Mindfulness is being in the present moment, moment by moment. How often do we drive our car to a destination, turn off the ignition and wonder how we got there. Usually it’s the same boring similar route. On occasions we find if we have to go to a different destination we start to travel to the previous / usual destination. This can happen when you change jobs or move house.
Whilst driving, as soon as you realise the mind has wandered off, bring it back to what you are doing – driving, bring your full awareness back to this moment. This is part of mindfulness training.
Mindfulness can help to make you a better driver. Here are a few tips to help improve your driving and to help keep you and your passengers safe.
When approaching your vehicle, be mindful of your car, anything different, i.e. tyres flat, mirror damaged. Quite often we think the car will in the same state as we left it.
Before you turn on the ignition, sit for a few moments and take a few deep breathes. Make sure the seat, mirrors are in the right position for you, particularly if more than one person uses the car.
Decide on the best route, giving yourself enough time for your journey.
See if you can keep the radio off, silence helps you concentrate on your other senses. If you do have the radio on, be aware of the music your listening to, music can affect your driving i.e. Rock music can increase your speed make you more aggressive, take more risks. Really calm music could relax you too much
Be mindful of the temperature in the car, too hot can make you drowsy.
Giving full attention to the road ahead and the roads around you. You never know what might run out in front of you. Rather than just concentrating on the brake lights of the person in front of you.
If you are in a traffic jam and the car isn’t moving, listen to the words you are saying to yourself ‘This is a hell of a journey’ terrible, nightmare, disaster. Yes the journey may be stressful. The words you tell yourself are the words the subconscious mind accepts and these then affect your body and how you drive.
If you are going to be late for an appointment, accept it, You can’t do anything about it, so bring your mind back to your driving, giving full concentration to the manoeuvring of your car.
If someone cuts you up, does something that annoys you, usually you cannot do anything about it. Try and take the slightly deep breathes in and out and try and let that persons actions go. If we hold onto their actions we then have the opportunity to take on a different driving style usually more aggressive, faster speed and less concentration. Playing what happened over and over in our minds.
When you get to your destination try and think of one part of the drive that you can remember.
Be aware of your mood / attitude. Do not bring it into your next place and inflict it on the people around you
When parking, be aware of where you have parked it. A mindful minute can save you a lot of heartache, wondering where it is, or has it been stolen.
Being aware when we are tired and our reaction times have slowed down. Wind down the window, get some fresh air, and when you can take a break. Move, stretch, and drink fluids, you may be dehydrated.
A mindful reminder may be on your phone of when the car requires a service, date for renewal of insurance and road tax. The name and phone number of the company you have for roadside recovery, and your insurance company in case of an accident
Concentrating on driving with less distractions in the mind can keep you in a safe, happier and healthier situation. It may save you time in the long run and save you money, less accidents, less fuel, and may be less speeding fines.