Driving panic will steal your freedom and ruin your social life.
You can reclaim control and stop panic attacks while driving by taking the time to learn some simple breathing techniques.
Also by becoming aware of your self talk.
Driving anxiety could develop into a phobia that will rob you of the ability to do something on a whim.
Imagine not being able to drop in to see family or friends, without planning ahead each time
Even worse, you become dependent on others to get you there.
You see yourself as a burden and end up even more anxious.
If you don’t make the effort to overcome driving fear, your anxiety will deny you simple pleasures like a day in the country.
You’ll get sick of coming up with excuses for why you cant pick up the kids from school and take them to sporting events.
When you drive, do you fear the idea of getting stuck in traffic, on a bridge, or at a red light?
People with a driving phobia can experience unpleasant symptoms.
Clammy palms are just the start.
Rising anxiety could start with niggling concerns like being trapped on a route where you can’t get to a rest room.
Negative self talk could lead to concerns you are going crazy and then intensify to panic attacks.
The irony is that smarter, more aware, people could be more prone to a panic attack while driving.
This is because of their more lively minds which can readily come up with fearful scenarios.
The most confident person can experience driving panic attacks.
Something like a minor traffic incident, even if it’s not your fault, could imbed a driving anxiety in the mind.
The outcome could be regular panic attacks when driving
This results in a negative round of thoughts and may even signal the onset of a condition like agoraphobia.
The warning signs of agoraphobia are similar to driving anxiety.
- This could involve a general anxiety about being away from somewhere normally considered safe.
- Panic symptoms such as shortness of breath, heart palpitations, nausea, sweating, a choking sensation and fearfulness.
- Finding excuses not to leave the home or other safe havens.
- Lack of confidence and low self esteem.
- After a time this could lead to depression.
How to break the cycle and stop panic attacks while driving.
The mind that created these problems, can be readily retrained to deal with panic attacks.
There is no need to change your preferred way of life just to avoid your fears.
Be alert to the way you talk to yourself.
Separate yourself from your anxiety or phobia by not seeing yourself as a driving phobic, but a normal person who currently experiences fear or panic attacks while driving.
This minor mental deviation might seem simple, but it will enable you to jolt your thoughts out of a well worn groove.
It will let you see your behavior as dilemma, rather than you, yourself, being the problem.
Retraining your mind’s initial reaction to an anxious situation is a vital first step in dealing with a phobia.
Eventually, before you experience the uncomfortable physical symptoms outlined earlier in this article, you will become alert to your mind’s self talk.
You’ll notice talk along the line of, “I need to get in the car and drive, I’m going to freak out when I leave the driveway.”
After this, you are most likely to begin to feel the onset of the physical symptoms of the fear of driving.
Some steps to alter the self talk and stop a panic attack while driving.
- Remember you are a competent driver, you passed your licence test, despite being nervous at the time.
- Begin by sitting in the driver’s seat and remind yourself that the physical act of driving is pretty simple.
- Take a drive around the block, don’t deny your fear, just keep going.
- Later, pick a familiar, route and take a short trip without adding a chore, like shopping.
- At first, never travel further than walking distance from home.
- If you suffer a panic attack driving, you can remain assured you are only a short distance from safety.
- Stretch your driving time gradually and begin to change your mindset by focusing on what you have achieved.
Eventually you may come to realise your fear of driving has little to do with the act of motoring.
You might be struggling with other issues like nocturnal panic attacks which shape your whole day.
Your panic attacks might have originated through a minor traffic mishap, long forgotten by the conscious mind.
The anxiety might be linked to other stressful areas of your life, such as a relationship.
It could be your job, or because of concerns you have for the health of a loved one.
The beginnings of your anxious thoughts could be rooted in something as basic as your diet.
Click on the link to read about foods that cause anxiety.
Or get more advice at www.stoppanic.info/how-to-control-anxiety.
Breathing tips to stop driving anxiety
A vital step to overcome agoraphobia symptoms and dealing with anxiety is to development the correct breathing technique.
Please don’t dismiss this potent connection between mind and body as a waste of time.
Eastern cultures have long understood how breathing impacts on the life force energy they call chi.
Westerners also are catching on now, even though someone in an high state of anxiety might find it hard to believe they can be helped this way.
