To get someone to say “yes” to a real-life date these days can be incredibly difficult (but not so hard if you get someone to help you, wink wink).
Still, it’s no wonder that first dates can produce a TON of anxiety. If you’re in that boat, believe me, you’re not alone.
One thing you can do to calm first date nerves is to try a state change routine before you go. This is a series of activities that will get your mind relaxed and focused, so you come across as confident, attractive, and charismatic.
A state change routine can be really effective at reducing anxiety, but you can also use it to soothe the pain of a harsh rejection, or to just to learn how to enjoy the dating process. Here are some ideas for a state change routine that will have you feeling like your best self in no time.
Burn Off That Energy in the Gym
You know that feeling of accomplishment you get right after a good workout? Turns out there’s some science to it.
According to Psychology Today, exercise increases feel-good endorphins like serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. These are the chemicals in your brain that regulate your mood and combat depression. Lifting weights in particular boosts testosterone, which can increase confidence as well.
To maintain a good self image, try and get in 5-6 days of exercise, including a mix of cardio and weightlifting each week. Regular exercise is a great way to manage your mental state and channel that excess energy you feel when you’re nervously anticipating an upcoming date.
Have a Cup of Joe
Once you’ve burned off some of the excess steam with a good workout, you might want consider a cup of coffee. Don’t try this if you’re super sensitive to caffeine though, as it could lead to increased anxiety. Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase feelings of nervousness in some people.
But if you’re not sensitive to it, then a cup of coffee can actually increase your ability to focus and be present on your dates. Just like we drink coffee to concentrate or stay awake for a tough project, it can also help you seem more alert, upbeat, and energetic.
Drink One (I Said One!) Alcoholic Beverage
Okay, you don’t want to show up hammered. But many of us know from experience that alcohol can loosen inhibitions — so if you’re inclined to do so, one drink can help you to relax and calm your first date nerves.
Just be careful not to overdo it. And if you’re extremely wound up, try something chill, like a glass of wine, rather than a shot of tequila, which might pep you up and make you feisty and combative.
Find Your Inner Zen — Meditate
Meditation can help to quiet your overactive mind and get you to tune into yourself and your environment. This can help get you out of your head and into your body, which increases presence and charisma on a date.
Try this meditation: Close your eyes and pay attention to the sounds you hear around you — from the humming of the refrigerator, to the swishing of cars passing by, to the chirping of birds, to the raindrops on the window pane.
Noticing sounds in your environment can help you get out of your head and improve your concentration and focus. Then, while you’re actually on the first date, you’ll be able to chill out and listen to what she’s saying, rather than be thinking about the next clever line you want to try. You can even try it if you arrive to your date early.
For people who can’t seem to quiet their mind with meditation, I love hypnosis or using guided meditations so I can listen and follow along with the speaker’s voice, rather than trying to empty my mind of thoughts.
Get Some Rest
Just as exercise is important for your mental state in dating, so too is rest and getting enough sleep. At the risk of sounding like your mother … you need to get enough sleep before your dates!
I know, I know. You’ve been practically working around the clock. Heck, it’s a miracle you even found one hour to grab a drink with someone before you have to get back to answering those after-hours emails.
Still, not getting enough sleep before a date can negatively affect your mental state. Being tired will increase your feelings of agitation. That will definitely interfere with how well you come across in conversation, making your worst fears come true. This — and those unmistakably huge YAWNS you’ll be letting out — will have your date calling an Uber before the server can even bring the check.
Instead, recognize when you’re worn out and know your limits.
Don’t Be Hangry
Similarly, what you eat plays a major role in your mental state. Hunger, like lack of sleep, will put you on edge (even more than you already are). Needless to say, being “hangry” ain’t cute and is a big dating no-no! You want her to see the irresistible guy who convinced her to go out with him — not some wild-eyed ravenous dude who can’t stop ogling the meals at the next table.
So, make sure to eat well before your date. While sugar is tempting and may give you a boost in the short-term, remember that it might make you crash. Instead, think quantity, nutrition, and quality (organic). Eat something light but substantial, so you don’t feel weighed down or hungry.
