Good afternoon everyone! In the past couple of months, I've started something I thought I would never do again...
Driving lessons. *Exaggerated gasp*
But really, this is a huge step for me. I first started to learn to drive when I left school, quickly decided that I absolutely hated it and found that it gave me severe anxiety, so therefore I quit. Three years on, and I've recently signed up for driving again and can honestly say that I'm finding it much easier! So today, I thought I'd share with you all some tips that I've found to be useful to ease my anxiety while driving, enjoy:
1. Motivation - If you're considering stepping into the driver's seat, then there must be something urging you to do so. Whether it's for travel purposes, to make it easier to see family, for your career, etc. think about that as you take the first step.
2. Calming Techniques - With anxiety and panic attacks, comes our personal coping mechanisms. It could be mindfulness, deep breathing, positive affirmations, whatever works for you - I often find that these tend to work best around 10-15 minutes before the lesson itself.
3. Preparation - Almost two months in, and still before every lesson, I watch a couple of 'How To' videos so I feel confident in what I'm doing before I have to it for real. I can honestly say that this one in particular has really helped me, as it helps me to feel more positive regarding my driving ability.
4. Slow and Steady - When I started driving last year, I decided against setting a personal exam deadline as I much prefer the idea of going at my own pace and capabilities. I'd prefer to take more lessons but feel safe and comfortable driving than rush through it for the sake of saving a little money.
5. Gradually Ease Yourself In - I've set up a little checklist of sorts, to tick them off once I feel confident in that particular area of driving. Some are very basic such as 'Drive 20mph', 'Turn right at a junction', whereas others are 'Parallel park' and 'Reverse bay park', etc. and I'm amazed at how many I have ticked off already and it does help me to see my progress after every week.
6. Be on Time - Make sure that everything is prepared beforehand, including your money, provisional driver's license, you've arranged the time and meeting place, etc. so it reduces your anxiety in the lead-up. Also, the few hours before the lesson can be the worst as tends to be when the anxiety creeps in so during this time I tend to keep myself distracted through gaming or watching TV so I have something else to focus on.
7. Focus - While driving, make sure you are aware of yourself and your surroundings at all times, try not to let your mind wander about work, family or what you're eating next... keep focused on driving and ensure that you know what and who is around you as you drive.
8. Personal Preference - There's plenty of choice around driving, such as to choose a male or female instructor, automatic or manual drive, or an instructor that specialises in nervous drivers, choose whichever option is best for you to help ease the anxiety.
So there's some of my tips on overcoming driving anxiety. Naturally, I am still nervous about my lessons but I know that I am progressing and that my confidence is improving. I hope this post was helpful to you, and let me know how you get on if you start driving soon!
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