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Johanne is a Danish psychologist trained in behavioral methods and the co-founder of It's Complicated. She completed her education as a psychologist at the University of Copenhagen in 2013, with a master's degree and experience within the fields of narrative therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).

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Last Updated on October 13, 2023 by It’s Complicated

I didn’t get my driver’s license before I absolutely had to, which was a couple of years ago. During lessons, I was so bad at everything required to learn the art of driving stick (this is Denmark, so people are still driving stick, lol): Combining the sequence of hand and foot movements, while maintaining situational awareness and making quick, astute decisions to keep up with the pace and avoiding confrontation. I sucked at it all. So much so, that it took me a year and a half, along with three different instructors, to finally earn my license, and I’ve forced myself to forget how much the extra lessons ended up costing me.

I’m approaching my one-year anniversary as a driver, and it’s still the activity that triggers the most visceral anxiety in me. Each time I drive, which is about twice a week, my palms become sweaty, my heart races and the thought of being responsible for a one-ton vehicle weighs heavily on me. I worry about the potential harm I could cause or the risk of annoying others with my overly cautious driving.

However, I might just have experienced a breakthrough. Not in my actual driving capabilities or confidence, but in my understanding of why I struggle.

The realisation came when I played PlayStation for the first time in 20 years and noticed the exact same physiological symptoms that I get when driving: Adrenaline surging and hands dripping from sweat.

Reflecting on the connection, I believe these similar bodily reactions stem from my lack of experience with activities involving mind-body coordination. I’ve never been into gaming, sports haven’t been my thing, and I typically avoid tasks that don’t come naturally to me. So, at 34, I’m plagued by anxiety and sweat attacks both behind the wheel and while gripping a PS controller.

I don’t mind being confronted with my own weaknesses and shortcomings though. It serves as a reminder that we all share a common journey when it comes to the fundamental building blocks of learning. It reinforces the idea that gradual exposure, stepping outside our comfort zones while treating ourselves with kindness, is the formula for growth.

And so, it seems I need to carve out time in my self-care routine for sessions with my household’s newly acquired Playstation.

…btw this is how tense I look when I’m behind the wheel 😳😅

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