Staying calm isn’t rocket science.
There’s nothing worse than having a hot date planned and feeling so nervous you’re not sure you’ll actually make it out the door.
The ever-present fear of saying the wrong thing or doing a nervous snort while forcefully laughing at one of your date’s jokes is all too real. And although first date jitters are a completely normal experience, they’re definitely not helpful when it comes to letting our best self shine through, according to Lower Stress Naturally author, Angelina Saunders .
“When interacting with others in a calm state, it’s easier to connect, as the concern for physical nerves has subsided and the focus turns to just being yourself. Once you’re able to calm yourself, it gives you the confidence that you can recreate that same sense of calmness at any moment,” Saunders explains.
So what should we do when we’re freaking out before that scary first date? Here’s what science has to say…
1. Breathe deeply
Whilst we’re carefully selecting which undies to wear, we should stop and remember to breathe, as anxiety can be brought on by shallow breathing.
“One of the fastest and easiest ways to influence the physical, is through deep, rhythmic breathing exercises. So before going on a date, practice slow, controlled breathing to calm the body,” advises Saunders.
2. Be present
According to science, we’re much better off visually undressing our date while he’s in front of us, rather than planning our future with him – it’s all part of being mindful.
Research has shown that staying in the moment, otherwise known as mindfulness, has a positive impact on our mood. A study published in NeuroImage in 2013, concluded that practicing mindfulness can actually reduce our anxiety levels. So focus on living in the present, and not getting involved in future scenarios, or reliving bad past-date experiences when you get ready for your next big date.
3. Stretch it out
Just because we need to take the time to carefully select an outfit doesn’t mean we should miss our Pilates class. A study conducted by Dr Herbert Benson at Harvard Medical School found that exercises like Pilates and yoga help to reduce anxiety and lower the body’s stress response. Not only will we feel happier by performing light exercise prior to heading out for dinner, we’ll be limber and warmed up if our date progresses to an adult sleepover.
4. Change up your date scent
Selecting a new date fragrance? Look for a scent containing lavender. The University of Maryland found the smell of lavender helps to calm our nervous system by promoting relaxation and an elevated mood; so even diffusing essential oils whilst we’re getting ready will make us feel more upbeat.
5. Grab your vibrator
Not that we need an excuse to bust out our vibrator and have some solo fun before a date, but science actually thinks it’s a good idea. When we orgasm, our blood is flooded with happy hormones like dopamine, which is why we feel ah-mazing post pleasure sesh. According to Dr Gloria Brame, “An orgasm is the biggest non-drug blast of dopamine available”. Yes, please!
6. Give a positive name to what you’re feeling
Uncomfortable stomach ache? We’ve all blamed that on the fact we’re stressed we’re going to stuff everything up on our date. But labelling our feelings negatively can do more harm than good. A study by Alison Wood Brooks at Harvard University found that, although it’s hard to sometimes be positive in a stressful situation, reframing feelings with uplifting words can improve your mood about a situation, so look at those ‘fluttery butterflies’ in your belly as a good sign.
7. Be grateful
Hot date with a Hemsworth look-a-like? So many people would be jealous, so just be grateful! Researchers at the University of California-Davis, led by Robert Emmons, found a regular gratitude practice reduced the production of cortisol, a hormone that makes us feel stressed and anxious, by as much as 23 per cent. So be grateful you’re a man-magnet and dead sexy too; go get ‘em, tiger!
Images via shutterstock.com, giphy.com and tumblr.com.
Comment: What’s your pre-date technique for reducing nerves?