How to reduce anxiety when learning to drive!

For some people, learning to drive is not the exciting adventure they have waited their whole lives to start…Learning anything new is a challenge, we all bring our past experiences (good and bad) to the table, and not all of us learn to drive because we want to. So let’s look at how Thought Field Therapy may help to make the learning experience less stressful for those who feel anxious about learning to drive.

Thought field therapy (TFT) is extremely effective, and whilst I am not a TFT practitioner, I do believe it can be of benefit for some students when learning to drive. Just as we all have preferred learning styles, we also all have different ways of dealing with anxiety. Some students find that issues such as worry over the driving test, performing certain driving tasks such as hill starts, or even remembering which is your left and right can all be easily resolved using TFT techniques!

TFT sequences have been formulated over many years, it is completely natural and works by tapping certain acupressure points on your body. Each of these points has a different effect depending on the issue you are addressing. Therefore, it is important, that to get the best results, you tap the correct points in the correct order. Rather like your hazard routine (MSPSL), you have to have the basic concepts and use them in the correct order otherwise the result is not very good! 

So let’s look firstly at where the tapping points are on the body and then we have 3 tapping sequences to help you with:

Remembering your left and rights!

Dealing with those hot sweats when your instructor asks you to do a task you hate!

Help to feel a little more confident around the examiner on test day!

Outside of Hand

Tapping Points

At the beginning of the eyebrow, just above the bridge of nose. 

Under eye: About 2cm below the bottom of the eyeball, at the bottom centre of the bony part, high on the cheek. 

Collarbone: About 2cm down and to the left or right or where you would knot a tie. 

Under arm: About 10cm directly below the armpit on the ribs. 

Tiny finger: Inside tip of the tiny finger, adjacent to the nail, and on the side closest to the thumb. 

Middle finger: Inside tip of the middle finger, adjacent to the nail, and on the side closest to the thumb. 

Index finger: Inside tip of the index finger, adjacent to the nail, and on the side closest to the thumb. 

Under nose: Under your nose, above the top lip.

Outside of hand: Outside edge of the hand, about midway between the wrist and the base of the little finger, the part of the hand that you would use for a karate chop. 

Gamut spot: On the back of the hand about 2cm below the raised knuckles of the ring finger and little finger when making a fist. 

You should tap each point about 5 times with 2 fingers (usually your index and middle finger).

Now you are familiar with the tapping points, below are the sequences that you need to use for each issue. It is important that you follow them accurately, as they have been discovered after many years of clinical research and you must use the correct tapping sequence for a specific issue. It’s no good using the basic tapping sequence for anxiety when you want to eliminate feelings of intimidation for example. Remember you should tap each point about 5 times using your index finger and your middle finger.

Mixing up left and right

This is caused by a condition known as psychological reversal, and whilst it is more common in dyslexic students, it is surprisingly common generally in the early stages of learning to drive. When we are focusing so hard on the challenging new task of driving for example, we temporarily forget the well practiced and by now subliminal skill of remembering which way is left or right when we need to turn!  This sequence takes seconds to do and you can do it at home just before your lesson. I think you will be amazed at how effective it is!

Tapping Points – Outside of right hand (Tap 5 times), Under Nose (Tap 5 times), Outside of left hand (Tap 5 times). Repeat this sequence 3 times just before every lesson and you should have less trouble with remembering left and right!

Mixing up left and right is more common than you think…even for our mascot Lilly!!!

Anxiety, nerves, stress, or issues such as hill starts, manoeuvres etc

It is common for learner drivers and even qualified drivers to be nervous of certain aspects of driving, for example hill starts or manoeuvres.  If you find yourself feeling anxious before your driving lesson, and it relates to a certain issue, try the below tapping sequence to help calm those nerves. But… also speak with your driving instructor as they should have plenty of tricks in their tool box to help you improve the skill and boost your confidence.

Tapping Points – Under Eye (Tap 5 times), Under Arm (Tap 5 times), Collarbone (Tap 5 times). Repeat the sequence until you feel calmer. 

Intimidation, such as feeling intimidated by the examiner

It is natural to feel nervous on test day and a healthy level of nervousness is normal which will help you perform at the top of your game.  Many students however feel intimidated by the thought of the examiner which can hinder their test performance, so it may be worth trying the below sequence to help keep those feelings of intimidation at bay.

Tapping Points – Eyebrow (Tap 5 times), Under Eye (Tap 5 times), Under Nose (Tap 5 times), Collarbone (Tap 5 times), Tiny finger (Tap 5 times).  Repeat the sequence until you feel more at ease.

As with most problems, there is not always one solution, but I believe Thought Field Therapy does have it’s place as a natural remedy in helping to calm driving nerves…so why not give it a try when you go back to driving after lockdown!

6 Ideas for Driving Lesson Confidence after Lockdown.

As yet another lockdown starts to draw to an end in the UK, I am painfully aware that many of my students have not been driving very much at all.  Back in December, we were forced to stop Driving Lessons completely, and for those of you lucky enough to have a car for private practice, your time behind the wheel will have been limited to essential journeys only.

