Thursday, 28 June 2012

Driving Anxiety: How to cope when you're going over 100km/h!

We all know driving is dangerous, but we casually get into our cars and drive everyday without thinking more than once about safety - putting on our seatbelts, checking mirrors, and we're off to work, or school, etc.

Until you feel that sense of uneasiness welling up from your stomach, or the fog and pressure building in your head.... Maybe you feel too hot, or cold.... Maybe your vision starts blurring and you start sensing the worst.... And then you end up in a full-blown panic attack, speeding down the highway in a giant metal weapon.

Having panic attacks is extremely rough and having them while in control of a vehicle is monumentally worse.

I have some tips for those of you conquering this issue in your life right now:

1) Deep-breathing techniques

If you perform some deep-breathing you might find that your physiological response tones down enough that you can actually reduce the panic feeling and retreat from the edge of the full-blown panic attack.
If not, at least you will be able to calm yourself sufficiently to pull over.

2) Distracting yourself:
-by adding numbers on license plates you see
-really focusing on what other people in their cars are doing
-talking to yourself, or using a hands-free device to call your friends or parents (or if you are secretive about your panic, your local crisis line). Sometimes just talking with someone, about anything or your particular situation, is extremely helpful for distracting you from the physical or mental stimulation that was pushing your anxiety.

3) Have some snacks and water on hand. Eating a few bites of apple or some popcorn or veggies might help you to refocus yourself, while giving you a bit of nutrition.

4) Track your panic - see if you can find a root cause or causes. If it happens around the same time of day or on the same stretch of road, try to prepare yourself by knowing that it will likely be rough but because you have made it through before, you will again, and again. Gradually, through exposure, and pure Conqueror-spirit, you will be able to drive through those tough spots.

5) Are there other things in your life that you are ignoring or repressing? Relationship or school/work issues? These may be making themselves known in the form of panic attacks in stressful (ie: driving) situations. If you haven't already, talk to a close friend or relative about what's going on for you. If that doesn't help, or doesn't help sufficiently enough to reduce your anxiety, see your doctor or a local counselor.

6) Finally, if these practical approach tips aren't working for you, speak with a local counselor or your doctor about other ways you can manage your anxiety while driving. It may be helpful for you to try some herbal or pharmaceutical anti-anxiety medications.

While you are working out what methods will work the best for you, you can always take the bus on days when it just absolutely won't work for you to drive. Try to find a carpool for your work or school; this will allow you to be more productive on the way to and from work, as well.

Note: I do not advocate avoiding anxiety-triggers, as that will only compound the problem; however, I do advocate remaining safe while figuring out what is best for yourself in these hard times.
If it is for you to carpool or bus while you practice driving at night or on the weekends, then do so.

Be safe, stay calm and Conquer on!

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  1. One thing should be kept in mind by the teachers and parents that it is not necessary that the child who suffers from ADHD possess all the three problems. There are various instances in which the child is not able to pay complete attention in the class and they are not impulsive as well as hyperactive. This kind of ADHD is called ADHD-PI. ADHD-PI stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder- Predominantly Inattentive).

  2. Driving anxiety is a very common thing that affect most of drivers around the world. Some driver feel fear when they are behind the wheel. In this case, they are in the situation called driving anxiety.