Driving Fears and Phobia: Solutions

In our previous blog we discussed the origins of fears and phobias, in this blog we\’ll discuss solutions.


4 Step Action Plan

Freeing yourself from a long-held belief takes time. As the old saying goes, it didn’t happen overnight, it won’t be solved overnight! It can take 21 days for the brain/body connection to accept a new routine – so says science – so preparation and commitment is key. Till the new pathway is formed, it may feel painful at times, it seems our deepest held beliefs are in a similar area of that brain that deals with pain!

This repetition method is why musicians can drift off when performing, why car drivers can’t explain how they are able to do a succession of manoeuvers without thinking; the process becomes like a reflex.

No therapy is one size fits all, so always consult your medical practitioner before making any changes.

Acknowledge – you have a problem – When did it start? How severe is it, really? What are the reasons you tell yourself for not driving? What do others say about it? Because no one is totally able to see themselves objectively. At which point do you feel the stress peak? Where does it manifest in the body? How do you soothe yourself? Does this hamper any progress? (I.e. are you retreating before making any super efforts?)

Like flying, driving does have its dangers but overall, like flying, they are tragedies when they occur, so tragedy is not the norm, it’s a tragedy – see life in context. Moreover, it has been shown that 25-33% of driving accidents are the result of a nervous driver so any anxiety is actually putting you at risk.

Fear of driving, motorways or travelling in general is not an uncommon problem, but it is one which, especially for suburban residents and families, can severely hamper quality of life.

Identify – how it affects you, where it affects you – where are you holding the tension in your body? Can you roll it out of your shoulders or belly breath it in then out?

This is where additional therapies can come in. Working on the physical reactions, like regulating your breathing is a fundamental method of returning to a position of rationality and rest. Irregular breathing, signals irregular thinking – it’s all connected.

Where does it originate – childhood, recent events – related to driving or not, chances are it has its roots in an event we may barely remember.

This can manifest itself in manifold ways, follow the trail of memories all the way back and be sure to explore any and all avenues you are presented with. Try to connect the dots – perhaps you had an authoritative parent who made you feel irresponsible and dampened your self-confidence; maybe, as a child, you were bumped by another car and now suffer anxiety in any vehicle; travel sickness may have plagued all your school trips, or more simply, a parent was a nervous/aggressive driver, thus muddying your idea of what driving is really like.

This is where riding with an experienced driver, but also a trained instructor, can actually make all the difference; not only are Surepass’ ADI’s some of the top in their class, but we also aim to match the needs of the student with the skills of the teacher.

Research methods of coping related to your particular fear: CBT, hypnotherapy – hypnotherapy works best in the form of positive affirmations; exposure therapy, where repeated, safe, exposure to the issue leads to a decrease in the response – and so on.

Even something as simple as talking therapy helps a great many people overcome a variety of deeply held beliefs that, when brought to the light of day, can be addressed much more easily.

With the knowledge that the brain is merely being lazy, defaulting down a path it knows well and feels comfortable travelling down, we are equipped to try to ‘do’ the opposite. This requires time, effort and training! This method is actually art of the premise behind AA’s 12 step program.

Be help/Seek help – Try to see the situation objectively, and to do this will require more than one person, because no one can see themselves objectively. Most importantly, be kind and forgiving to yourself, we all have struggles and we learn the lessons and emerge better people. And it’s often during trials and testing’s that we form relations with others we’d never had thought possible. Reach out to family, friends, colleagues and neighbours – you’d be surprised to hear who’s felt the same.\"Portrait

Practice – in order to create the new-normal response, you need to create new pathways which means: repeat, repeat, repeat!

Practice makes perfect.

Finally; pass it on! The best way to remember any new skill is by teaching another; it feels really good too.

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