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5 Ways To Overcome Anxiety When Driving

For many of us driving is unavoidable. Whether it’s on a commute to work, dropping the kids off at school, picking up the shopping or even as part of our day job, we need to get from A to B. Driving is something that can connect different parts of our day. That’s why if you struggle with anxiety when driving it can be a real challenge. If the activity that breaks up our day into separate parts is anxiety-inducing, that means that our whole day might be tainted by worry.

Fear of driving is common and can be caused by anything from past accidents or fear of accidents to driving in unfamiliar places and a fear of losing control.

Anxiety when driving can go beyond simple nervousness. For some, it may cause negative ruminations and sensations of dread and panic. Ben Fishel offers counselling and hypnotherapy that helps you find ways to manage and overcome anxiety while driving, so you can avoid unnecessary worries and fear behind the wheel.

Here are 5 ways you can overcome anxiety while driving.

Identify triggers

Everyone has a different experience of anxiety while driving. Some people might start to get anxious the moment they wake up when they think of the commute to work while others may get triggered when they hear the car door open. Knowing the moments that cause your mind to race and body to tense up can help you take control and consciously relax in those moments, so you don’t go down a worry spiral.

Distraction

Anxiety is a problem of where our unconscious mind places our attention. Instead of focusing on where we’re going or the song on the radio or how comfortable we are in the car seat, our minds focus on generating scenarios about what could go wrong or noticing how hard our hands are gripping the wheel or how fast our heart is beating. While we don’t want to be distracted drivers, the reality is that our anxiety will distract us. In order to calm our nerves, we may want to listen to music, talk to a friend or even just focus on some aspect of the road that helps us pay attention to our surroundings.

Positive Visualisation

If anxiety is a mental rehearsal of things going wrong, then positive visualisation and rehearsal can help us to feel more confident about a situation going well. When we are in a relaxed state our mind is open to learning new ways of doing things.

Put simply, at one point we didn’t know how to ‘drive while being anxious’ – we had to unintentionally and unconsciously learn how to do that. Fortunately, through visualisation, we can re-learn how to ‘drive while calm.’

Self-compassion

When we are critical of ourselves, our body stays in a state of fight-or-flight, whereas when we practice self-compassion, we go into a state of calm and confidence. If you notice that you’re anxious about driving, it’s important to know that it’s a common experience and not something that you’ve chosen. Self-blame and self-criticism will only intensify your anxiety, whereas kindness and patience will reduce the power that fear has over you. 

Hypnotherapy and Psychotherapy

Hypnotherapy and psychotherapy can be effective ways to identify the root causes of your driving anxiety, re-frame and change negative thought patterns, build confidence and reprogram automatic responses. Through gradual exposure to the fear and by building the internal resources to approach the challenge, you can start to feel more at ease behind the wheel.

Ready to make a change?

If you’d like to see how personal guidance and professional support can help you, reach out to Ben today and set up an initial 15-minute consultation.

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