Emotions, why do they play such a big role in driving?
Emotions in your body can alter your physical state.
Emotions such as fear, anger, guilt, contempt, and embarrassment precede feelings. The feeling is what you associate to the emotion.
Feelings are mental associations and reactions to emotions, and are subjective being influenced by personal experience, beliefs, and memories.
A feeling is a mental portrayal of what is going on in your body when you have an emotion and is the byproduct of your brain perceiving and assigning meaning to the emotion.
Your emotions and feelings play a powerful role in how you experience and interact with the world because they are the driving force behind many behaviors, helpful and unhelpful.
Emotions can effect the way we drive or react to everyday situations for example other drivers.
Often learners feel harassed by other drivers, whether they are behind, ahead, or at a junction.
Although other drivers can be attributed to why a learner might stall their vehicle at a traffic light, they are not the problem.
It starts with the learners emotions. The learner might feel fear in this situation, they become afraid of stalling the vehicle, which they assume will result in anger or contempt from other drivers.
The pressure on the learner to get the vehicle moving now becomes huge, and if the learner panics when the lights change, they will rush with the controls resulting in a stall.
It’s difficult for the instructor in this situation, because no matter how hard they try to calm and reassure the learner, the anxiety the learner feels forces them to rush and the vehicle stalls again.
So, thereafter every time the learner is in the same situation they feel anxious, and their focus is on stalling rather than smooth use of the control’s to get the car moving
So in this situation the emotion the learner feels is associated with a memory from an earlier mistake made, but it can also be from a similar experience passed from person to person.
In a conversation with others in a group, one of the members tells the story of how they stalled the vehicle virtually every time the came to a stop.
Their heart would start pounding, their breathing would become rapid and sallow, and they would actually start sweating at the thought of having to get the vehicle moving.
In fact it got so bad that it forced them to stop their driving lessons because the fear of stalling became greater than the desire to drive.
So, experiences from other people can be so powerful that it can often be passed on to others.
So how do they overcome the feeling they get from the emotion?
This is easier said than done, but by understanding the difference and becoming aware of your emotions and feelings, you will learn to respond rather than react and driving will magically become more under your control.
So, the next time you are stationary at traffic lights and you start to become anxious, you can respond to the feeling and become determined to focus on using the controls smoothly resulting with the vehicle pulling away easily.
When you master the skill of choosing your feelings and behaviors, life behind the wheel will settle down, and you’ll become a calmer, and less stressed driver.