Today I wanted to talk about something a little different, and something that I’ve dealt with for the past several years. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it here on the blog, but ever since I learned how to drive, driving has more or less terrified me. I got my license as an 18 year old, but hated driving so much that I managed to avoid it most of the time. In college I lived in a small town where most things were in walking distance, and when they weren’t I had friends who were willing to take me places. The thing that I think always scared me in regards to driving is the aspect of control. The feeling that I’m responsible for keeping myself and other people safe is not one that I enjoy, especially when it seems that mistakes can be made so easily.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten more and more uncomfortable with having to rely on other people to be my transportation, and a couple of months ago I decided it was time to stop letting my fear control how I lived my life, because that’s what it had turned in to. To get myself back behind the wheel, I had to take control of my thoughts. I recently listened to a podcast that resonated with me in which one of the speakers said that it was important to actually be aware of what you are thinking and your thought processes. This is a great first step to controlling them instead of letting them control you. I started to notice that when I thought about myself driving at all, I only thought of potential catastrophes, not potential successes. I also noticed that when my plans to practice driving fell through for some reason, I felt relieved that I didn’t have to take a risk, rather than disappointed that I didn’t have a chance to learn something.
I’m so happy to say that I’ve actually started to make progress, and that this past week I’ve driven more than I have since I was practicing for my driving test five years ago. Each time I go out on the road, it gets a little easier, and I get a little more confident. I’ve had to implement a few strategies to help myself move forward, and I thought I’d share those with you all today.
I’ve been working on replacing my negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Every time I think about something bad potentially happening, I make myself go through the process of thinking about driving to a location safely. This helps to balance out the fear with confidence.
I’ve also been working on consistency in driving. This means I’m driving at least a few times a week because the more I can practice, the better I will get and the more comfortable I will be.
Finally, I’ve been trying to make my car a peaceful place. For me, this means making it a good temperature and playing the classical music station in the background. I also use stoplights as an opportunity so breathe and calm down.
The truth is something bad could happen no matter what I’m doing, even if I lock myself inside and never go anywhere, and I’m glad that I’m finally starting to move past something that’s been inhibiting me.
I don’t know if this post will be relatable to anyone who reads my blog, but it’s something I’ve been dealing with, and thankfully overcoming, so I wanted to share it with you. I’ll be sure to report back on my progress in the future!
Have you dealt with specific fears or anxieties? What were some ways you overcame them? I’d love to hear!