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Mindful while driving

How can mindfulness reduce driving anxiety and driving test nerves?

You are probably already being mindful while driving without even realising it!  It is a skill we all have and use everyday without realising.  Choosing to use mindfulness to reduce driving anxiety and test nerves means that you are strengthening skills you already have and using them to your advantage.

Mindfulness is simply noticing what is happening around you, right now, on purpose and with curiosity

While driving you will be giving your full attention to what you are doing in order to drive the car, paying close attention to other road users and if you are learning you will also be listening to your driving instructor. By being more aware of the theory of mindfulness and consciously adding mindfulness exercises to your driving you could develop and strengthen your attention skills while driving, which in turn will help you feel more confident in your driving ability.  Mindfulness can help you notice and manage any unhelpful thinking habits that you have and be more aware of how your mood and emotions might impact your driving lessons and your future driving.  Driving anxiety is often created by a fear of what might happen in the future so concentrating on what is happening right now with mindfulness interrupts feelings of anxiety.

The benefits of a daily mindfulness practice include:

* being able to focus your attention more easily where you choose

* being able to interrupt automatic pilot and avoid getting lost in an inner world of thoughts

* gaining more perspective on the events that happen during everyday life

* reduce stress levels

* reduce driving anxiety and driving test nerves

* become more self-aware of your thoughts and emotions and how they might impact your driving behaviour

Being mindful doesn't have to involve meditation although it can if you like. All the suggested mindfulness exercises in the six-week course on our website are short practical tasks that last from 20 seconds to 4 minutes. They can easily be fitted in around your life and several of the exercises you can carry out whenever you are in a car as a driver or passenger, for example, while putting on your seatbelt, getting into the driver seat or passenger seat and filling up with fuel.  Focusing on actions in the present moment instead of worrying about what might happen is the main way that mindfulness reduces driving anxiety.

Driver behaviour is the biggest contributing factor in 95% of road incidents and driver behavioural issues might include thrill-seeking, frustration, outside pressures, distraction and anxiety.  Recognising and understanding how your personality, thoughts, emotions, values, beliefs and perceptions about other road users might impact your own driver behaviour can help you to be more self-aware and allow you to modify your behaviour and become a safer driver.

Mindfulness helps you to recognise the thoughts and physical feelings that accompany different moods and situations and this self-awareness helps us to learn to control both our minds and our actions.   Mindfulness is now recommended by the NHS to reduce stress and anxiety in everyday life.  The good news is that practising mindfulness to reduce driving anxiety and driving test nerves will also positively impact other areas of your life.

Now you know more about how mindfulness reduces driving anxiety and driving test nerves you may be interested in finding out more about subscription packages for independent drivers and group subscriptions for ADIs