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Driving test nerves

I regularly get consulted with people wanting help in overcoming driving test nerves. Types of nerves can range from an overall feeling of anxiety about the test in general, to more specific nerves related to a particular manoeuvre required during the test.

The vast majority of clients I see are more than capable drivers and experience no nerves during their normal driving lessons. Some have taken their test previously, either once or have had a few attempts. Others just want a bit of a boost to make sure they are feeling 100% confident before attempting the test for the first time. The one’s that have taken their test previously may have had a bad experience or failed due to a few minor mistakes. This experience may then trigger off a few doubts in the person’s mind about their ability to pass the next time. Consequently, this can then turn into a limiting belief, backed up by every failed attempt they make at passing their test.

So what exactly causes nerves or anxiety?

It all starts with the mind and how we think and process experiences and upcoming events. We essentially have two different parts to our minds, the conscious will which states what we want to happen, and the imagination which kicks in with fear and doubt. When these two parts of our mind are conflicted, the imagination wins over.

Put into context from a driving test point of view, our conscious will states: “I’m going to pass my driving test”. The imagination kicks in with fear and doubt, answering “But what if you don’t? You’re going to get something wrong, you’re going to forget everything and freeze. Look what happened last time, you got really nervous and forgot to indicate and check your mirrors.” As soon as there is a conflict between the two, the imagination wins and overrides the conscious will. You start imagining the worst case scenario and messing up a manoeuvre, feeling really nervous and anxious.

By imagining the worst case scenario, you are essentially playing a horror movie in your head. This then feeds down to your body and your body reacts with physical symptoms of nerves and anxiety. You may experience an upset stomach, sweaty palms, hyperventilating, heart palpitations and feel as if you can’t remember anything that you have learnt from your driving lessons. This is obviously not a good situation to be in just before or during your test!

How can Hypnotherapy help?

Hypnotherapy is a brilliant tool to help overcome driving test nerves. During hypnosis we are able to bypass the conscious mind and help put suggestions into the subconscious to enable the two to work together. By doing this, we are able to start training the imagination to work for you, rather than against you.

In this situation, we can run through an ideal driving test in your mind whilst in hypnosis. Instead of playing a horror movie of everything going wrong, we can suggest everything going right, you feeling nice and calm, relaxed and in control. We can go through all of the manoeuvres in your mind, with you feeling how you would like to feel during your test. We are starting to re-train your mind by doing this and breaking the unhelpful habits you have got into by imagining things going wrong. By imagining things going right, you are training your body to react in a positive, helpful way! 


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