Taking your driving test can be a stressful experience. Whether it’s a practical or theory test, there is extra pressure on you to perform. You have to learn new skills and information then apply that in situations which can unfold in random ways.
Meditation can be used to help prepare your body and mind for the challenges of learning to drive. There are different types of meditation, from affirmations and mantras through to visualisation, mindfulness, yoga and transcendentalism. Investigate a few to see which one works for you as they don’t all involve sitting in one place contemplating the meaning of life.
Meditation improves your concentration and your ability to multitask according to this study by the University of Washington. Learning meditation exercises your concentration abilities, improving it over time, just like exercising any muscle improves the muscle’s strength and endurance. Concentration is critical to driving; if you miss a hazard in your test, it could mean you fail immediately.
Improving self-awareness and confidence
Meditation puts you in touch with your own feelings and gives you the skills to control your reaction to them. People that do meditation find that they don’t get angry as easily and can more easily choose how they feel in challenging situations. It can also increase acceptance of your own personality and body, making you less self-conscious and more confident.
When driving, improving your own self-awareness and confidence means you’ll react to challenges much more effectively and with less delay.
Reducing stress and anxiety
Mindful meditation teaches you how to calm your mind and focus on the present according to this Harvard Medical School article. Driving can be especially stressful in rush hour, and to add to that, you’ll have a testing officer sitting next to you on your test. There’s a lot riding on you passing your test, too: you’ve spent money on lessons and the test itself, you’re looking forward to being able to drive independently and there are your own and your friends’ expectations.
Nerves can cause you to make silly mistakes. Controlling your nerves will give you a better chance of passing the first time.
Encouraging a healthy lifestyle
Because meditation tends to make a person more aware of their body and less reliant on external stimulants to control its response, studies have found that many people that meditate find themselves drinking, smoking and taking drugs less.
The benefits of this are increased disposable income which means you’ll be able to afford a better vehicle. You’ll also experience less in the way of mood swings that can cause road rage.
Increasing relaxation and immunity
Some studies have found that mindfulness meditation decreases inflammation and improves immune response. It indicates that the meditation makes your body more effective at fighting stress that might ordinarily make you ill. Driving while ill is difficult and increases the risk of accidents, so if you reduce the amount of time you’re ill, you reduce your accident risk.
Research on meditation
Wikipedia has a huge article outlining research on meditation and its broader benefits, including different types of meditation.