If you are like most people, you probably learned to drive a car before you are even eligible to get a driver’s license. You may have spent your youth going on joy rides with your friends, visiting beautiful places, sneaking out in the middle of the night to meet up with your special someone, and other naughty behaviors. Your high school and college years are filled with car rides that are so much fun and exciting.
However, after college, reality sets in and you barely have time to enjoy car rides with friends. Now that you are always alone in your car, you find that you feel anxious all the time. And even though you never had anxiety disorder before, you start to feel so stressed out whenever you are alone in the car driving. You are only at ease when you have someone with you while you drive. This condition is alarming, and you know you need to overcome fear of driving alone, no matter what the cost.
Methods to overcome distress of driving on your own
Driving alone is a typical occurrence on the road every day. But, there are many people who have a phobia in driving on their own. Without meaning to do so, these people experience extreme fear, and they feel nauseous when they are alone in the car. And if you are one of the people who experiences this kind of phobia in driving, then you can surely benefit from the methods we have gathered.
Exposure therapy is very effective in helping you overcome your driving alone phobia. You can seek professional help and engage in medical exposure therapy, or you can do this on your own. Basically, what is involved in this therapy is to expose yourself on what you are afraid of. You are pushed to face your fears, embrace it, and move on with your life. It is strongly believed that when you are constantly exposed to driving alone, you will eventually get over your phobia and can drive alone for the rest of your life.
Often, the fear of driving alone is caused by so much stress in your life. You need to get rid of the stress, and it follows that your driving phobia is reduced. Let us look at a couple of relaxation techniques to help eliminate your fear of driving alone.
- Deep breathing – this is a very simple relaxation technique that you can use while you are still in the house or office. You can also do this while you are already in your car, preparing to drive. All you have to do is sit with back straight. Position one hand on your stomach while the other is on your chest. Use your nose to breathe in, and breathe out through your mouth. Repeat the same process at least five times before you settle down and drive away.
- Mindfulness – this is a meditation that is perfect for any location. You can meditate while sitting behind the wheel, before you leave for work or go home after office hours. Mindfulness is very helpful in creating peace and calm in your life. Simply sit, close your eyes, and let go of everything in your mind. Free your mind from anything from your past or future. Focus on the present, and when you are done meditating, you can feel a positive shift of your energy.
- PMR – Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a method of learning how to let go of your stress and anxiety.You do this by tightening your muscle groups, and relaxing them again after a few seconds. Repeat the process for every muscle in your body, and the good thing is you can process this while in your car. And with relaxed muscles, you can keep calm while driving alone.
Listen to music
When you listen to music, your brain starts to tell your body to relax. It is best to give a couple of minutes for music listening inside your car before you go ahead and drive alone. This method aims to condition your mind and body, and keep you relaxed. After ten minutes or so, start your car but do not turn off the music. Keep listening to the music while you drive to stay relaxed.
What you should not do while driving alone
It is understandable that you commit to doing everything you can to get rid of your fear in driving alone. However, there are absolutely two things that you must never do to overcome your driving phobia.
- Do not: create illusions and delusions that there is someone in the car with you. Never attempt to make an imaginary friend who sits in the passenger seat while you drive. That is an unhealthy solution to your problem, and it could land you in a mental institution.
- Do not: have a video chat with a friend while driving just so you can enjoy the feeling of talking to some while driving. Even talking without video is a big “no no”, not to mention against the law. Remember that talking on the phone while driving can lead to vehicular accidents, so you must not engage in that process.
However, what you can do is ask your friends or co-workers or family to ride with you. But never make them guilty enough to do so every single day. Ask for a riding companion on occasion only, since you really need to work hard on overcoming your driving phobia. But again, never go to the extremes just to get rid of your fear. Do not do anything to jeopardize your whole life in order to eliminate one condition.
Take note that you are not alone in your condition. There are thousands of people suffering the same fear of driving alone. And it is treatable, for sure. Ask assistance when needed, but never keep your family or friends in the dark. You need a solid support system to thrive.