Dating anxiety is a real thing. See my last post for the signs and symptoms to find out if this is you. But if this you and dating anxiety is causing you to be less than thrilled about dating you are going to need some superpowers to manage it.
You need tips to manage your dating anxiety. In this post, I will give you seven of them.
Dating anxiety doesn’t mean that you experience anxiety on your dates per se. On a date, you manage to keep your cool, but it’s the hours after when you are waiting to hear back from a guy you which feel like an eternity. You try to convince yourself, ‘I don’t care’ but you check your phone 269 times 88 of them while in the shower.
Anxiety affects you in two ways:
- Your nervous system is wired to respond to threats, as a result, your body is on high alert
- Your thoughts are negative, you are ambivalent about dating. On the one hand, you want a relationship you want to feel that special kind of love, on the other hand, you don’t want to feel that kind of hurt again if it doesn’t work out.
calm is your superpower
The only way to overcome your anxiety is to be aggressive with it. It won’t go away on its own. You have to find a way to calm both your nervous system and your thoughts. Here’s how:
1. learn to breathe
When you are anxious most unconsciously you hold their breath. When you do breath it’s short shallow breathes. As a result, you feel dizzy, in extreme cases, you can have panic attacks. The goal is to learn to breathe with your diaphragm. Located beneath your rib cage. Breathe in through your nose to warm the breath push the air into your low belly and hold for a slow count of three. Exhale slowly and completely, no need to count, you will know when you are empty. Repeat this for three times, followed by three normal breathes that is slower than your usual but not exaggerated. Repeat this series three breathes on, three off for 10 minutes. Breathing with your diaphragm is 30% more efficient, meaning that you get 30% more oxygen into your vassal passageways. When your body is relaxed it feels heavy and warm.
2. exercise your brain and your body
Meditation is like exercise for your brain. The two most common forms or mediation are Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction MBSR and Transcendental Meditation or TM. MBSR has an additional component to focus on being mindful in everyday experiences. The goal to be present at the moment and to connect to the breath. TM focuses on transcending or going deeper into a state of relaxation.
Both techniques are highly beneficial, especially for the anxious person. Use meditation before going on dates, when anxious about waiting for a response from someone. Try to stay present at the moment and not rush ahead of yourself, which so many anxious people do.
Another way to calm your anxiety is through exercise. Exercise forces you to breathe and also increase your core body temperature. When your body is relaxed you feel less stressed.
3. CHALLENGE ANXIOUS THOUGHTS
Anxious thoughts are often not true but at the time it’s hard to distinguish. Your anxious mind goes down the rabbit hole. In dating, you think the worse. When you don’t hear back from someone it’s a personal sign something is wrong with you.
An entire branch of psychology is devoted to helping you challenge your anxious thoughts. It’s called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT
In order to use a simple CBT technique also called Socratic questioning to try asking yourself the following questions:
- What is the evidence that my thought is true?
- What is an alternate explanation for the situation? How else can I think about the situation?”
- What is the worst case scenario if the thought were true?
- Even if it were true, can I live through it?’
- What would I tell a friend if he or she were in the same situation?
The goal of CBT is to replace your negative thought with a neutral thought that you believe. In dating, instead of thinking that you are rejected, which leads to anxious thoughts. why not think about it as not being a strong match. You only want a connection that is mutual and powerfully felt by both people.
You’ve heard the term the watched pot never boils, it’s the same for anxiety. How will you focus on other things so as not to be more anxious?
Instead of watching your phone, go for a long hike, bike ride, and leave your phone behind. Don’t wait and keep your weekend open in case he contacts you. Be proactive and make plans to get together with girlfriends. If he really wants to see you, you will fit him in. Start planning your weekend on Mondays so you don’t go into your week anxious about what you will do if you are alone.
5. focus on others
When you are anxious, it’s easy to be self-absorbed. You can’t help it, it takes a lot of energy just to survive. This is not the same as being conceited or narcissistic. The problem is that it keeps the attention on you, you keep looking inward not outward.
It takes an effort to look outwards, but try to switch your focus to those outside of you. You can better manage your dating anxiety by having a pet or doing volunteer work. Offer to watch your friends kids so they can get a break, but do something altruistic. See how focusing on something other helps your anxiety. When you have more meaning and purpose you exude optimism and confidence. You vibrate on a higher level.
6. let go of CONTROL
Admit it, you want to control things, most anxious people do. Sometimes you feel so out of control as if you have no power, the only thing you can do is control small details. As a result, you obsess over silly details, like what you will wear on a date, where to meet for drinks. Learn to let go of control. Try to let things evolve more organically. Don’t force things or try to manipulate the situation. Control is over-rated enjoy the journey. Focus on what does matter like your mood, energy, and personality.
7. learn to trust and lighten up
Anxiety is heavy. You take your love life and your future very seriously. Underneath you have an inherent distrust of people. Unconsciously you protect yourself, when things don’t work out you’re not surprised it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
You have to lighten up and find ways to think of dating as ‘fun.’ When you do others will want to be around you, your mood is infections. Heck, it’s fun to get butterflies for the first time. See if you can’t embrace the unknown. Instead of being scared of it, think of it as a suspense novel. You don’t know how it will end.
Try one or a combination of these tips to better manage your dating anxiety. You will have to use these tips more than once before you notice an improvement in your anxiety. Once you are better managing your anxiety dating won’t be so painful.
Once you are calm you will have better success in dating too. Who doesn’t enjoy being around someone who is relaxed, happy and content? You exude a higher level of attractiveness and confidence with your calm superpowers.
Let me know in the comments which technique works best for you. My clients find that a combination of some type of relaxation technique plus CBT is the most helpful. What is most helpful for your dating anxiety?