe crack open the mince pies if you’re travelling this festive season.
So, yes, there’s some sarcasm in this post. But, I do believe in reframing situations and, when something is entirely out of your control, it’s often best to see what you can learn from it. If you’re travelling on Southern Rail this Christmas then good luck and remember to be mindful!