Dealing with Stress Whilst Driving: Breathing
We all do it and if we don’t…well you know. But breathing is another technique that could help calm you down. So to be more specific it’s diaphragmatic breathing or what’s more commonly known as belly breathing that can help. This is a deep breathing technique that promotes relaxation and hence reduces stress. According to the University of Texas Counseling and Mental Health Center, “Diaphragmatic breathing allows one to take normal breaths while maximizing the amount of oxygen that goes into the bloodstream. It is a way of interrupting the ‘Fight or Flight’ response and triggering the body’s normal relaxation response.”
So what’s the technique? When pulled over (safely) breath in through your nose for a count of three deep down into your stomach. Hold for a count of one, then out from your mouth for a count of four, emptying your stomach of the breath. As instructors, we quite often tell our pupils “in with the calm and out with the stress”. A cycle of three or four of these deep breaths will quite often a calm state.
So next time, if the gum and the shaking haven’t helped. Try belly breathing. But remember, pull over and stop. Don’t try doing it on the move!