Whilst I am sure we all appreciate that staying home is necessary to save lives, the prospect of returning to Driving Lessons may now be a mixed bag of emotions for many of you. These emotions may understandably include symptoms of driving anxiety…

So… what can we do to help you ease gently back into the task of driving feeling excited and confident?

1. Revise your Theory

Even if you have passed your driving theory test, take time to either read the highway code or go over some test questions on your app if you have one.  This is a good habit to get in to even after you have passed your driving test, as it keeps you up to date with changes in the law. At this time it will also help you get back into the driving mindset and will give you more confidence as you remind yourself of the rules of the road.

2. Speak to Your Driving Instructor

If you are feeling nervous about restarting lessons, try to focus on exactly which aspects feel particularly scary to you (there are no right or wrong answers here…these are your feeling and they are very valid!) Then… speak to your driving instructor. Do this before the lesson, tell them how you are feeling and which areas are particularly of concern.  Together you will then be able to come up with a lesson plan that you are comfortable with and which will address any issues you might have.  With a plan in place in advance, you should feel more confident about your first lesson back. Should things go better than expected, then you can always agree to adapt the plan during the lesson as you regain your confidence!

3. Revise your lesson notes

I provide all my students with lesson notes whenever we learn a new topic. Lesson handouts help consolidate the practical skills which have been learned and enable you to go back over the content in your own time. If your instructor does this for you, now would be a good time to refresh your knowledge by going over your lesson handouts. This will leave you feeling less rusty.

4. Get some private practice (once lockdown has lifted)

If you have access to a car, try to go on a gentle car journey with your usual accompanying driver.  This will help to settle you back into the practical skill of driving before your first lesson, and it will help you blow off a few cobwebs!  Keep it close to home and simple, just do some basic junctions on roads you are familiar with.  Keep the session short, no longer than 20 mins and afterwards you should feel a lot more confident having revisited the basics.

5. Positive Mental Attitude

Prepare yourself mentally before you have your first lesson back.  Make sure you get plenty of rest the night before. To help reduce stress levels further, try to do whatever keeps you calm just before your lesson.  This may include yoga, running or listening to music.  Also ensure you eat to maintain your blood sugar levels, but it may be sensible to avoid caffeine before you drive as it can trigger anxiety in some people.

6. Thought Field Therapy (TFT)

FREE Online training for Learner Drivers!

Get FREE Driver Active online programme today!

It’s been a while now since coronavirus forced us to put learning to drive goals on hold. Are you worried that you will have lost some of your driving skills which will now take time and money to put right? Our FREE online training offered in partnership with Driver Active, will help you stay on track with your driving even if you can’t have practical lessons at the moment.

We are slowly starting to come out of the dark and we are learning to adjust to some sort of a ” new normal” but we understand that whether you have only had a few lessons or were almost test ready, your concerns around your driving are valid and so just how can we make a “new normal” for learning and maintaining practical driving skills when we are still required to uphold social distancing rules?

Practicing Show Me, Tell Me Questions

If you are already one of our students then you will be familiar with the unique Driver Active online training programme, for which we usually offer 90 Days Free Access but… to help all learner drivers and, until we can safely get back in the car, we can now offer unlimited access to online, no obligation training, absolutely FREE whether you are one of our students or not! It is chock full of information and videos presented in an interesting way, (We are aware driving related topics can be a dry read!) Whilst there can be no substitute for practical “road experience” with a qualified instructor, this programme offers valuable interactive insights into the practical skill of driving and will help you retain and build on the skills you already have!!!

Under normal circumstances, we use online videos and tutorials to go into a little more detail than we sometimes have time for when we are in the car, as after all when you are with me you will want to gain the maximum benefit from my expertise whilst actually driving! So these videos are designed to accelerate and deepen your learning at home, allowing you to consolidate your last lesson, help you prepare for your next lesson and most importantly SAVE you money on learning to drive! Having said that during extended periods where you cannot take practical lessons they are also invaluable in keeping your knowledge at the forefront and exercising your “driving brain”…..This unique online programme will give you the opportunity to “dig deeper” into the knowledge you already have, or it may help you look at a particular problem in a slightly different way, which could then help you solve it when you go back to your lessons. You will never again have the luxury of so much time to expand your knowledge and offset some of the lack of practical training opportunities you are currently facing. This could not only result in you needing fewer lessons but guaranteed it will make you a better driver and more likely to pass your driving test! 

With this FREE training you can refresh everything you have learned so far as well as understanding and preparing for what is yet to come. If you spend quality time working through this progamme now, you should be in a position to resume your Driving Lessons stronger and wiser! 

FREE Driver Active online training program can help you:

Keep in the driving mindset

Learn at your own pace

Consolidate and refresh previously learned skills

Study ahead for when practical lessons start

Gain a deeper understanding of driving procedure

Save money on lessons

Become a better driver

Pass your test easier

We both have the same ultimate goal…YOUR SUCCESS!… and these FREE training materials will speed you on your way…Start Today!

