Never get nervous again. Resident dating expert from match.com Kate Taylor counts you down into your date with her five-step anti-anxiety plan.
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare
Often people choose to tackle scary situations by ignoring them, hoping they’ll go away, and then find themselves in a last-minute panic on the day of date itself, scrabbling for decent clothes in the laundry basket. Don’t be one of these people! Preparation is calming – so choose your outfit, have your hair cut, and plan your route to the date venue in advance.
Plan something sociable for before and after the date
A big cause of dating nerves is putting too much pressure on the date itself. Don’t allow yourself to feel that the date is the be-all and end-all of your whole week – keep it in proportion as just one of many things you have to look forward to. Call a friend on your way to the date, and – if it’s a short date, like drinks or coffee – plan something fun to go on to afterwards.
You don’t need me to remind you that exercise is the BEST stress-reliever in the world, so head to the gym, for a run, or just a brisk 30-minute walk on the day of your date. For total tranquillity, download an anti-anxiety playlist and listen to it while you exercise.
On the date, adopt confident body-language. This will hide any nerves you’re still feeling, and give you something to concentrate on if you get overcome by an attack of shyness. As you’ve probably experienced, nervousness makes you want to shrink away until you disappear – your arms wrap around your body, your shoulders rise to protect your head, and your back stoops.
Now picture yourself standing in a room where you feel confident and loved – every part of you will straighten up and expand outwards. THAT’S the posture for your date! Back straight, head up, chin raised. Whenever you feel nervous, consciously make an effort to “expand” your body and your fear should melt away.
Don’t drink too much!
While you may feel alcohol gives you courage, drinking too much could impair your judgement and actually *increase* nervousness by depleting your body’s stores of Vitamin B and making you feel anxious. Don’t substitute alcohol for Red Bull though, as caffeine can also increase jitters.
Instead, choose fresh juice or sparkling water. Food-wise, opt for salads (lettuce is said to have calming properties), shellfish (loaded with B Vitamins) and steak (ditto). If you often get nervous, eat a low-GI snack like grapes, peaches, apples or cherries before a date. These fruits release their carbohydrates slowly into your bloodstream, helping to stabilise your blood-sugar and keep you calm.
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