February 25, 2021
Best Mindfulness Practices To Observe While Driving
Having a car around certainly makes life easier. There’s no need to wait for a bus or compete with other passengers for a seat at the subway when you go to work or grocery shopping. Furthermore, it’s a more convenient way to travel when it comes to road tri[ps and family outings.
However, there’s a lot more involved in driving a car than just turning the keys and revving the engine. Being on the road is not only physically exhausting but because of all the things you have to watch out for, it can also be quite taxing to a person’s mental state. This can result in negative feelings such as anxiety, anger, and even fear.
Negativity can severely affect a driver’s ability to control the vehicle, resulting in accidents and injuries. To prevent this, you must practice mindfulness while driving. Not only will this keep you in a stable mental state, but it will also allow you to focus better while on the road.
What Is Mindfulness?
The term mindfulness is a type of meditation where you focus on being intensely aware of what you are feeling or sensing at a particular moment without relying on interpretation or judgement. Now, you might be asking: ‘Is it possible to meditate while driving?’ and the answer is a resounding “yes”. In fact, this practice is highly encouraged because it helps eliminate any negative and stress-inducing thoughts by relaxing both your body and mind.
What Are the Types of Mindfulness Practices?
Throughout the years, various mental health experts have developed different types of mindfulness meditation techniques to suit most people regardless of personality or lifestyle. Here are the best know examples:
- Body scan meditation
- Movement meditation
- Breathing space meditation
- Expanding awareness meditation
- Mindfulness of breath meditation
- Mindfulness of body meditation
- Mindfulness of sounds meditation
- Mindfulness of thoughts meditation
- Mindfulness of feelings meditation
- Open awareness meditation
What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation in Driving?
Mindfulness meditation is clinically proven to improve a driver’s mental and physical well-being. By practicing mindful driving exercises, you will be able to reduce the following health issues:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
Furthermore, the reduction of these health conditions that help your overall driving performance:
- Decreased fixation on negative emotions towards traffic and other drivers
- Lessen impulsive, emotional reactions such as road rage or violence
- Enhanced focus on vehicle control and road conditions
- Improved memory
How Can I Practice Mindfulness While Driving?
There are several ways to practice mindfulness when you drive and these can be done before and during the activity. It will take some time for you to get used to these exercises, so make sure to incorporate them into your daily commute.
Here are the different ways on how to practice mindfulness meditation in driving:
1.Take Deep Breaths Before Starting the Engine
This meditation practice is effective for people with driving anxiety. When you get inside your car, don’t put the keys into the ignition yet. Instead, take this opportunity to breathe and clear your mind:
- Sit for a full minute or two with your eyes closed.
- Take 3 deep breaths and exhale. Make sure to tune it with your internal space.
- Use the time to be aware of how you are feeling and set the intention for a mindful car ride.
- If you are experiencing any fear or anxiety, focus on a positive mindset to help raise your confidence and alleviate your fear.
Make sure to repeat this process when you’ve arrived at your destination, just before you get out of the car.
2.Use the Silence to Focus
People these days are quite attentive to the sound of the notification bell or ringtone on their smartphones, even when driving. However, this is a major distraction that can make a driver lose focus. In the worst cases, the driver can lose control of the car and cause a major accident.
As part of mindful driving, make it a habit to put your phone into silent mode and turn your music off before you drive. This will help you ease into a state of complete attentiveness and the silence will allow you to keep your eyes — and ears — on the road.
3.Wish Other Drivers Well
Most people tend to feel a surge of anger and animosity towards other drivers whenever rudeness is involved. The most common example of this is having your car cut off mid-traffic by a terrible driver.
As a sensible driver, you shouldn’t let your emotions get the better of you. As soon as the feeling of anger and frustration arises, you have to learn to let them go. You can try doing this:
- Take a deep breath and release the negative emotions that are building up inside you.
- Turn animosity into kindness by wishing good health and peace for those drivers that have wronged you.
By turning negative emotions into positive ones, you will be able to regain peace of mind as well as your focus for the long drive ahead.
4.Use Stop Signs to Heighten Your Awareness
When drivers have been on the road for a while, their situational awareness goes down and with it, their ability to concentrate. One of the most effective mindful ways to counter this is to use stop signs to regain lost focus.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Whenever you approach a stop sign, slow down, and observe your surroundings. This will help heighten your awareness.
- When bringing your car to a full stop, do so with the presence of mind.
- Use the time to allow your brain to rewire and regain focus.
- Continue to take note of the sights and the sounds around you as you proceed with your drive.
Sometimes, people don’t really notice that they are driving at high speeds and for them, this has become the norm. Speeding can be quite dangerous for the driver, the passengers and the people around them, so this must be avoided as much as possible.
If you ever notice yourself speeding, do this mindfulness exercise:
- Lightly loosen your foot on the gas and take a deep breath
- Ask yourself “Why are you in a hurry?”
- If you feel like there’s no need to hurry to your destination, slow down and take in what’s around you.
6.Bring Your Attention Back to the Car
As you continue to drive, maintaining your focus can be challenging since you need to continually shift your attention. Whenever you notice your thoughts starting to wander, reel them back in. Listen to the sound of the engine and the feel of the steering wheel on your hands. Then focus on the road ahead of you.
7.Keep Your Focus on the Road and Observe
While you are driving, focus on the road and continue to take note of your surroundings. Pay attention to the traffic, the people, the buildings, and the landscapes around you. Even if you’ve taken the same route a number of times before, you can bet you’ll notice something new when you drive mindfully.
Integrating mindfulness meditation into your driving routine can take some and will require constant practice. But once you have mastered it, you will notice a profound shift in your driving lifestyle, resulting in a calmer, observant and safer driver.
However, sometimes even the best precautionary measures fall short. If you were in a recent vehicular accident, call Michelle Linka Law. We offer you assistance in filing your accident benefit claims so you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (416) 477-7288.