In fact, fermented foods that are more likely to contain probiotics are linked to reducing social anxiety, according to a study from Psychiatry Research (reported by WebMD). So if you’re still poking around in the fridge wondering what to eat, you may want to consider snacks like yogurt, dark chocolate, or pickles.
Lift Your Mood with Music
Music is an instant mood booster. During my 100-date experiment, I used music intentionally to set my own mood prior to going on a date. I specifically choose artists and playlists that made me feel feminine and sexy while I got ready. Keep in mind, this wasn’t even the same type of music I was listening to at the gym or in my day-to-day. It was music that made me feel the way I wanted to feel on my dates.
So what music makes you feel powerful, strong, sexy, and confident? You might want to create playlists according to the different emotions they bring out in you. Just be sure to pay attention to how the songs actually make you feel. In other words, don’t pick a generic playlist that’s already pre-made by Spotify. Instead, put songs on your playlists that you actually know and love, so when you listen to them, you have a more genuine emotional response.
Then, fire them up right before the big date and see what happens! Put it in the background as you work out earlier in the day, or as you’re getting ready that night. You might be pleasantly surprised at the effect it can have.
Wear What Makes You Feel Good
Clothing is a powerful transformer of mental states. I like to think of it almost like a costume. If you’ve ever acted in a play and worn a costume, you might recall feeling as though putting on the outfit put you in the mind of the character you were playing — especially if it was a play from a different era, where your clothing was markedly different from what you normally wear. You can use this same strategy to put yourself into the mental state of the ideal “character” you want to play on your dates — almost like an alter ego.
Think about it this way: We all do this naturally when we put on our work clothes or cocktail attire, when we go to church/temple, a party, and even when we throw on our sweats at the end of a long day. Every different outfit elicits a different mental state, so use this to your advantage in dating!
Strike a Pose
Not only can your clothing create a confident “alter ego,” but so can the way you hold your body.
Harvard professor Amy Cuddy’s famous TED talk in 2012 introduced the idea of “power poses,” which can change your state of mind within minutes … making it very helpful when you’re trying to combat first date nerves!
In her talk, she says if you want to feel more confident, try this hack: Simply stand in front of the mirror with your chest out, expanding your body to take up as much space as possible. (Think of it as like a superhero pose). Hold this pose for two minutes.
After two minutes, she says your levels of testosterone increase, while your levels of cortisol decrease. The result? You feel calmer and more confident.
Why does this work? Cuddy says it’s because our nonverbal communication not only influences how other see us, but how we see ourselves. Also, the mind-body connection is very strong. So when you generate more testosterone (what she calls the “dominance” hormone) and less cortisol (i.e., the “stress” hormone), you are literally creating feelings of confidence while making yourself less reactive to stress.
MegaDate Like It’s Your Job
Finally, one of the biggest and most effective ways to change your mental state (and calm those first date nerves) is to MegaDate.
MegaDating is the process of dating as many people as you can at one time, which has a huge effect on your state of mind and how you come across to women. Dating multiple people at once will change your entire mindset, because you won’t see any particular date as the “be-all, end-all.”
It takes a little time, but once you are fully into the swing of things, you’ll be seeing more women than you can count, making it almost impossible to get nervous. You’ll also be less sensitive to rejection and more confident on your dates.
The best part is, after you’ve been MegaDating for a while, you’ll be 100 percent ready to meet “The One” and make an awesome impression. So get out there and do it!
We all experience anxiety sometimes, so if you’re having first date nerves, it’s really no big deal. If you make some tweaks to your activities and environment before your date, you can definitely turn things around and guarantee it’ll be a night to remember (in a good way, I promise).
However, if first date nerves are really taking a toll on your dating life, book a 1-on-1 New Client Skype session with me and we can figure out what could be behind it. Together, we can take a look at how you approach women, what thoughts might be changing your mental state, and design a strategy to reinvent your dating life so that you get the results you want. We’ll also determine if my 3-month Signature coaching program could help you reach your goals even faster.