Realistically, not every date is going to lead to a soul mate, so having a good attitude about the dating process can take a lot of the stress out of it -- at least until you do find that perfect person or just someone you'd like to get to know better. What does a good attitude look like? It's more than just positive thinking. It's about keeping your perspective so that even if the date goes sour, you can still go home with your self-confidence intact.
For instance, start with managing your expectations. If you've spent all week fantasizing that you and your date are going to fall madly in love, you will likely be disappointed with the reality, even if the reality is that you have a really good time. The Buddhist philosophy of nonattachment is a good one to practice in dating. Pema Chödrön, a renowned teacher of Tibetan Buddhism, explains that being attached to things, even the outcome of a date, keeps you oriented to the future rather than the present and prevents you from connecting with the people around you. Leaving your expectations at home also includes not bringing along memories of all the bad dates you've ever been on and grudges from past relationships [source: eHarmony].
That said, it doesn't hurt to be optimistic. Optimists live longer, and you'll definitely want to live as long as possible once you've found "the one" [source: Weil]. This doesn't just mean always thinking happy thoughts. Optimism leaves room for something good to come out of a bad date -- after all, even the worst date will at least make a good story to tell your friends.
If you aren't naturally optimistic, don't worry; optimism and positive thinking can be learned. Visualization and affirmation are ways to teach yourself positive thinking. Close your eyes and visualize being confident, sexy and charming on the date. Make up a couple of key phrases, or affirmations, to say to yourself before and during the date -- try "I radiate confidence and ease."
Visualizations and affirmations will help you focus on your many good qualities. They'll also help you accept your imperfections and know that you may stumble over your words now and then, or spill a little wine, but these moments are your opportunities to be vulnerable and show how human you are. This is also when those laughter-induced endorphins can really make a difference.
For more dating tips and tricks, check out the links below.
More Great Links
- Amundsen, Mark. "What to Wear on First Dates." Happen Magazine. 2009. (Sept. 26, 2010) http://www.match.com/magazine/article0.aspx?articleid=11813
- Anxiety Disorders Association of America. "Exercise for Stress and Anxiety." (Oct. 3, 2010) http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/managing-anxiety/exercise-stress-and-anxiety
- FastStats, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Exercise or Physical Activity." April 21, 2009. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/exercise.htm
- Gobeske KT, Das S, Bonaguidi MA, Weiss C, Radulovic J, Disterhoft JF, Kessler JA. "BMP signaling mediates effects of exercise on hippocampal neurogenesis and cognition in mice." PLoS One. Oct. 20, 2009. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2759555/?tool=pubmed
- Hellmich, Nancy. "Good mood can run a long time after workout." USA Today. June 2, 2009. (Oct. 4, 2010) http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/weightloss/2009-06-02-exercise-mood_N.htm
- Krinsky, Natalie. "Be More Confident on Dates." Happen Magazine. 2009. (Sept. 26, 2010) http://www.match.com/magazine/article0.aspx?articleid=5961
- Mapes, Diane. "How to Date in a Post-Dating World." Sasquatch Books. 2006.
- Mayo Clinic. "Relaxation techniques: Essential for reducing stress." May 23, 2009. (Oct. 2, 2010) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/relaxation-technique/SR00007
- Mayo Clinic. "Stress relief from laughter? Yes, no joke." July 23, 2009. (Oct. 2, 2010) http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-relief/SR00034
- Neumann, Kimberly Dawn. "Calm Those Pre-Date Jitters." Happen Magazine. 2009. (Sept. 26, 2010) http://www.match.com/magazine/article0.aspx?articleid=4877
- Painter, Kim. "Exercise helps fight anxiety, depression." USA Today. April 26, 2010. (Oct. 4, 2010) http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/painter/2010-04-26-yourhealth26_ST_N.htm
- Raye, Rori. "Two Steps to Becoming Irresistibly Confident." eHarmony.com Advice. (Sept. 26, 2010) http://advice.eharmony.com/article/two-steps-to-being-irresistibly-confident.html
- Reynolds, Gretchen. "Phys Ed: Your Brain on Exercise." The New York Times. July 7, 2010. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/07/your-brain-on-exercise/
- Reynolds, Gretchen. "Phys Ed: Why Exercise Makes You Less Anxious." The New York Times. Nov. 18, 2009. (Oct. 3, 2010) http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/18/phys-ed-why-exercise-makes-you-less-anxious/
- Spencer, Amy. "Be a Dating Optimist." Happen Magazine. 2009. (Sept. 26, 2010) http://www.match.com/magazine/article0.aspx?articleid=6031
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Counseling Center. "Self-Confidence." http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/?page_id=191