It is important to breathe slowly because breathing too fast or in a shallow way (hyperventilation) will intensify panic attacks and anxiety.
You know you are suffering from anxiety, but notice how shallow you breathe when in this state.
You’re probably breathing just in the top part of your lungs, and even holding your breath for short periods.
This can intensify the symptoms of a panic attack.
If you are driving, pull over and give yourself some first aid via your lungs.
Real deep breathing occurs when you push downwards with your diaphragm, which is that big muscle below your stomach.
Make sure you sit up, don’t slouch, open your shoulders and thereby increase your lung capacity.
The added oxygen you take in can clear your head and has other valuable benefits.
Deep breathing can improve the overall function of your body by stimulating the lymphatic system.
It can boost the nerves and alleviate anxiety.
Your hormones will be roused to make you physically more relaxed.
Correct breathing increases the level of oxygen in your body.
This not only revitalises your cells, but lifts you out of that feeling of tiredness and anxiety.
The added oxygen supply and release of carbon dioxide will slow your heart, and stressed muscles will relax.
Stop your fear of driving with this easy breathing technique.
- When safely parked, sit in a comfortable position, with your hands by your sides or on your knees.
- Try to relax your shoulders as much as possible.
- Breathe in slowly to the count of five and remember to push down your diaphragm at the same time.
- As you breathe out gradually through your nose, count to five again.
- This time, as you exhale, use your abdominal muscles to push your diaphragm up to help empty your lungs.
- Pause for a couple of beats, then begin the process again.
- Acknowledge your state of anxiety, accept it as something that is happening to you, but be sure to repeat the deep breathing routine at least a half dozen times.
- It is important to slow your breathing before moving on, so focus on expanding your abdomen, not just your chest, as you breathe in.
Try these self help techniques to get you through rough spots.
But there is more help available:
For a long term solution click here to see how how others have reclaimed their freedom from panic attacks and anxiety.
Self help might be all you need for a general panic disorder, but some need more professional guidance.
Read the following message from Barry McDonagh, creator of the highly successful Panic Away Program:
Does your panic or anxiety hit hardest when you have to do anything a bit different like eating out, attend a wedding, go to the hairdresser or sit in a meeting.
Maybe you worry about events you have to attend for weeks before they happen and then feign some sudden illness just to get out of going.
Have you ever left a trolley full of shopping in the supermarket just because your chest and throat felt tight or you heart was pounding like crazy?
Or even called for an ambulance because you were convinced you were having a heart attack only to find out later it was just anxiety!
Do you experience intrusive thoughts that lead you to believe you are cracking up?
When you drive, do you fear the idea of getting stuck in traffic, on a bridge, or at a red light?
I know how you feel because I have been there too!
I know you fear that this problem will get worse, and you fear you might eventually lose control.
I know you feel anxious doing very simple things like standing in a queue, driving or even leaving your home.
I know you have tried other treatments and traditional ‘coping’ exercises that did not work.
I also know most people in your life don’t get it. They wonder why you are so anxious all the time and wish you would just ‘snap out of it’.
Here is what you are getting with the Panic Away Program (also available in digital version)
The digital version will load on all mobile devices such as Ipad or Android Tablet:
- Panic Away 245 page book. Many report that after just one reading of the book, their anxiety is dramatically reduced or completely gone!
- Panic Away DVD. You get the HD DVD to fast-track your recovery.
- You will learn the basics of Panic Away in just 48 minutes flat! This DVD makes the 21-7 technique™ really simple to learn and apply.
- Panic Away CD’s. The CD’s are extremely useful for people who prefer to listen to lessons.
- You will learn how to release deep-seated general anxiety, end driving anxiety, eliminate night panic, cease anxious thoughts, and stop fearing unusual bodily sensations.
- Plus two special bonuses when you order today. Simply click the link below.
By learning how to stop the fear of panic attacks when driving, you could prevent the development of an associated phobia, such as agoraphobia.
Barry has helped many with his unique approach to mitigating the debilitating effects of panic and anxiety. Read what he has to say about agoraphobia.
That is, Agoraphobia and Panic Attacks
There is phobia that is linked to the experience of panic attacks, and that is agoraphobia.
