One of the things I’ve noticed about getting over driving anxiety is that there are no “instant fixes.” Everyone wishes there were, and truth be told, I do too.
The real source of driving anxiety are the negative internal links between your brain and your emotions. They are learned neurological responses that we have to unlearn. Getting over your driving anxiety means learning how to do things differently.
If you’re struggling with driving anxiety, here’s some free tips from the Driving Peace program that will help you bring an effective combo of skill, practice, and patience to get over your anxiety.
Tips For Getting Over Your Driving Anxiety
1). Learning new skills
Have you heard that saying about the definition of insanity? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. When we’re stuck in negative patterns that aren’t getting us where we want to go, the only way to experience different results is to do things differently. Our old, “familiar” behaviors clearly don’t work anymore.
For example, I used to obsess about the times when I knew I’d have to drive, like taking my kids to school. I’d start worrying about that 7:30AM trip to school around dinnertime the night before. I’d imagine having to do it, and of course, I always imagined the worst. I’d work myself up into such a frenzy about driving the next morning that I was practically guaranteed to have a panic attack. Obviously, the way I handled it wasn’t very useful. My only “skill” (if you can call it that) was to worry.
My fear about upcoming driving began to change when I learned about a new skill called mindfulness. Mindfulness is one of the core reasons Driving Peace is such an effective way of getting over your driving anxiety.
With mindfulness, I had a way to do things differently, which basically meant I had another option besides just worrying. With this new skill in my toolbox, the “results” of knowing I’d have to drive in the near future began to change because I learned to stop worrying about it so much.
2). Practicing new skills
Having a new skill is great because it means you have a new way to respond to an old situation. But just having a new way isn’t very useful unless you actually choose it. We have to practice the new skills we learn in order to make them feel natural and automatic.
Once I knew I had the option to respond with mindfulness instead of worry about upcoming driving, I had to exercise that new choice. I had to do the work required of me to act differently so I could have a different outcome. In other words, I had to put what I’d learned into practice.
I know…easier said than done, right?
Absolutely right. I’ve found the biggest killer of putting new skills into practice is procrastination. Because doing new things is hard, we tend to want to avoid them.
Perfectionism and fear of making mistakes leads to procrastination, which is one part of what’s keeping you from getting over your driving anxiety. With that in mind, here are 5 simple ways you can overcome procrastination and anxiety disorder and actually practice new behaviors that scare you.
3). Learning patience
The final ingredient for getting over anxiety is being patient with yourself. In some ways, I think this is the hardest part. Anxious people tend to be perfectionists, and perfectionists tend to have very high expectations of themselves.
I try to look at it this way: I didn’t develop anxiety overnight, and I’m probably not going to develop calm and serenity overnight, either. My issues with anxiety came on gradually over a long period of time — years, in fact. Real anxiety recovery will likely take persistence and repeated practice. It’s like learning to play an instrument.
Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make progress. And progress, not perfection, is what getting over your driving anxiety is all about. Gentle, steady, persistence practice is much more effective in the long run than extreme measures will ever be. No “instant fix,” remember?
As Andrew Cunningham says, anxiety recovery is very doable. Believing it’s possible is the first step towards change. Skills, practice, and patience are the real fuel that leads to permanent, lasting change. And change, uncomfortable as it is, is the key to getting over your driving anxiety, and that’s what the Driving Peace program is all about.