3 ways to boost your confidence before a date
The initial excitement generated by the prospect of a first date feels great. As the days tick by and the upcoming event becomes more real, many people find themselves generating enough nervous energy to power a small city (or at least a thriving hamlet).
We might take some reassurance from the fact that the fear of the unknown is part of what makes us human. We might also benefit from understanding that pre-date mental preparedness isn’t about quashing nerves, it’s about managing them.
See things differently
Anyone familiar with Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) will know that it’s perfectly possible to change your view of the world by making minor modifications to the way you think and behave. In a nutshell, CBT works by breaking negative cycles of thoughts, actions, feelings, and physical sensations.
For example, don’t let things that happen in the run up to the date effect your perception of how the date will go. It’s all too easy to let a minor infraction with a work colleague get you down, and lead to thoughts that you’re a bad person and that your date won’t like you. This in turn might make you feel sick and lethargic etc. etc. Be objective and always look for alternative explanations for seemingly negative events. In the work example, it’s probably that your colleague has stresses at home or other worries.
It’s also important not to create a narrative based on negative interpretations of past events. If you’re worried it’s easy to ruminate on old events and string them together as if they are an inviolate story and predictor of the future. It may sound clichéd, but the past really is the past, and the future is whatever you make it.
Adrenaline has been helping humans for millennia – whether it’s escaping the clutches of a hungry sabre-tooth tiger or winning a gold medal in the 100m hurdles. Unfortunately, for those feeling nervous about their date, a physiological response telling them to either fight or flee isn’t altogether useful.
The best course of action is to try and dissipate some of the extra energy through a little gentle exercise. Go for a walk or a swim. At the very least, do a little housework – it’ll be one of the few times it seems enjoyable.
As the date becomes imminent, calm yourself by breathing deeply. Take air in through the nose, hold it for four seconds – then breathe out through the mouth. Deep breathing lowers heart rate, blood pressure and perspiration.
Also try clenching both of your hands into fists, then moving your arms away from your body, extending the fingers out as you do so. Repeat this a few times, and practice deep breathing at the same time.
Talk to your friends
Having a chat with people who make you feel good is a great way to boost your confidence. Even listening to someone else’s problems can be a useful distraction. If you’re worried about date-related specifics, talking them through with friends usually makes them seem far less significant.
How do you cope with pre-date jitters? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @eHarmonyUK
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