Want to Make Driving Less Stressful? Try One of These Tips

by on May 26, 2015

nature driving

Driving can be stressful for anyone, and even moreso if you suffer from driving fears, anxiety or a driving phobia. Instead of focusing on the fear, anxiety or scary stories in your head, you can switch your attention to something else that’s much more useful and calming. You’ll still keep your eyes on the road, of course, but your mind can enjoy a much-needed break from all that noise.

Practice Calming Breathing Techniques

The driver’s seat is a perfect place to engage in calming breathing techniques. But before you prime yourself for a deep inhale, don’t forget to exhale first. When panic starts to set in, we typically forget to exhale, which is what leads us to that awful feeling that we’re unable to breathe.

So engage in a deep exhale, followed by an equally deep inhale, and keep repeating it until you feel your entire body begin to relax. Make sure you’re breathing deep enough for your belly to move, a technique known as diaphragmatic breathing we discuss in our post on Making Time to Alleviate Anxiety.

Take Routes that Have Lots of Green

If at all possible, try taking routes that let you cruise by the woods, the ocean, a lake – or at least snake you next to a park or two. The more people are around the green sheen of nature, the less stressed they tend to be, even when they’re driving.

Listen to Learn – or Soothe

Driving time is an ideal time to pop in your favorite CD or audiobook. Soothing music can put you in a relaxed state of mind, and it’s also been shown to improve the moods of those behind the wheel.

An informative or entertaining audiobook can pull your mind into something useful. The same holds true for educational podcasts. If you really want to go for broke, try an audiobook or podcast that’s all about alleviating anxiety. Listening to helpful info can re-energize your mind. And you are, after all, a perfectly captive audience.

Embrace the Alone Time

Think about it. How many times throughout your day are you truly alone, without the hustle and bustle of the ringing phone, dinging emails and texts, screaming children or a nagging boss or coworkers? If you answered few to none, you’re right on par with the rest of us.

Time alone in your car can be deliciously intimate, giving you a chance to review the positive aspects of your day or life and engage in deep introspection. Solitude combined with the quiet hum of the road beneath the wheels and a gorgeous view has the power to transport you into an entirely new dimension.

Enjoy the Time with Friends

If you’re heading out with a pal or significant other, your time behind the wheel can be time to catch up and bond. Sharing time with people you love can be awesome for improving your frame of mind. It also gives you a ready audience if you need to vent about your stress or anxiety.

Even if the thought of driving still initially fills you with anxiety or fear, you now have several tools to ensure it takes a back seat so you can enjoy a far less stressful ride.

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