464: How to overcome the fear of driving - support for a new driver’s anxiety
This week we are responding to a question about how to overcome the the fear of driving a car.
“I’m a new driver and would love to hear about tips for calming anxiety before driving as well as what to do if you start to feel panicked while driving.”
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Points covered in this episode:
As exciting it can be to get a driver’s license, the thought of getting out on the road can be pretty terrifying for some people, especially new drivers. The fear of driving is a big concern for a lot of our listeners who suffer with anxiety. It may be fear of driving on your own for the first time, or every time for older drivers, or being a passenger in a vehicle with somebody else driving where anxiety is present due to a sense of loss of control.
Shann & her daughter Marin’s Story
Shann - Loves to drive but does not like how if feels to be a passenger
Marin - Is a new driver and feels the weight of the responsibility behind the wheel.
The chance she could hurt someone.
The constantly changing roadways
And aggressive drivers who tailgate.
What helps calm anxiety about driving?
Get clear and identify what you fear about driving
It's useful to get clear on what it is exactly that causes you anxiety about driving. You might like to get some paper and jot down your thoughts on driving. Then you can use EFT Tapping to start diffusing your fears and help yourself feel more confident and calm on the road.
Example Tapping set-up statements:
Even though I’m afraid to hurt myself or someone else, I love and accept myself
Even though I feel anxious before driving, I love and accept myself
Even though I struggle driving in lots of traffic, I love and accept myself
Even though I worry I’ll have an anxiety attack while driving, I love and accept myself
Plus you can tap for your loved ones. Listen in to hear Ananga explain how Tapping for others works and how it can be helpful.
Get more practice driving
As much as it seems counter-intuitive to someone afraid to drive, driving is one of the only ways to get beyond your fear. You simply have to practice even if you start with short loops of travel expanding them as you get more comfortable behind the wheel.
Leaning into challenges with driving, like driving at night, or busy junctions helps us expand into the experience rather than letting anxiety shrink us into avoidance.
Any time you make a journey, no matter how small, note your triumph down. Make sure you sit and breathe in that you did this. Give yourself a high five for getting more experience on the road.
Look and Plan Ahead
Use online maps to look ahead for rest stops, or parking options when setting out on a new drive. Gather as much intel as you can to make your journey easier for you.
Allow for extra time when you travel
Feeling rushed and pressured increases stress and anxiety. When you compress your anxiety with expectations and thoughts of "I should do this or that" you are in danger of your anxiety expanding and escalating.
Allowing extra time and being gentle with yourself helps keep your journey from causing you more stress.
Make a driving care kit:
Bach Flowers Rescue Remedy spray or pastilles
Lavender essential oil
A bottle of water, or your favorite herbal tea
An uplifting playlist
Learn some breathing practices you can use while driving
The long exhale will help you feel calm
Belly breathing will keep you relaxed and focused
Catch our 4 part Overcome Your Fear of Driving mini-course on our Patreon where we guide you through the steps, techniques and practical tips that can help you feel calm and in control behind the wheel.