Managing Anxiety And Nerves
Updated: Jun 26, 2020
This is a guide that 4front Driving School have put together to help you manage and potentially overcome your driving test nerves. It is very common to be nervous about your test, but you need to find a way to reduce the nerves so that they don’t impact on the outcome of your test.
This post highlights some of our previous tips and some new ones that you might want to consider using and maybe even develop or put in place with your instructor on the lead up to your test.
So like we said driving test nerves are common and nerves as a whole do affect everybody to some degree, so we advise all our students to consider reading this post and see if some of the tips work for them. Nerves can come in different forms such as anxiety, panic, stress, or emotions, so we’re going to address some tips and some strategies that you might be able to put to good use. And hopefully it will help you to calm some of those nerves.
Can you describe your nerves?
What are they about and how does it make you feel?
Have you experienced the sweaty palms and our heart beating faster and that tight knot in your stomach? These are the feelings you get when you associate your nervous feelings. This is quite normal and happen in lots of situations such as on the day of your Driving test.
We all experience elements of anxiety in different forms at some point in our lives and I know from experience myself and that of my past students that the driving test can be a period of time where some learners can feel more anxious than others. Please don’t be afraid to open out to your instructor about this, they are there to support you, just as this guide is designed to do. At the end of the day both you and your instructor want you to pass, so finding a constructive way forward is key to success.
Your feelings could be a combination of anxiety, fear of the unknown and worrying about what might happen such as the outcome or result, even though it hasn’t happened yet. It can even be excitement mixed into this concoction of nerves.
Your instructor at 4front Driving School can help you to achieve the best outcome on the day of your test and hopefully get rid of some of those nerves that you may have.
Did you know that we get these feelings with the sweaty palms and that heart beating faster, because it is a natural response to a stressful situation. Your body responds by releasing adrenaline which in turn makes you feel more stressed and your heart rate then increases as a result. And for some their palms may start to sweat. It can develop into a panic attack if your not careful which is why it is important to start controlling our nerves, ease them and reduce their affect on our bodies.
The release of adrenaline, when your nervous, has its benefits as adrenaline helps your body react more quickly. so when it makes the heart beat faster it is increasing the blood flow to the brain and muscles, and then stimulates the body to make sugar to use for fuel to deal with stressful situations so we don’t want to distinguish our nerves completely, just control them.
How do we control our nerves?
Most learner drivers find that once they’ve started their test and are a few minutes into it, then the nerves had started to go or gone completely. This is because their concentration had taken over and masked the nervous conversations they were having in their head before. So we encourage our students to imagine going beyond those first few minutes where you are focussed and then the nerves may well reduce or disappear more quickly.
A good strategy to deal with the nerves is to open out to someone like your instructor and talk over the problem. Just don’t let it bottle up inside until it becomes unbearable. You will then be able to turn the worry into a positive thought, with a determined mind, rather than fearful or negative reflection. (Why not read our post on thoughtfield therapy)
Ask yourself the question – What is worrying you? And write down the answer so it’s clear on paper what the worry may be. Maybe its a particular part of your test that you’re worried about. Or it could be the stories you have been told by friends of their encounter with a specific examiner. Never fear the examiner, they are just normal people like you or I just doing their job, they’re not there to be your friend or make any judgement about you. They are there to assess whether or not you are ready and safe to drive on your own. So don’t dive in with a fearful mind.
Take a deep breath, tap your pressure points and tell yourself the positive references you have written down with your instructor. Look after yourself, try to keep those stressful hormones under control.
It is also important to get a good night’s sleep the night before your test, but you need to calm your nerves to allow the body to relax, so again you may want to run through your tapping process to calm your thoughts and let your body relax, switch off and fall into a state of sleep. If you are finding sleeping difficult on the run up to the test then we suggest trying some remedies such as calms, which help calm your thought processes at night and let your mind switch off.
I have always found certain foods that give you a boost of natural energy that help me stay focussed, alert and ready for a test. Foods with protein, iron and sometimes the addition of caffeine. I’m not suggesting changing your diet, but do something different before your test.
Mango is high in iron and can help you relax. Sweet potatoes and watermelons also help you relax along with herbal teas.
Nuts, chicken, chocolate, bananas and oats help release natural energy and keep you focussed for long periods of time as well as caffeine. I wouldn’t suggest you mix them together, but why not try them out and see how you perform.
Energy drinks are questionable and can increase anxiety. It’s not always a good idea to use these as it’s not natural and instead it is giving you a quick temporary burst of energy which also ends with a sudden drop in energy too, when it wears off.
Believe in yourself, be determined and tell yourself you can do it. Your instructor believes in you, so you should believe in yourself too.
The driving test can be a silent affair. You don’t have to make conversation with the examiner, but it may help you feel more comfortable having a chat. However, remember to end the conversation when you face situations that need you to concentrate more. It’s not the time to make friends but it is better chatting than sitting in silence and helps divert the mind from worrying about things.
If you are the quiet type then we suggest to our students to become an instructor in your head so when the examiner gives you instructions you then tell yourself what you need to do as a more detailed set of instructions. This again helps stop your mind from worrying.
Hae you considered music? Music can help calm nerves, create moods, reduce anxiety and fill the gaps of empty silence.
Having music on in the background, quietly, non offensive, can be requested in your test. Why not see if it works for you.
Don’t publicise the fact you are about to take your test over social media, as telling everyone puts more pressure on you to pass and then facing everyone if it doesn’t go to plan.
Unfortunately sometimes people don’t pass and this is not a great feeling. People you have told will ask, so try to keep quiet about it. A surprise when you do pass is so much better to share. It’s an achievement, a reward, something to be proud of, a moment you will remember and cherish. If you want to tell your closest friends then do, but just be careful.
When it comes to family and friends maybe tell them before about how your feeling and that you don’t want them to put pressure on you and ask them to support you whatever the outcome so that you feel comfortable and focussed on the day of your test.
Fear of the unknown is the worst part about the driving test so get to know what is required of you on the day of the test and what to expect. Read our blog post about this topic and speak with your instructor about what happens from the moment you arrive at the test centre to the examiner meeting you in the waiting area and what happens next.
You may want your instructor to sit in the back of the car on your test for a bit of piece of mind and reassurance. Some however don’t want this as they feel more comfortable with just the examiner watching and observing. At the end of the day you need to remember that you are the one taking the test and your instructor can’t do or say anything throughout it – you have to make the decisions so choose what is best for you.
Read up on what happens at the end of the test so you know the process. Then you can decide if you want your instructor with you to hear the feedback from the examiner.
Put all these processes and ideas together and it should help to alleviate some of those fears of what’s gonna happen on the day of your test.
Be prepared in readiness for your test and get yourself to the point where you feel ready to tackle this challenge. Trust in your judgment and your instructors views – that you are ready and can do this. Tell yourself with positive statements and determination when you walk through the door of the test centre, “I can do this, I believe in myself and my ability to pass my Driving test. I am ready, let’s do this.”
If you would like to learn to drive then please consider learning to drive with 4front Driving School,
Please visit our website at www.4frontdrivingschool.co.uk