One of the more common questions people have is how they can apply the one move method while driving a car. People have many different fears in this area, from fear of being caught in traffic to crossing waterway bridges.
Often the anxiety starts from the fear of being trapped in the vehicle in traffic or losing control of the vehicle and maybe causing an accident.
In this article I will explain how you can apply the one move technique to driving anxiety but before that let me explain a couple of things.
The first is that you need to break this challenge down to little steps and build your confidence up gradually. This applies to all situations you want to end your anxiety in. All the small steps has to include some levels of anxiety or else you probably aren’t pushing yourself far enough.
The other thing to mention about driving anxiety is that most people work themselves up into a state of high anxiety even before they get on the driveway. They imagine scenes of causing 10 car collisions on the highway because they freaked out and hit another vehicle.
If you have such concerns the first thing you need to do is review your driving history. Have you been a reckless driver in the past or do you have a history of bad driving?
Most phobic drivers actually have clean driving records and never even been in a minor road incident. Anxious drivers are not a deadly hazard on the road in fact they can be a lot more vigilant than many ordinary drivers who after a long day on the office are feeling asleep at the wheel.
The second major concern of most phobic drivers is the fear of being trapped in the car in some manner and by this I mean being caught in traffic on a busy highway or on a long bridge or even stopped at red lights.
When allowed your mind will run away with this fear and imagine all kinds of deadly scenarios where you feel cornered or trapped in your vehicle with no assistance available.
The important thing here is to curb this “what if” fears before they do become unstoppable by offering yourself viable solutions to end any of these scenarios and not letting your mind trick you to believe that there is a trap.
Think deeply about it, are there any situations such as the ones described where you are truly trapped with no ways to escape? No, of course there aren’t. The reality is that traffic always moves, it doesn’t remain locked forever.
There is a flow and there is always and exit. Now, this may mean figuring out what that exit is for you but never let these “what if” thoughts corner you thinking that there is no escape.
It is very common for a person with driving anxiety to fear passing a certain distance away from their safe zone, usually their home. The anxious “what if” thought is “what if I go too far and have a panic attack and then I can’t get back?”.
What you have to understand is that distance is really irrelevant because how far you go from your home isn’t important, it is how you go and how you are handling each and every wave of anxiety that manifests.
This is a psychological issue going on within you, your own mind, your own body and it doesn’t matter whether you are sitting on your front porch or on a deserted island, it is always about your reaction and has nothing to do with distance from an imaginary safe zone.
Don’t focus on the distance just focus on your response so you can overcome anxiety and panic faster.
In the beginning you still have to prove this to yourself with experience, so if driving a certain distance from home is a concern, then break it down into small steps.
Start by determining what your safe zone in your mind is and then begin by pushing yourself to drive just outside that safe zone. That might be 5, 10, 50 miles from your home, whatever it is for you.
When you get there a part of you will feel like “great I did it and now lets rush back home in case something bad happens” but instead you should just stop the car and stay there for a while, seated in your car until you even get a little bored.
This is really important because it means you are pushing that boundary out and keeping it out. You own that new distance now and your world has gotten a little bit bigger along with your confidence.
Now you will start to appreciate that the distance you go is an illusion and the only thing that matters is how you are responding to the waves of anxiety wherever you find yourself.
How to apply the one move for driving:
Remember when you are tackling a situation like this, any situation that makes you anxious you need to expect being anxious and don’t get upset or frustrated when the anxiety arise.
When applying the one move it is not about feeling anxious, it is about doing the right thing with the anxiety present, it’s about being comfortable with your anxious discomfort.
This is when you begin to apply the one move technique:
1. Defuse those anxious “what if” thoughts with a strong response. So, what you will say is: “So what”, “whatever” to those anxious thoughts. As you drive along, expect the anxiety to be ever present.
2. Stage two of the one move technique is to allow and accept the anxiety and the sensations to be present and manifest. Also repeat this phrase to yourself: “I accept and allow these anxious sensations and thoughts”. What that will do is to help the anxiety settle with you, not resisting it, not fighting it.
3. If you feel the anxiety is transforming into a panic attack and the sensations are getting too intense, you need to demand more.
Demand more the anxious sensations, if it is a pounding heart or a tight chest, really bring it on and this will shatter that illusion that the anxiety is holding over you.
Also you prove to yourself how capable you are of driving even with those anxious sensations.
4. Bring yourself back to the present moment and really engage with the activity you are doing which is driving. So, pay attention, really feel the steering wheel under your fingers, listen to the sounds and see the sights, get absorbed into the activity of driving.
If you get to a point where you gone past your comfort zone you need to pull over and stop and stay in the car.
Let’s say that your comfort zone is around 5 miles from your home and you drove 7 miles for example, just stop and stay there and really own this distance that you gained because the important thing is not to turn around and run straight back home.
Doing this you will still run from the anxiety and you need to push passed your comfort zone and really own it because this really challenges this idea of safe zone.
The important thing about staying in the car is that you build up your confidence. After a while, when you got a little bored, you are going to continue on driving. This means that you can continue driving away from home or just returning back, like I said earlier build the confidence in small steps.
Remember, keep doing the one move technique every time you feel that wave of anxiety become present and then always bring yourself back to the activity you are doing in the present moment.
What will happen is that you will be very comfortable driving with the anxious discomfort to the point where you won’t start to notice it anymore and that is the moment when the anxiety starts to decrease and when you start to feel comfortable driving any distances.