How to Focus to Improve Your Driving and Decrease Your Driving Anxiety

Focus for driving anxietyYour cell phone rings, you’re trying to finish your lunch, you just spotted the coolest dog and one of your shoes is untied. You have zillions of distractions competing for your brain’s attention, and falling prey to them can not only worsen your driving anxiety and driving fears, but it can put you in the 80 percent of crashes a Virginia Tech study says are associated with distracted driving. You can decrease your chances of falling into that statistical mess while decreasing your driving fears and driving anxiety if you teach yourself how to focus.

Your Brain When Focused

When your brain is focused, both the left brain and the right brain are humming along in tandem, according to social psychologist and Psychology Today writer Susan Perry. She notes the trance-like state where time seems to disappear as you enter a flow state. You may actually feel like you are becoming one with whatever activity you’re pursing and the task at hand happens effortlessly. So why can’t this happen all the time?

Why Distractions Win

Distractions, quite frankly, are sneaky. They make you think something is wrong, something that needs attention at this very moment. NeuroLeadership Institute cofounder David Rock told

“Distractions signal that something has changed,” he says.”A distraction is an alert that says, ‘Orient your attention here now; this could be dangerous.'”

You’d be hard pressed to your brain from automatically sending and receiving those distraction signals. Fighting it is not always easy, either. This counts triple when you’re faced with the gads of driving distractions that can increase your driving fears and driving anxiety while decreasing your skills on the road.

How to Train Your Brain

Just like your biceps get bigger from doing curls, practicing focus can beef up your brain’s ability to do so. Meditation has long been a tool used to improve focus or you can simply pick something on which to concentrate and do so on a regular basis or even on a set schedule every day. Books, movies, games and other forms of entertainment can work to improve focus, provided you are actively practicing the task of improving your focus and don’t let the distractions take you hostage.

Removing Distractions

Kicking distractions to the proverbial curb in the first place can also help immensely. While you can’t really control distractions that pop up randomly along the road, points out a slew of distractions inside your car that include:

  • Radio and temperature settings, which you can adjust before you drive
  • Cell phone and mobile devices, which you can shut off for the trip
  • Navigation devices, which you can program in advance
  • Food; no eating while driving! (No shaving or putting on makeup, either)
  • Items rolling around the car’s interior, like water bottles, or otherwise hanging around the floor, like loose change or your dropped cell phone

If you’re already facing driving fears and driving anxiety, it may be extra easy for you to get distracted because you are uncomfortable and are seeking an escape. The more you practice keeping your mind on the road, the less comfortable you may begin to feel.