Follow our 3 top tips to save you money on your Driving Lessons after Lockdown…

1. Keep practicing your theory questions.

Every time we get behind the wheel of a car we apply what we have learned in our theory to our practical driving so it is vital that we don’t forget what we have learned during this downtime.  Whatever stage you are at with your theory study, download the DVSA Official Theory App and test yourself once a week.  Even if you have already passed your theory test this is a great way to keep in the driving mindset and keep your knowledge fresh which, may ultimately end up saving you money when you go back to your practical lessons.

2. Use your downtime to read.

Click Here to Purchase DVSA Official Publications

When you first started learning to drive you probably went out and bought the DVSA guide “Learning to Drive” or other DVSA publications? Now would be a good time to read them! (If you don’t already have them, the DVSA are offering 10% discount for a limited period at the moment). They are packed with useful information to make learning to drive easier and there is even advice for accompanying drivers…this means that once lockdown is lifted, even if you can’t start your lessons right away,  you will be well positioned to go out and practice with a suitable family member to refresh your skills and save money on professional lessons.  (Please do make sure though that your accompanying driver is over 21 and has been driving for at least 3 years.  Also ensure you have valid insurance for the vehicle you are driving).

3.Go on to the official DVSA website “Safe Driving for  Life” .

Click Here for Safe Driving for Life

If reading books isn’t your thing then Safe Driving for Life has a wealth of FREE information online and now is the time to take a look and expand your knowledge including what to expect on your Driving Test.  We all live busy lives and whilst as a driving instructor I will do everything in my power to teach you as much as I can, to not only to pass your test but also to stay safe on the roads…..you will never again have the opportunity to do some extended reading on the subject and expand your knowledge. This could not only result in you needing fewer lessons but guaranteed it will make you a better driver and more likely to pass your driving test!

Behind the scenes!

Welcome to my new Blog and to kick things off I thought you might enjoy finding out a few “behind the scenes” things about me. Firstly I can tell you that I am a female….(clearly), friendly…. (of course), patient….(goes with the territory), qualified driving instructor….(why wouldn’t I be qualified if I am charging you for lessons) and using a dual controlled car…. (just like all other reputable instructors). Apart from the female part I am sure you have read these words on almost every Driving Instructor website you have seen? Don’t misunderstand me…I am all of these things but surely if you are paying for my professional services these qualities are a given?

So what does make me different?…Well, I come from a family of Driving Instructors…my father was a Driving Instructor and was way ahead of his time with some of his pioneering ideas which we see in the modern world of Driver Training today. He taught my mother to drive and of course yours truly and given he was well renowned in driving circles all eyes were on us (and him) when we took our tests….no pressure! Two of my brothers are also driving instructors so I guess you could say it is in the blood and I have certainly experienced the industry and all it’s ups and downs from a very early age.

Secondly… Fun fact! I have qualified as a Driving Instructor twice!! Now you should know that qualifying is tough and the pass rate to be accepted on to the ADI (Approved Driving Instructor Register) is very low. So no-one in their right mind would put themselves through that twice if they weren’t truly passionate for their work! The reason I needed to jump through the hoops twice is because once you are qualified you are required to take regular tests (just like taking your driving test over and over again…what fun!) which in my case I was unable to do as we lived in Dubai for several years when my children were young. When we came back therefore, my passion to teach had not gone away so back to the books I went. The experience of re qualifying was completely different from back in 2003 but I am now in a unique position of being able to bring to the table both experience and fresh up to date knowledge. With the best will in the world if you have been doing the same thing every day for 20 years it is easy to become set in your ways and lose your drive (pardon the pun) and with any job when you are newly qualified you are on your game in terms of modern methods but you have yet to learn certain skills which only come with experience. I can offer both experience and the latest training techniques.

So exactly what can you expect from me?

I am 100% committed to your learning…It goes without saying that I will develop your driving skills in order for you to not only pass your driving test but also to become a confident and skilled driver. The reason I can say this is because this is not just a job for me, it is a vocation and when I am on your time, you will have 100% of my time. That is how important teaching you is to me.

I will be the best I can be for YOU…at every lesson. I will arrive fresh, focused and prepared in order for you to get maximum value from your hard earned money.

I will help you by following an easy training program… but having said that, I understand that everyone learns in different ways and within different time frames so if we do hit a road block in your learning then together we will work out an alternative approach which works for you and keeps you on track.

I will be professional and transparent at all times… and when you reach a stage where you can practice without me I will fully support you and your accompanying driver to get the most from your practice between lessons. At the end of the day you are paying me to teach you, not to sit next to you to make it legal whilst you drive around. I see this as a team effort between you, myself and eventually your accompanying driver so I will help you to have focused practice between lessons which will consolidate what we have already learned. If you can do this then it will save you money and give you valuable road time.

Finally… going back to our theme at the beginning of this being a family business, I thought I would share this image with you of our mascot and family dog Lilly….in these unprecedented times I need to get my practice where I can and she is proving to be a very quick learner!!!! 🙂

Until next time….stay safe