Agoraphobia is the fear of open spaces or of being in crowded, public places such as shopping markets. It is a fear associated with leaving a safe zone, such as the home.
Because of a feeling of being vulnerable, people who experience this fear often suffer from panic attacks in these “open” situations. It is true to say many people who have regular panic attacks experience different degrees of agoraphobia.
Some have a lingering background anxiety about being away from home should they experience a panic attack. Other people are so immobilized by this fear that they find it very difficult to leave their home for even a short period.
The thinking behind agoraphobia usually follows the line that were a panic attack to occur, who would look after the person, how would he or she get the assistance and reassurance they needed?
The vulnerability grows from the feeling that once victims of agoraphobia are caught in the anxiety, they are suddenly unable to look after themselves and are therefore at the mercy of the place they find themselves in and the strangers around them.
In its extreme form, agoraphobia and panic attacks can lead to a situation where people become housebound for numerous years.
Please note, this is by no means a hopeless situation, and I always need to reinforce the fact that something only becomes hopeless once the person really believes that to be the case.
To begin with, the primary issue that needs to be addressed is the belief in the safe zone. To clarify, when I talk about safe zone, I am referring to the zone where the person believes panic attacks do not occur, or at least occur infrequently.
As comfort is found there, it is where the person tends to spend more and more time. The safe zone of anxiety is a myth sustained by the mind.
The mind has developed a habit of thinking that dictates that being inside the safe zone is the only place to feel secure and avoid agoraphobia and panic attacks.
If agoraphobia is an issue for you, watch as your mind comes up with reasons why it believes only a certain area is safe and another is not. Those reasons range from being near the phone or people you trust to having familiar physical surroundings to reassure you.
The reality of anxiety is that there is no such thing as a safe zone. There is nothing life threatening about a panic attack, and therefore sitting at home is the same as sitting under the stars on a desert island.
Of course, your mind will immediately rush to tell you that a desert island is a ridiculous place to be as there are no hospitals, no tranquillisers, no doctors, NO SAFETY.
You need to review your previous experiences of panic attacks. Aren’t you still here, alive and well, after all those attacks during which you were convinced you were going to die?
It may be that on occasions you have been driven to the hospital where they did medicate you to calm you down, but do you really believe that you would not have survived were it not for the drugs?
You would have. If the same bout of anxiety had occurred on this desert island, it too would have passed, even if you were all alone.
Yes, when it comes to conditions that need medical attention such as asthma, diabetes, and a whole litany or other conditions, then having medical aid nearby is a big asset, but no doctor in the world would tell someone with anxiety that there are only specific safe zones in which she or he can move.
As I know more than anyone how terrifying it can feel to move out of your safe zone as the feeling of fear is welling up inside, I do not wish to sound harsh.
This course is not about chastising people for their behaviours. It is a way of looking together at solutions and seeing through the myths that form prison walls.
The goal is to enable you to return to a richer and more meaningful life and ultimately defeat your agoraphobia and panic attacks. I also realize that people around you cannot understand why a trip to shops would cause you such discomfort. You will have to forgive them and try not to be upset by their lack of understanding of your problem.
If an individual such as a partner or family member has not had a similar anxiety issue, that person may often find it hard to understand and empathize with what you are going through.
I am sure you have been dragged out of the house numerous times against your will, kicking and screaming.
This can then lead to tensions and arguments and is upsetting as it can make you feel less understood by those around you. People around agoraphobics are often simply trying what they feel is best.
If you can see that their intentions are well meaning (although often misguided), then you will be able to relate to them better and help sooth any potential conflicts.
There is one thing I am sure you will agree with, and that is that the only person who will get you out of agoraphobic thinking is yourself. These are your thoughts, and only you can begin to change that pattern.
Dealing with long term agoraphobia and panic attacks is a slow process to begin with, but once the results start happening, it moves faster and faster until you reach a point where you will find it hard to believe that going out was such a difficult task.
Stop your driving panic attacks, click on the link below
Barry McDonagh is an international panic disorder coach. His informative site on all issues related to panic and anxiety attacks.
Make the effort to try the above self-help tips for driving panic attacks.
Don’t be afraid to visit Barry’s website. There is no obligation, but it could be the best investment you’ve ever made.
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