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How to overcome your driving anxiety

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

I'm Jodie and I work online with women all over the world to overcome their driving anxiety. I give women back their confidence to get in the car and drive. 1:1 sessions get to the root cause of overwhelm. Which, consciously they have been unable to resolve. Helping them to see how well they are doing building their confidence behind the wheel.

During this blog you’ll learn why you have a fear of driving. Why you have failed to overcome your driving fear. And How to overcome your driving anxiety and get your confidence back.

Many people think that driving exposure or more driving lessons will help them to overcome their fear of the road. But the simple fact is that your driving fear is not related to driving. It’s overwhelm that manifests primarily in driving. It’s why I stated in my recent blog – How my panic felt like an out-of-body experience. At first my anxiety started whilst driving but soon it bled into all other areas of my life. My anxiety wasn’t really about driving; it was about overwhelm!

Keeping busy, living a full life, not being good at resting. These are some things I often hear when having an initial chat with anxiety clients. The physical 5 symptoms of anxiety, and their racing thoughts often parallel the busy life they live. They think that by keeping busy and not letting anxious thoughts in. Actively driving each day that the fear will go away. But it’s evident how it’s not working for them. It didn’t for me either.

One of the reasons why hypnosis was right for me and why I changed careers to become a hypnotherapist is because I was so busy trying to figure things out. Being so productive that I was overwhelming my conscious mind. Actively avoiding overwhelm and I couldn’t continue that way. Living in a perpetual state of do, do, do lead me to what felt like an out-of-body experience whilst driving. Trying to overthink myself out of the problem wasn’t helping.

When you consider that your conscious mind is responsible for 5% of your minds daily processing. I knew there was more to gain from working with my subconscious mind. I believe it took over when I just couldn’t’ cope any more. That led me to believe it might be the answer to my anxiety. Considering that most of your actions stem from the subconscious mind. I knew it could help me to overcome anxiety and this concept fascinated me. And it still does!

The subconscious mind develops and grows with all the experiences you encounter throughout your life. And whilst you may not recall a particular time your subconscious mind stores it. It’s as if you have a large library in your mind. With books filled from the very day you are born.

Something which happened years ago, a belief, a thought, a feeling or emotion can trigger a similar feeling when driving and thus you feel this fear every time you get in the car. This feeling, thought, belief or emotion may have been stored there for years. Or, it may have been something which occurred yesterday. Every time you encounter an anxious feeling or thought when you think about driving or when you get in the car the fear increases. A connection of fear becomes fixed. Continuing on loop further embedding the fear each and every time you get behind the wheel.

Remembering that the No.1 job of the subconscious mind is to protect you and keep you safe. It alerts you to these feelings so that you are aware that there is danger. However, sometimes these memories, thoughts, feelings or beliefs need updating. There was Once a positive intention behind keeping you safe. The change in behaviour it induces may be causing you problems. No longer able to drive without fear of what if's thoughts. The subconscious mind can do such a good job; it keeps you too safe. When this gets out of control, it keeps you safe when there isn’t any danger at all. It’s a perceived danger which you are being alerted to, feeding the anxiety more and more. Feeling like you’ll never be able to feel comfortable and enjoy driving again.

Why you have failed to overcome your driving fear?

The number one reason why anxious drivers fail to overcome their fear. They try to think themselves out of the problem. The problem with thinking yourself out of the problem is that, it teaches your subconscious mind to focus on the fear more. Practising the worst-case scenario, so you’ll be prepared if they happen but all you do it teach your mind new perceived dangers. You are essentially practising being anxious when driving.

The good news is; you are doing a good job. Bear with me… you already have the skill to practice something until you are doing it well. OK, it’s not working for you in this current guise but… I can help with that.

How hypnosis helps you. It gives you a safe environment to practice driving from the safety of your own home. You can practice driving (maybe even making a few mistakes) however you can see, feel hear yourself doing it well. By practising this during hypnosis your subconscious mind pays attention. By painting a new picture, it helps to shift the over protective beliefs of safety to a normal reaction to danger. Still helping you to keep you safe when you need it. But allowing you to take control during the other times when only perceived danger is present. Training your mind to see the things you are doing well. Building your confidence with each session and each time you get into the car. Resolving any feelings, thoughts, beliefs or emotions which may have been hindering. Helping you to response suitably to the situation at hand.

How to overcome your driving anxiety?

To stop your driving anxiety, you first need to find the root cause. For some it’s a belief that they can overcome the fear, to start spotting what they are doing right. No longer focusing on any mistakes you may have made in the car. Try focusing on what you did well. Follow my social channels for more info on how to challenge any anxious thoughts you may have.

Some gain confidence by imaging seeing themselves doing it well. The mind is a curious thing, and because the subconscious mind has trouble distinguishing between true and false. If you imagine yourself coping well and driving well it starts to look for evidence to back up this belief. You can teach your mind how to think. When you think of the worst case scenario, try flipping a coin and imaging the best outcome. The more you do this, the more the subconscious mind looks for it. It’s like when you buy a new car and suddenly you see that car everywhere, having never noticed it before.

For others regression in hypnosis is very beneficial. |It’s how I was able to overcome my driving anxiety so quickly. It doesn’t change the memories stored in the subconscious mind. It simply adjusts and reduces the emotion stored as the time of the incident. The incident may have nothing or everything related to driving. For me it was related to a panic attack on the motorway. Gaining insight from a session can be very useful in understanding how this fear has evolved. However, it was the updated belief that helped me to reduce my fear.

Learning to relaxed your autonomic nervous system can be all that you need to feel in control of your body and mind. Whilst you may experience anxiety as racing thoughts. Breathing deeply can help you to calm any panic you might be experiencing. Breathe calm into driving panic.

Breathing calm signals the subconscious mind that you are OK, and it can allow you to take control. By teaching the subconscious mind you can control any physical sensations such as dizziness or sweaty palms. In turn, you train the subconscious mind to remove the filters which may have been using. Removing any distortions of danger, it was alerting you to. Helping you to see, feel and hear what is actually happening, able to recognize any anxiety and calming it.

And because I know individual therapy isn’t suited to everyone. I have used both my own and professional experience to develop 4 self-hypnosis downloads. Me again therapy's trance-formational library was designed for you based on the common anxieties many women drivers experience.

They have been developed to work together to overcome specific parts of the road. They can be purchased individually, helping you to pinpoint parts of the driving which fill YOU with fear. Junctions, islands, motorways and night driving. The list is of course is endless as fear affects everyone in different ways. As I build the library of self-hypnosis downloads, let me know what your fear of the road is. So I can ensure I am building what you need to overcome your fear.

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