How do breathing exercises calm driving nerves?

calm nerves with breathing exercises

Learning some simple breathing exercises will help you to calm driving nerves, stress and anxiety quickly whenever you need to, as well as improving your memory and concentration.  Several breathing exercises ask you to focus on the out-breath which may seem counter-intuitive but there is a reason.

When we breathe out unconsciously this is actually a letting go rather than an action. Breathing in is an action which is why when we choose to breathe consciously we instinctively start with the in-breath. Breathing out is actually a release of air, when we breathe out we let go a little, releasing the air in our lungs and at the same time, our muscles let go a little, relaxing and softening. Try it now and notice how your muscles respond to the in-breath and out-breath, notice what your shoulders do.

Anyone who does Yoga or Pilates will tell you that they can stretch just that little bit further on the out-breath when their muscles let go a little as they relax and breathe into a move or position. You are much more likely to be able to touch your toes on an out-breath than an in-breath! 

breath out as if blowing bubbles

Extending and lengthening the out-breath to be longer than the in-breath means that you relax a little more as it triggers the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for relaxation and recovery. Pursing the lips so that you are gently blowing as if blowing bubbles or candles, rather than just breathing out normally helps to control the breathing by slowing it down and stimulating the vagus nerve which is central to your fight flight freeze reaction when you feel stressed. In addition, breathing in through your nose stimulates the memory centres in the brain, meaning you are better able to remember important facts and information. Definitely helpful to calm driving nerves in a test situation. If you can notice a little pause between the in and out breath even better. 

Experts recommend that starting with and improving the out-breath will automatically improve the quality of your in-breath and improving your overall breathing habits. Why not try syncing your breath in time to the shape in the video to see how breathing exercises can calm driving nerves.

Purchasing a subscription to Confident Drivers gives you access to several different breathing exercises so you can find one that suits you best.   A subscription gives you access to more  stress management solutions recommended for learner drivers, read our reviews to see how they have helped others overcome nerves and improve driving confidence.  We also have group plans available for driving instructors who would like to support their pupils.

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