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De-Stress Dating

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De-Stress Dating

Let’s face it, dating can be quite stressful. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are some simple, yet effective ways to reduce the negativity and stress that are often associated with dating.

 

1. Your time is precious.

Reduce the amount of time you spend with people who believe happy people are unrealistic. They feed their negativity on the suspicion that happiness is unnatural. Happiness is an attainable state of mind, made even more attainable if you believe in it. Collect people who agree with this concept and you are doubling your chances of achieving and maintaining a high level of happiness. Conversely, negativity and a depressed spirit can drive away potential love and sour the love you find. Increase your draw and keep what you catch through a joyful demeanor.

 

2. Divorce difficult friends.

Almost everybody is occasionally hard to handle – and so are you. Leave behind the people who are hard all the time. They will hinder you in reaching your goals and be a stressor in the future to your marriage. We all have our drawbacks, but you don’t have to add on smelly pets who sleep with you, ultra demanding parents or bosses, or crazy friends. Be honest: these “frenemies” already drive you nuts, so why share that experience with someone you love?

 

3. Laugh, a lot.

If you don’t have a ready supply of humor in your life, buy some. Go to a comedy show, read amusing books, listen to tapes that make you laugh or think (but not cry), amass up-lifting slogans, and posters. Then share whatever you think is funny with others. Laughter is infectious; it lifts the spirit and clears the mind. Be that table at the restaurant where everyone wishes they were sitting. Be that person that sees humor in everyday life and shares it. It is passive pro-activity: the more you seem to be enjoying yourself, the more you are likely to attract people who want to join you in the fun.

 

4. You simply must smile.

Smiling is not optional when it come to finding love. You need to look approachable and friendly, and if this is not your style, develop it anyway to use occasionally – it’s sexy.

Don’t know how to smile? Practice on furniture, and small, furry mammals. Then add people you know. Then proceed to people you don’t know before you work your way up to full-grown adults you find attractive.

 

5. Turn down the volume.

Electronic media promotes negativity and poor sleep habits, both of which contribute to crankiness and a less desirable you. Do stay current and informed, but select a news source that screens out gratuitous violence and keep the noise level at 30 or below to decrease noise pollution.

 

6. Limit your drug time.

Turn off plug-in drugs – like the television and your computer. FaceTime is no substitute for good ol’ “mano y mano,” eye to eye face time.

Books, music and physical activities are generally more uplifting and conducive to a good night’s sleep. Lower your intake level of alcohol and simple carbohydrates. They are depressants. Water, vegetables, protein, and fruit combined with exercise do produce a cheerier you.

 

7. Get perspective on depression.

Much of it is circumstantial. When the loved family pet dies, you’ve been cruelly rejected, or your best friend moves across country, sadness needs to be felt and experienced, not shoved into your emotional bottle. Unexpressed feeling lasts longer, can get worse, and may come out much later in ways you could regret. But if you are regularly depressed with no identifiable triggers, seek help. You need to be able to quickly handle rejection and start over and over and possibly over again for the time it takes to find the right person for you.

 

8. Be revealing.

To those you feel you want to know better and who are capable of understanding, reveal yourself through stories of your childhood, teenage experiences, and current feelings. Always answer honestly when caring people ask how you are, or if they can help.

I am not asking you to pour your true self out to everyone you meet. You do, however, have to be capable of self-revelation in order to be understood. And if you can’t be understood, you won’t be able to feel truly loved.

 

9. Use effective communication.

Which sentences are more effective:

  • “When you yell, I can’t listen because I get defensive,” or “I hate it when you treat me like this?”
  • “Would you help me” or “You never help me?”

The first choices open up connection. The second choices shut it down and doom you to getting less of what you are asking for in the future.

 

Stress kills and it also fattens. It can also obliterate the possibility of a great first impression and do irreparable damage to a relationship.

Fix your stress level before you find someone to love. Don’t you owe it to yourself to protect your future relationship as well as your own personal happiness level?

Janet Blair Page, PhD, author of Get Married This Year: 365 Days to “I Do”, is a psychotherapist with more than thirty years of experience in private practice in New York and Atlanta. She teaches at Emory University and has been in the New York Times, Glamour and on CNN, FOX, Good Morning America, and The Early Show. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.
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