Driving anxiety is a pervasive fear and can range in different degrees of severity. The fear of driving can be as little as a small hesitation to drive while anxiety is always present up to downright refusing to drive. You can overcome driving anxiety.
Driving anxiety or phobia is apart of agoraphobia, which is an anxiety disorder in which you fear and avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic.
Millions of people each year suffer from some driving anxiety but can overcome driving anxiety following a few critical steps.
Reading this article is putting you one step closer to easing and helping your fear of driving. It won’t be an instant fix as it takes time to learn how to calm your anxiety.
Symptoms Of Driving Anxiety
- Dry mouth
- Shortness of breath
- Sweaty palms
What Causes Driving Anxiety
Several things may be causing your anxious driving. You may have had an accident that triggered your fear of driving.
You may have driven through a bad storm where the rain and wind made it hard to see and drive.
Road rage will raise your blood pressure and cause anxiety as well will getting lost and not knowing where you are.
Driving somewhere you are unfamiliar with and don’t know the roads can cause your anxiety.
There are so many different factors that can lead to your anxiety, and the first step to overcoming your fear is identifying what caused you to be anxious in the first place.
Tips To Overcome Your Driving Anxiety
Affirmations – First, start by coming up with and writing some positive affirmations about your driving skills. Write down on a piece of paper, different phrases about your ability to stay calm while driving.
Before you go driving, say these positive affirmations out loud a few times. To help reinforce positive thoughts in your mind, also say them at night before you go to bed and then again when you first wake up.
Related: Positive Affirmations For Anxiety
Eat Healthily – Try to avoid foods such as pastries, white bread, and soft drinks, which are loaded with sugar. Consuming lots of sugar can trigger anxiety.
Caffeine Intake – Consuming a large amount of caffeine, such as drinking coffee or drinking soda, is known to trigger anxiety. I limit myself to one small cup of coffee in the morning and only drink soda on certain occasions. Doing this has helped lower my anxiety levels.
Face Your Fear – You need to come face to face with your driving fear to conquer it. If you don’t take action, you will never overcome driving anxiety.
Avoiding your fear only reinforces your anxiety and strengthens it.
Desensitization – This therapeutic technique involves taking small steps to overcome your anxiety.
Start by sitting in your car. Please turn on the engine and pay attention to how it sounds. Say your affirmations while sitting there.
Getting over your anxiety will take time. It may take a few hours, or it may take a few days. Don’t give up.
As your anxiety calms, try taking the car around the block. If your anxiety returns, pull over until it goes away.
When you feel more confident, you can try the highway. Get on the on-ramp, stay in the slow lane, and then get off the next exit. Bring a friend with you if that helps your anxiety.
Control Your Thoughts And Emotions – Learn to control your negative thoughts and emotions.
Remember your positive affirmations and say them. Pay attention to how you feel when your anxious and handle and calm yourself. Be in tune with your body and control your breathing.
Take A Driver Training Course – Driver education courses teach people the things they need to know about driving.
You will gain experience behind the wheel as a certified instructor sits next to you and helps coach you.
After taking a few driving courses, you will find your anxiety is not as bad as before because you are more prepared.
Listen To Music – Turn on music in your car, something that is upbeat that will help keep your mind off your anxious thoughts.
Yes, music can be a distraction, but only if you let it distract you and listening to high volumes.
Keep your music at a low volume and enjoy the ride.
Car Pool – You could consider carpooling if you are having trouble with the options I have listed above.
Being with other people and engaging in conversation will help you stop thinking anxious thoughts. Some people are more distracted while speaking; however, so consider this one thoroughly.
Even though anxiety can seem painful, and it may limit you, remember fear will not kill you.
Instead of fighting your anxiety, learn to realize it’s there. It is helping to keep you alert and observe your surroundings.
Try to stay present in the moment and take deep breaths rather than short, shallow breaths. Remember your affirmations and pay close attention to your thoughts.
Negative thinking will cause anxious thoughts. Think positive and notice all the good around you. Go slow and be a safe driver.