Nearly 45 million adults in the U.S. are affected by an anxiety disorder. Of these 45 million, about 15 million are affected by social anxiety. With social anxiety can come "Romantic Relationship Social anxiety disorder", otherwise known as dating anxiety. Dating anxiety is a big obstacle when it comes to the dating world, and will often cause you to overthink every little detail, making you feel apprehensive to go on the date. This can leave you feeling unreasonably uneasy, which ultimately can lead to cancellation of your date. If you have dating anxiety, you may feel like you are losing the hope of ever going on a successful date, but there are a lot of ways you can minimize your anxiety so you will have a greater chance of having an awesome date!
The first strategy to minimizing your date anxiety would be to help plan the date. For a lot of people, it is not so much the date itself that causes so much anxiety, but rather the fear of not knowing what is going to happen during the date. If you help plan the date, it can help you to be more prepared and comfortable before and during the date. For example, if you don't help plan the date you might be fretting over what to wear before the date. However, if you are part of the planning process, you will know if you are going hiking, to a nice restaurant, etc., and you can dress accordingly. Another example is if you are having anxiety about going on this date alone, you can suggest to go on a double date. This way, you could be provided with a little extra comfort knowing that you are acquainted with someone else who will be there.
Another thing that can help you reduce your stress and anxiety is practicing relaxation techniques. One good relaxation technique that you are most likely aware of is deep breathing. A good deep breathing technique is the "4-7-8" technique, which was conceived by Dr. Andrew Weil. To execute this technique, you can sit or lie down and take a deep, slow breath from your belly, counting to 4 as you breathe in. Then, count to 7 as you hold your breath, and then to 8 as you slowly exhale. Repeat these steps a few more times, or until you feel you are calm. You can do this breathing technique any time you start to get too much anxiety about your date and it can help clear your mind so your thoughts don't start spiraling. Another good relaxation technique is journaling. This may seem silly, but writing down your thoughts and feelings is a very good way to sort through them. It can allow you to let go of negative thoughts and can help you release your pent-up feelings and every day stress. It can even help you figure out what worries might be unreasonable.
Preparing for your date is a great way to minimize your dating anxiety, because the more you feel prepared, the less nervous you will be. One way you can prepare for your date is thinking of some conversation topics. Sometimes during a date, the conversation will die down and you might not be able to think of a conversation topic off the top of your head. This may be contributing to your date worries, and that is why thinking of these and preparing some conversation topics beforehand is a great way to reduce your anxiety. One good conversation topic is hobbies. There are many things to talk about under this topic, like what your current hobbies are, what hobbies you have tried and decided weren't for you, or even hobbies that you want to try and just haven't gotten around to yet. This could also lead into some second-date opportunities if you are both interested in trying out the same hobby!
The dating world can be daunting and difficult to figure out for anyone, but it is especially difficult if you are struggling with dating anxiety. However, it is not impossible to have an amazing date, even when it might feel like it is. And who knows, that amazing date may even turn into many amazing dates!