Driving My Life Away



Dear Dharma,

I have finally gotten to the point in my life where I LOVE my job. I wake up every morning excited to get to work and start the day. However, as I go about my days and things get busier and busier, I’m noticing that I’m having higher anxiety while driving. Part of my job requires me to drive around quite a bit.

I live in the suburbs but I work in the city. Every time I leave the house, I have this sense of panic about getting into a car accident. Let’s face it, city drivers are intense and pretty crazy.

As soon as I get out of crazy city traffic, I feel immediately relieved. I’m finding I just want to keep moving further away – but I can’t because of my job that I finally found.

So I guess my question is… do you have any tips on how to decide what’s more important; my happy job or the area I live in? Or maybe some tips on how to cope with the anxiety?

Sorry if this question is a little all over the place, any help is appreciated!!

Driving Myself Crazy

Dear Driving,

First of all, congratulations on finding a job that you LOVE… Not an easy feat for most people, so definitely revel in that situation!

Of course I don’t know exactly how bad your anxiety has gotten in this arena, but I’m guessing it’s still manageable, as it sounds like you are still driving every day.

Right there, take that as a win.  It isn’t uncommon for driving anxiety to blossom and take over entirely, which often stops people from getting behind the wheel at all.

First of all, your self-talk is going to be a very important factor going forward.

If you let your brain take you down an accident ridden path every time you leave your house, anxiety is going to continue to be a problem.

You need to find a way to flip that switch as soon as it starts.  Change the self-talk radio station immediately and don’t allow words like “accident”, “panic”, “intense and crazy drivers” to make up your soundtrack.

As soon as you hear your brain start that crap, switch it over to your new mantra.

“I can do this, I’ve got this.”

Or whatever works for you.   Make it short, make it snappy and easy to remember.

Every single time those feelings crop up, and you start to feel anxious, repeat and repeat again.

“I’m good, I’m fine, I’ve got this!”

Also, try making your environment as zen and enjoyable as possible.  Soothing (but not sleepy) music, something that smells nice (an essential oil plug in?) and as little clutter as possible.  Make your car somewhere you like being.

Also, take a quick read of this… it goes a little deeper into causes and solutions for driving anxiety.  Some really helpful things here.

You may have noticed that I have only addressed your request for tips on coping with or solving the problem, not about how to decide which is more important, your job or the area in which you live.

I don’t know if I think that has to be addressed quite yet, while there are still so many other options to investigate to help squelch this newfound anxiety problem.

You game to try that out first?  Keep me posted…



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Categories: Advice, conflict, Health

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