Panic Behind The Wheel: 5 Ways Anxiety Counseling Can Help You Become A Safer Driver

Living with anxiety is difficult; however, it's more precarious in some scenarios than others, such as when you're behind the wheel. If your anxiety is severe enough, your license could be threatened, but even if it's not, driving with anxiety is a constant challenge. Counseling can help you become a safer driver, because you only have full control of your vehicle when you have control of yourself. 

1. You'll Learn How To Self-Calm Before Putting The Car In Drive

On a good day, you may not even give your anxiety a second thought, but it's still  important to be aware of how you're feeling and what you're thinking before ever starting the car. A counselor can enlighten you with the ability to calm yourself through silent conversation, meditation and other methods, to put you in a good mindset to venture off.

2. Anxiety Counseling Teaches You How To Breathe

Unfortunately, just thinking about anxiety, particularly a panic attack, can cause you to hyperventilate. This, in turn, often brings on an attack of some sort, be it heightened anxiety or a full-blown state of mental disarray. Therefore, when you learn how to control your breathing to begin with, you set yourself up for a more successful drive, whether or not you're forced to deal with the effects of your condition.

3. It'll Help You To Focus On The Road, Not Your Fear(s)

Controlling your thoughts is as important as controlling your breathing, with one usually disrupting the other during any type of incident. Through counseling, you learn to channel your thoughts to a state of stability, rather than allowing them to obsess over fear and self-doubt. Desensitization, a technique which involves exposing you to things that stress and trigger you, gradually help you gain control over your mind under the most adverse of circumstances.

Be honest and open with your counselor during desensitization, along with any other methods employed, so they fully understand where you're coming from and what you're dealing with. Once they know, the can more accurately guide you to facing the fear(s) in order to gain power over them, rather than letting your fears control you. 

4. Counseling May Improve Your Sleep, Making You More Alert And Responsive 

Deadly motor vehicle accidents increase by a frightening six percent when the clocks are pushed forward by an hour, clearly demonstrating the connection between sleep and driving ability. If anxiety is keeping you up at night or otherwise disturbing your ability to snooze with serenity, it's not just a panic attack that could lead to a crash for you, it's your dampened reflexes and foggy thinking. Counseling, by its ability to ease your mind, reduce stress, and increase self-control, can dramatically improve the quality of your sleep.

5. If You Need Medication For Your Anxiety, Counseling Can Connect You

Since driving any vehicle is, essentially, operating a deadly weapon, and your feelings of angst are affecting your ability to stay safe on the road, medication may be in order. Although that's a big step for anyone, a counselor can help you decide if anxiety medication needed. While some medications may affect your ability to drive, others may help you relax behind the wheel. Approaching this crossroad of treatment may be something you have to face, together with a professional.

Whatever level of anxiety you're dealing with, for the safety of others and yourself, you need to have control when you're behind the wheel. Even just one panic attack can have catastrophic results in a vehicle; thus, it's up to you to seek the counseling you need to kick your symptoms to the curb. Call a licenced anxiety counselor, such as Lehigh Valley Counselors, to learn more about how you can control your anxiety behind the wheel.