First dates are stressful enough.
Leading up to the date, you’re constantly thinking about what you’re going to wear, what you’re going to talk about, and wondering whether they’re going to like you and you them.
But the day of, especially just before you meet up with the other person, your stress can quickly go from a five to a ten in no time at all.
So, what can you do to relax before a first date?
Fortunately, there are a lot of simple but effective brain hacks you can use to relax, most or all requiring nothing more than what you already have around you.
The perfect date is the one where anything and everything goes wrong, but at the end of it, all you want is to see them again.
– Dylan O’Brien
Here are five brain hacks for relaxing before a first date.
1. Adopt a power pose
Nerves before a first date are directly related to a lack of confidence. If you’re more confident, you’ll be less stressed about things in general.
One way you can do this is by adopting a “power pose” which research has shown has the ability to make us feel more confident.
Think of a pose that makes you feel empowered — a standing superman pose, sitting back with your arms folded up and legs on your desk, or standing while pumping or raising your fists (the idea is you want to expand and take up more space) — and adopt that pose for two straight minutes. You’ll not only feel more confident on your date but that confidence will help you relax.
2. Shift your perspective to “Who cares?”
Often the reason we’re so nervous is because we want things to go well. It’s our expectations.
After all, you could be meeting that special someone later tonight and you don’t want to screw things up. No wonder you feel so stressed out. That’s a lot of pressure, right?
However, by reminding yourself that there are a lot of great people out there, and that this is just one date (or that the right person will appreciate you no matter what), you can calm a lot of those nerves.
I’ve used this strategy before interviews and client calls a lot. There’s a lot of pressure on me professionally and I don’t want to screw up. But when I’d remind myself that this is “just another” call my anxiety goes out the window and I actually become very relaxed.
Who cares what happens? Good or bad you’ll still be alive tomorrow and can move on to the next one. And, the reality is, if it’s truly the right one there’s probably nothing you can do to mess it up anyway.
3. Take a nap
It’s important to take into consideration the state of your body before a first date.
How do you feel? Are you feeling rested and calm? Or are you working yourself up every moment of every day leading up to the date and not allowing your brain to rest?
If it’s the latter, getting a little extra sleep with a nap earlier in the day can help your body and mind recharge and put you in a calmer and more controlled state of mind when it comes time for your date.
4. Distract yourself with something you enjoy
If all else fails, forget about the date entirely and go distract yourself with something you enjoy doing such as reading, watching T.V., or listening to music.
Whatever you enjoy doing on your off time, just forget about the stress and dive in. Indulge yourself thoroughly and let yourself slide into relaxation.
Distraction is an incredibly useful technique when you’re anxious and need to calm down. That’s because the anxiety is caused by the contents of your state of mind. If you’re not currently thinking about the date, the anxiety starts to ease.
Sure, it might pick up again when you stop doing said activity, but now you’ll have shedded away a lot of that anxiety and can go into your date feeling refreshed and more clear-minded.
5. Be mindful of the breath
What if your date is literally thirty minutes away and you have no time for any of this?
What if you’ve tried a power pose and it hasn’t worked or you can’t find any privacy to stand like Superman for two full minutes without people thinking you’re out of your mind?
To be more accurate, be mindful of the in-breath and the out-breath and allow yourself to tune into what is going on within the body. Call it meditation or call it simply paying attention to the breath. Whatever you choose to call it doesn’t matter. It just matters that you do it.
Spend one, three, five, ten minutes following the breath in and out like this and you’ll feel a noticeable difference between before and after. And the cool thing is you can keep doing this well into the date.
If you or they take a moment to run to the restroom, follow your breath. Throughout the night at little moments here and there you can check in with your breath. If it’s sporadic, just note that and you’ll naturally begin to slow your breathing down, allowing you to stay calmer throughout the date.