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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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Ten Days to Beat Driving Test Nerves!

Ten Days to Beat Driving Test Nerves!

Try our FREE driving test nerves course with videos, exercises and advice to help you quickly and easily overcome driving test nerves!

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If you have a driving test coming up soon you might find our Ultimate Guide to Driving Test Nerves useful.

What others are saying

Read more of our reviews from happy learner drivers on Trustpilot

It's great to have a website offering fantastic techniques to assist with the challenges of driving. The website recognises the fact that learning to drive can be stressful and there are strategies to help with this. The website's name, 'CONFIDENT Drivers' is what a learner is aspiring to be, so it's very positive. The techniques also apply to building general confidence in all walks of life, so useful again. Thank you!

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Confident drivers has been a really useful tool in changing my attitude to the driving test. I hadn't recognised just how much my negative thoughts about my ability rather than my actual driving ability have been holding me back and putting me off. I particularly liked the quick fix section that gives you strategies to calm down just before the test!

Nervous Drivers Calming Kit

If you would like some self-help stress management resources to help you tackle your driving anxiety and improve driving confidence then our calming kit is created by leading industry experts especially for you.  Access to all the resources is online.

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These plans are created specifically for drivers and learner drivers looking for online solutions to manage driving nerves and anxiety.  We also have a range of group plans created for driving instructors who would like to offer support offroad to their learner drivers, you can find more details on our ADI page.

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The Driving Confidence Podcast

driving confidence podcast

We created this podcast for drivers who want to be calm and confident on the road. Whether you are a learner driver, a new driver or have been driving for years, this podcast will help you to beat driving nerves and anxiety and build your driving confidence.

Co-hosted by Kev & Tracey Field, each Driving Confidence podcast episode offers bite-sized information and ideas that are both relatable and achievable to help you manage your driving nerves or anxiety and transform how you feel about driving.

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Articles, Help and Advice for Learner Drivers

Take a browse around our blog for articles written to help learner drivers and driving instructors recognise the most common reasons for experiencing driving nerves and confidence issues.  Each article offers strategies and suggestions that may help you.

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Things to do when you can't have driving lessons

Your driving goals are likely to need to be more flexible this year. So how can you keep learning and feel prepared for your driving lessons and test

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Build your driving confidence

Build your driving confidence

Increasing your belief in your capability to drive will, in turn, increase your driving confidence. So how do we do that? Self-efficacy theory suggests that self-confidence or belief in your abilities is dependent on several key factors...

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Have you considered hypnotherapy for driving nerves?

Have you considered hypnotherapy for driving nerves?

If you struggle with driving anxiety or driving test nerves you may well have wondered if hypnotherapy can help

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Are your driving lesson nerves caused by your thoughts?

Are your driving lesson nerves caused by your thoughts?

Learn ways of developing more helpful thinking styles which will help you reduce the signs and symptoms of your nerves and begin to feel more confident.

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