Driving can be an intensely stressful activity for some, and this increase in stress and anxiety can in turn increase the risk of accidents occurring and also be quite damaging for your mental health – especially if you are frequently on the road.
This blog will explore how we can use mindfulness techniques to help reduce driving stress, and be more confident and present behind the wheel.
How do you practice mindfulness when driving?
Do not follow along with actual exercises while driving as this can cause distraction.
However, you can:
- Take depth breaths before starting your car or vehicle, concentrate on taking 2 or three good breaths and slowly releasing them before even starting the engine.
- Picture a positive drive and how this will feel, this can also help reduce any anxiety that you may have about the journey ahead.
- Notice any tension in your body and try to relax it if possible
How can I be more present while driving?
During the drive, bring your mind back to what you are doing if you notice it drifting off, listen to the sound of the engine or the noise of the road and feel the steering wheel in your hands, then focus on the road ahead of you noting the turns and undulations.
Try turning any personal communication devices off as our minds are tuned into the sounds of a notification and are conditioned to want to respond to them. Turning them off, not just to silent will remove the temptation and pressure this may bring.
How can you be less anxious driving?
Accept that anxiety will not get you to your destination quicker.
It is a good idea to plan your drive using Google or another mapping system to look at the suggested route and the time that it will take – then when planning your journey, allow an extra 30 minutes on the drive, or more if you want to take a break. This allows for slower traffic or drivers without adding to the pressure of reaching your destination.
Try to let go of anger towards other drivers, getting angry at other road users will only make your driving worse. Try to plan ahead and anticipate what the other driver may do, even if its not in keeping with normal traffic practices. Find a happy place in your mind when you drive and imagine you are there.
Slow down where it is safe to do and you are not impeding other drivers unnecessarily. Slowing down allows you to anticipate other drivers actions and the upcoming road conditions and plan more effectively reducing pressures behind the wheel.
How can WA Management help?
We can also offer bespoke risk assessments to cover any type of driving activity.
Driving Safely Awareness & Mindfulness training courses are essential tools in helping to improve safety while driving. Make sure you don’t miss out on our 10% off deal on these courses, available until the end of August. Simply enter the code ‘driving10’ at checkout to save!
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