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5 Reasons Why Driving can help with your Mental Health

driving can help with mental health

Confident Drivers are delighted to share with you a guest blog by Lily Meyers, a freelance writer who specialises in lifestyle writing. Lily has recently graduated from university in the Uk with a degree in English Language. You can contact Lily at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

http://thewritersdiary.co.uk

For many people driving can be a stressful chore that just needs to be done, especially if you live in a busy urban area. But recent studies have shown that driving can actually have many mental health benefits. Scientists found that people who go for drives for pleasure, release high amounts of a hormone called dehydroepiandrosterone, which counteracts stress. A study from Columbia University found that driving can boost cognitive function and it may also halt the ageing process.

There are many ways that going for a leisurely drive can give a person a boost if it is done in a safe way. Remember that there is a difference between being relaxed and being sleepy, so only go for a drive if you are in the right condition for it. Always be safe and remember that you need to inform the DVLA of certain mental illnesses and medication.

Driving a car can give you a sense of independence and freedom, and it provides an opportunity to escape and explore. This article will explore some impactful ways that driving can benefit a person’s mental health. 

1. A Change of Scenery

According to Psychology Today, it has been proven that our physiological, psychological, and emotional states change as our surroundings change. So if you are feeling stressed, it can be helpful to change your current environment. Our well-being and state of mind are integrated with and influenced by where we are. If we are feeling anxious or overwhelmed it can be beneficial to change our surroundings, which is exactly what going for a drive can do. Driving away from a location can give you both literal and figurative space between you and the problem. 

2. Provides Alone Time

If life becomes overwhelming, alone time can often be a helpful tool to aid your state of mind. This is particularly true if you are often in situations where you can’t fully be your true self. Research has shown that solitude can provide a mental boost and that short periods of being alone can actually be good for your mental health. Going for a drive can provide a means of escape and relaxing alone time where you can problem-solve and reflect.

3. Time for Relaxing Activities

Driving offers an opportunity to enjoy some audio-based activities that are great mood boosters, such as listening to your favourite songs, podcasts, or audiobooks. Many people find these forms of entertainment a relaxing way to escape reality and their thoughts. Going for a calm, leisurely drive can provide the time and space to enjoy some of these relaxing activities. So make the most of your driving time and sing along to some tunes and stop regularly for fresh air and snacks.

4. Mindfulness Practise

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and aware of the current moment without evaluation. Driving can be a great time to practise mindfulness as it offers stillness and solitude. Before you set off, do a quick mindfulness exercise before you start the engine to help relax your mind and make you more aware of your journey ahead. You can also practice mindful driving by paying attention to your driving and other road users when you are stuck at traffic lights. This can help us become better attuned and in control of our thoughts and emotions.

5. A Break From Screens

Driving forces us to step away from our phones, televisions, and laptops. These technologies can often be a huge contributor to our anxiety and depression levels. Driving allows us to focus on the sights and sounds around us rather than what is happening on our screens. The blue light emitted by screens also affects our natural circadian rhythms which can in turn affect our sleep. So having a break from screens is a great way to improve our overall well-being and mental state. 

Automotive psychologists have shown that the cognitive demands of driving preoccupy the brain in ways that calm anxieties and improve mental health. It's important to think about different factors when it comes to purchasing your first car. 

Summary

Driving can help your mental health in many ways and be a great distraction to life admin. While it’s important to remember and prepare for “the costs associated with maintaining and running your car” which can be daunting say experts at carunoIt’s not the be-all-end-all as the overall benefits and freedom a car brings to oneself are considerably worthwhile in the end.

We hope you have found these tips on ways that driving can help your mental health. Please help us by sharing this guide with others.  There is a good chance that if you found it useful, so will they.

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