You have just taken your driving test and passed with flying colors. You are so excited to start driving by yourself, but then you feel that familiar knot in the pit of your stomach. You remember all those times you were anxious behind the wheel. Driving is not easy for people who suffer from anxiety! These are some steps you can take to make it easier on yourself:
Have an Instructor
Having an instructor is a great way to learn how to drive because they can teach you the skills and tricks that will allow you to be a safe driver.
In addition, having an instructor means less pressure on yourself because their full attention is not constantly needed. In fact, if your instructor knows about your anxiety, it could help them understand what you are going through, making them better at helping you deal with tough times while driving.
However, it has been found that sometimes instructors – especially those who have not experienced similar issues themselves – may give off signals or behaviors indicating irritation or annoyance during lessons – even after being informed of a student’s mental health condition. If this happens regularly, students should keep looking for new instructors with whom they get along well.
Being proactive is a great way to prepare for driving with anxiety. It is better to create a plan ahead of time, so you know what steps you have to take when it comes down to the moment. For example, if your anxiety tends to worsen in busy or unfamiliar places, avoid those locations until you feel more comfortable and confident behind the wheel.
Remember It Is All in the Mind
Anxiety is all in the mind. Driving without anxiety is not only possible but achievable for those who are willing to put in time and effort into learning how to manage this disorder behind the wheel.
Remembering that it’s all in the mind will help you remember the severity of anxiety is only in your head. In addition, knowing this will help you combat some of those strong physical symptoms that can make driving so scary for an anxious individual.
Use Safe Distractions
Safe distractions are activities that keep your mind occupied but are also safe for you to focus on.
Some examples of distractions could be:
– Listening to music or audiobooks during the drive.
– Playing games with yourself using words and sounds (i.e., counting by twos up to fifty).
– Watching movies about driving – this is a good option if you’re starting in an area where there’s not much traffic around yet.
Once again, remember that every person has triggers when it comes to anxiety while behind the wheel. Therefore, the strategies listed above may work well for one individual, but they might not work at all for another. That’s why it’s so important to try different methods until you find the one that works best for you!
Engage Your Senses
This means changing up how you think about the task of driving. Rather than focusing on what could go wrong, focus on something else that will keep your mind busy and off those anxiety-producing thoughts. Engaging with your senses can help a great deal in this area because it’ll give you an automatic distraction from all those worries going through your head!
Focus on Your Symptoms and Not the Thoughts
Focusing on your symptoms is another great way to take your mind off of anxious thoughts. If you experience physical symptoms, it is essential to focus on the sensation itself and allow yourself to feel what you are feeling without judgment or resistance towards it. This will help bring you into the present moment rather than worrying about what might happen in the future based on how things are now.
Breathe and Take It Easy
Breathing is a simple, yet powerful way to control anxiety. You can do it anywhere at any time! Breathing slowly will help you bring your heart rate back down and calm yourself in stressful situations. Take a deep breath by inhaling through the nose for four counts, hold for two counts, exhale through the mouth for six counts. Repeat this twice more or until you feel calmer.
In conclusion, having anxiety is a normal human experience, but it doesn’t have to hold you back from the things that matter. With a little bit of work and much patience, driving with anxiety can be very possible! Being proactive by using these strategies will ensure your success as a driver. Remember, this is all in your head, so there’s no reason to worry about what others think of how you drive when you’re out on the road.