Using The Alexander Technique Whilst Driving

May 14th, 2013 in Interesting Facts


In this second instalment of tips for motorists, Alexander Technique teacher Carolyn Simon MSTAT shares some ideas for reducing stress on the streets.

Your driving instructor probably told you that it’s important to get into good habits right from the start: check the position of your mirrors; always wear a seatbelt; check your tyre pressures regularly etc. It’s equally important to ensure that you have good habits relating to how you sit at the wheel, have a look at my previous 6 tips, and how you approach the task of driving.  If you’re in a hurry, or worried about getting lost, that anxiety will appear in your body as muscular tension. And if that tension hangs around for too long, it can lead to head-aches, stiff shoulders, neck pain and back problems.  So here are some tips to help you take care of yourself mentally and physically when you’re on the road:

 1) If you’re the kind of person who is over-optimistic about journey times (aka late), leave earlier! 

2) Having said that, if you are unexpectedly caught in a traffic jam, accept the situation calmly.  As a wise person once said, “Better to be 5 minutes late in this life, than early in the next.”

3) Especially if you don’t have sat-nav, allow time before your journey to check you know where you’re going, and to plan your route.

4) Keep a sense of perspective. Frustrated because you’re stuck behind a learner-driver? - Remind yourself that you were once in their shoes.  Irritated because you’re trapped behind an elderly person who is driving painfully slowly? - Take a moment to recognise that may be you one day. Overtaken on the inside? Forced to brake by someone pulling out in front of you? - Don’t let other people’s bad driving get to you. 

5) If driving conditions become tricky – for example, you spot an accident ahead or need to reverse into a tight parking spot – prevent mental overload by cutting out distractions: e.g. turn off the radio, stop talking to your friend in the passenger seat etc.

6) If you’re lucky enough to be driving through pleasant scenery, enjoy it!