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  • Ashish Patel

That Time Listening to Taylor Swift Helped My Driving Anxiety

Driving is one of those things that brings me a lot of anxiety, however over the years I have found ways to manage it.

My latest tactic is to keep one album on repeat whenever I'm out on the road. Many people have different ways of improving their driving experience - whether that be chatting, playing the radio or even just humming to their favourite tune - for me music plays a big part in keeping me at ease, comfortable and relaxed.

Now, this could well be because I like to drift off and imagine I'm living in a rom-com, or that I'm standing on Broadway singing my heart out, but I love losing myself in music. Finding the right song to play in the background really helps me to stay calm and relaxed when driving. This hasn't come as a huge surprise for me, with music always being the one thing I could depend on to keep me balanced during difficult life situations.

Enter stage left (still thinking about Broadway), Taylor Swift’s Folklore album…

Now before I get some eye rolls, please here me out. For me ‘Folklore’ is really an album that encompasses a bit of everything. Even if you're not a Swiftie, this album will keep you engaged. From ballads, catchy hooks and more, Folklore is an album that will make you feel a variety of emotions, but most importantly, it will keep you relaxed. Whether that be through Taylor Swift’s impeccable vocals or the musicians she collaborated with on the album, including popular indie artists Aaron Dessner and Jack Antanoff.

My favourite tracks on the album include Exile (ft. Bon Iver), The 1, Cardigan and Invisible String. Although it may come as no surprise that all the other tracks are equally my favourites too. The reason being each one is a story and upon different listens, you feel a range of different emotions.

Therefore the album is the perfect score for wherever you are going, with its atmospheric symphonies, clear vocals and inside out indie flavours. Now when I approach scary roundabouts or busy motorways, I tune into whatever song is playing and feel a wave of calm wash over me.

What I learnt from this experience:

  • Music can help alleviate anxiety especially when it’s a favourite album, artist or a song.

  • Driving doesn’t have to be scary and instead can be approached as a challenge where you are rewarded with a favourite meal or even seeing family after a long time.

  • Feeling overwhelmed shouldn’t always be seen as a negative. Overwhelm can be a by-product of stepping outside of our comfort zone. So if we can sometimes reframe the feeling of overwhelm as something that will lead us to our goals, it can help reduce the fear out of the situation.

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