Do dating and confidence even belong in the same sentence? Making yourself vulnerable to rejection by a complete stranger has got to be one of the craziest things we do as humans. Yet we do it because it has the possibility of leading us into a loving relationship (and most of us want that more than anything).
When it comes to boosting your dating confidence, there are a few tricks you can use with your mind and body to help you keep your mind calm and your heart strong.
Know Fear = No Fear
The more you know about fear, the less power it will have over you. So, here’s a fear 101 lesson: When we are subjected to an experience that causes positive or negative stress, our brains automatically release a dose of stress hormones into the body. This fear response is beyond our conscious control. It was designed to keep us safe and survive dangerous situations, but it can be a bit of a hindrance on a date. Once the adrenaline is flowing, you have no choice but to wait until your body decides it’s safe to calm down, which might be two hours after your date! So, if you find your heart racing, your palms sweating, and your voice shaking, know that your nervous system may take some time to decide to calm down.
How do you deal with the fear? The most effective strategy is to get your nervous system on board. Getting into a relaxed state on a daily basis is the best way to help your fear response become less active over time. Meditation, yoga, exercise, and healthy eating can help. To create a state of calm immediately before your date, try some techniques such as taking slow deep belly breaths, practicing calming yoga poses, or meditating. Definitely give yourself adequate time to be ready, so you have no reason to get your brain stressed (like rushing in traffic, looking for parking, or agonizing over the perfect date clothes). If you find yourself in high stress mode in the middle of a date, excuse yourself and take some deep breaths in the bathroom. Better yet, learn how to be mindful of your breathing during a date (this is easy and completely undetectable when you become good at it).
Looking Good = Feeling Good
Feel confident on the inside, and the outside. First of all, invest in a couple of killer date outfits that make you feel and look amazing. Choose something that makes you feel comfortable and confident. Wearing something that will make you feel self-conscious or physically uncomfortable will just give your mind one more distraction. The bonus is that you won’t spend hours agonizing over what to wear and put your mind into the fear state.
Be mindful of why you wear what you wear. Are you hiding your body because you’re embarrassed about how you look? Or are you allowing yourself to feel vulnerable and authentic? Most of us tend to feel self-conscious about our bodies on some level. Sometimes we really do need to get healthy and lose some pounds. However, if you’re constantly feeling down about your body, you probably need some work on learning how to love and accept yourself more than anything. Self-acceptance is a magnet for love.
Own your fear.
If you feel nervous, call it out. Use humor, honesty, or just pure authenticity. Who knows…your date might find your moment of honest self disclosure to be the tipping point toward attraction! And, you’ll likely relieve the pressure for you and your date. Remember, your date is just as nervous as you, even if he or she appears to be confident on the outside. This is a guarantee. Some people just hide fear better. Vulnerability loses its power when you acknowledge it. If you feel your heart pumping and your knees shaking, call it out.
Own your body.
Make it a habit to regularly check in with your body (when you’re not on a date). Your physical state can send powerful messages to your brain, which then dictates your emotional and mental state. Experiment with different postures and movements andnotice how they affect you emotionally. What makes you feel confident, powerful, or secure? Sexy, open, and loving? What makes you feel afraid, closed, and distrustful? Sometimes even a simple shift from being hunched over to extending your chin and putting your shoulders back can give you a boost of confidence and keep the heart space open.
Shift your mindset.
Most people go on a date with one question in the back of their mind…will I be liked, accepted, or approved? In the quest for love, it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the power is in someone else’s hands to love and approve of you. While it does take two people to agree that they want a relationship, don’t forget that you have half of the power to decide.
As an American, you likely spend countless hours analyzing everything before you buy it. You look for the best deal on the Internet. You shop around for a new car, or the perfect shoes, or the most delicious Thai food. So why is it that when it comes to dating, you lose your choosiness? If you find yourself in a pattern of feeling very vulnerable in the dating process, feeling anxious, and seeking approval, its time to change your mindset.Become a dating consumer. This shift in thinking can help you feel empowered and confident. Remember that there are billions of people on this planet, and therefore, your choices in love are infinite.
Shifting your mindset, looks, and mastering the state of your body can be powerful influences on your nervous system and your self-esteem. With practice, you can learn to date with confidence, openness, and empowerment, and keep your heart open to the possibilities of love.
Article originally published on MeetMindful.com by Chelli Pumphrey.