Dating can be pretty emotionally draining. Let’s face it – regardless of your age or gender – there’s a good chance you’ve experienced a roller coaster of emotions, from the high of a hopeful new prospect to the low of rejection. Or the excitement of receiving a new message… then the disappointment of realizing the person looks nothing like their picture! With so much emotional whiplash, it’s tough to remain grounded, calm, and hopeful.
To help focus on the positive and prevent freak-outs, I offer one suggestion (that I, myself, could really take to heart!): Practice gratitude. To me, gratitude is more than just feeling grateful, although this is a big part of it. But, it also evokes qualities of humility, kindness, and empathy, which are generally attractive to everyone. And it combats entitlement and unhappiness, which are definite turn-offs! Several studies have shown that practicing gratitude can improve emotional health, your mood, AND your relationships. So it really can’t hurt to try, can it?
Here are 3 simple ways to show gratitude:
- As Jews, prayer is a major way we can show appreciation. Speak to G-d in whatever language you prefer, from anywhere in the world. Or go to a synagogue – I’m sure someone saying kaddish would love to have you help make a minyan. It really doesn’t matter if you know how to daven or not – the point is to pause and appreciate the food on your plate, or the clothes on your back, or the fact that you woke up this morning!
- Gain perspective. You might be going through a rough patch, but notice what happens if you start to see the glass as half empty, not half full. Are you feeling jealous or jaded? Try focusing on really appreciating your friends. Lacking good friends? Be grateful you have a job. Don’t have a job? Appreciate your good health. In poor health? Be grateful for being alive! No matter what’s going on, things could be worse.
- Appreciate others. Tell someone why you are grateful for his or her friendship. Give your date a specific compliment that’s not about her looks. Let your new boyfriend know specific reasons why you’re grateful for his company. This might win you some new friends, but it will make you feel good about yourself, too.
If I were to read this post after just getting dumped, I’d probably roll my eyes and dump a bowl of ice cream on my head because it’s really hard to feel grateful when you’re in a bad mood. But, that’s exactly the time when you need the benefits of gratitude the most. If you practice gratitude all the time, it will become second nature and you’ll be able to more easily apply these strategies when you’re feeling down and out. And no matter what you’re feeling, consistently expressing gratitude will help you to stay positive in the dating process, gain some perspective, and exude a positive, open vibe.