As I constantly repeat, panic attacks, although distressing and upsetting, cannot do any serious harm to you. You may believe that you are having a heart attack during an episode, but it is simply raised adrenaline levels causing your heart to beat faster.
However, having panic attacks while driving can be dangerous and it is almost this sense of danger that can make the prospect of having a panic attack in a car that much more frightening.
Do you have any of the following symptoms?
- Are you afraid that you will have a panic attack while driving on the road and cause an accident?
- Do you fear that other drivers may crash into you?
- Do you fear that your driving skills aren’t good enough for you to be on the road?
- Do you even have a very common but irrational fear that you will swerve onto oncoming traffic?
- Does the thought of driving on the freeway or over bridges fill you with dread?
These is an excellent section in the Linden Method treatment program, that shows how to rationalize your anxious thoughts before they manage to take hold.
Is the fear of having panic attacks while driving affecting stopping you from living your life how you want and deserve to live it?
Why did my fear of driving come from?
Fear of can creep up on you and can be caused by a number factors, from a bad driving experience to a completely unrelated traumatic experience in the past.
Driving phobias are very common and there is a lot of help at hand for this debilitating condition.
You may only be frightened in certain areas, say crossing bridges over rivers, or on freeways. This may lead you to start avoiding them altogether.
Ways to overcome panic attacks while driving
This may sound like a scary prospect, but the best way to combat your fear of driving is to force yourself to confront it. Like all panic attacks, they are grounded in fear and fear feeds itself. You need to douse that flame before it gets out of control. This can be done gradually.
- Try to avoid driving at night;
- Stick to the slower, open roads;
- Take someone with you who you trust;
- Try driving somewhere you enjoy;
- Play calming music as you drive.
A step-by-step approach works best, by achieving small victories each time. And reward yourself every time you achieve these small wins to reinforce these positive actions in your mind. You don’t need to go too far, just round the block to begin with. Before you embark on any journey, visualize yourself driving calmly and looking out of the window and smiling.
As you become more confident, you can start introducing new areas and challenges at a pace you are comfortable with.
Make sure you keep a a cell phone with you when driving and if you feel a panic attack coming on, you can simply pull over and call someone for assistance.
Think Positive and Relax
A positive mindset can work wonders. The Linden Method comes into its own here as it teaches you some excellent techniques for this very scenario in a simple step-by-step series of relaxation exercises. It’s important to learn to notice when and where you are tense and to learn to release this tension.
One on the useful techniques is to squeeze and relax each muscle group, particularly in your jaw, neck and shoulders, where it tends to congregate. Do the same by clenching and relaxing your hands on the steering wheel – each time you relax your grip, feel the relaxation moving through your wrists, up your arms and through your entire body. Your mind will soon pick up on this and start to respond positively.
By thinking positively and practicing the techniques in the Linden Method, you will discover that overcoming your panic attacks while driving isn’t as impossible as it seems.
Click here to learn more about how the Linden Method program can help you.
See also my other quick techniques for controlling your panic attacks.
No more procrastinating – life is too short.
With Best Wishes,