As Valentine’s Day approaches there are a mixture of feelings in the air. From excitement and passion, to anxiety and apprehension, there is no denying that the holiday can invoke very strong feelings amongst the dating population.
If you are one of the 126.9 million single Americans, and you feel more flustered than fluttery when it comes to the prospect of dating, there are some tips and tricks to help you experience stress-free dates. Whether it’s practicing some mindfulness and self-care before your next date, or indulging in some mood enhancing chocolate, there are many ways to get in the mood for dating.
Dating’s Effect on Mental Health
Dating can feel like equal parts pleasure and panic inducing anxiety. While feel-good chemicals like dopamine and endorphins can make dating an extremely enjoyable aspect of adult health, it can also be quite the opposite for those who experience anxiety.
Dating is an important part of getting to know a potential partner, and it helps to assess the amount of chemistry you have with another person. When approached with curiosity and an open mind, it can become a fun way to boost your confidence and learn more about yourself and what you want. As social creatures, we gain a lot from having positive interactions with other people. The key is to avoid toxic behaviors like negative self-talk and inflated expectations.
- Be curious.
- Be authentic.
- Be open.
If you can focus on these three things, you are more likely to enjoy the positive impact dating can have on your mental health.
Get Into the Right Mindset About Dating
To get into the right mindset for dating, you need to be clear on what dating is AND isn’t.
Let’s start with looking at what dating really is. First, it is an opportunity to meet other people. Whether it’s a match made in heaven, or a flop, it allows you to get to know exactly what you want in a partner while enjoying socializing with other people on the same path. Next, it is a great way to step out of your comfort zone and encourage personal growth. You can practice your conversational skills and learn more about places and activities that interest you. Lastly, it is what you make it out to be. The mindset you go in with is the precursor to how you feel walking away from the date.
Now, let’s talk about what dating is not. Dating is not a guarantee for marriage and babies. Don’t place huge expectations on a person you haven’t met, or even a person you have met a few times, as it is more likely to set you up for disappointment. This leads us to the next point, which is that one date doesn’t spell out what every date thereafter will be like. You have to go on multiple dates to get to know a person and determine if it’s a match or not.
Pre-game With Anxiety Reducing Self Care
Now that you know more about going into a date with the right mindset, there are some ways you can pre-game with self care rituals to get yourself into a relaxed state prior to going on a date.
- Take a calming bath or shower.
- Laugh out the jitters by talking to a friend or watching a favorite show.
- Use affirmations that boost your confidence and keep you grounded.
- Have a snack to avoid a blood sugar crash.
Nibble on a few squares of Carefree Chocolate to take the edge off.
Each of these rituals will help you clear your mind and focus on what you want to get out of the experience. Your ultimate goal is to enjoy yourself and feel good.
Remember, your date is wanting to get to know you as much as you want to get to know them. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not in order to impress them. If your goal is to see the person again, it will be a lot easier in the long run if you are true to yourself from the start.
It is also important to validate your date and encourage them to be their authentic self. Ask them questions about their interests and find commonalities you can discuss further. When you both feel comfortable with being authentic, more pathways to engaging discussions will open up for you.
Activity focused dates are a great way to avoid feeling like you are in a job interview, and they make it easier to let your guard down with someone new. Agree on an activity you will both enjoy ahead of time and remember to stay true to yourself. If you are terrified of heights, you probably don’t want to agree to a rock climbing date.
It may sound like a great idea when you are really nervous about meeting someone, but it can also spell disaster should you go too far. If you are on a date and you choose to drink, pace yourself and make sure to eat as well. You can still get in the spirit without overdoing it on the spirits!
Follow these steps and enjoy your dates more. These may also apply to other social situations, like meeting new friends or interacting with new people at work.
Chocolate for healthy dating and other health realities!
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