How I Learned To Be A Zen Dater And Stop Stressing About Finding Love

I used to stress about dating to the point that it was extremely unhealthy. I could never relax and enjoy the moment because I was always freaking out about what might or might not happen, but not anymore! These days, I’m totally zen about dating and I got there by doing these things.

  1. I took it date by date. Instead of thinking about what would happen in the future with the person I’d started dating, I started to take things one date at a time. We might have had a great first date, but that didn’t mean we had a future.
  2. I kept things in perspective. It was just one date, for goodness’ sake! In the past, I’d always see every date as a stone on the path to something greater, like an exclusive and committed relationship with someone. However, I tried to get into the habit of seeing it as something that didn’t have to go somewhere. It prevented me from becoming disappointed if things didn’t progress.
  3. I challenged those “what if?” thoughts. You know the ones I’m talking about: thoughts like, “What if he doesn’t think I’m pretty/smart enough?” or “What if the date’s a total disaster or I embarrass myself?” I’d tell myself, “So what?” Or, I’d laugh at all the nuts scenarios my fear would create. It helped me to see that if the worst-case scenario happened, it wasn’t a big deal.
  4. I looked after myself. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of dating someone new and fabulous, but I tried to put the focus back onto myself. I’d look after myself before stressful dates to calm myself down by spoiling myself with skincare products or a luxurious bubble bath or I’d hang out with friends who always made me laugh.
  5. I put a spotlight on the rest of my life. Speaking of feel-good friends, I would try to pay attention to the rest of my life even if I had just met Mr. Amazing. See, what used to make me such a stressed-out dater was that I’d allow relationships to steamroll through the rest of my life. By doing other things I loved, whether that was taking walks in nature, hitting the spa, or being creative, I reminded myself that everything would be great even if Mr. Amazing turned into Mr. A-hole overnight.
  6. I made it a mantra. Mantras can be really helpful at times, especially when stress threatens to take over. One of my zen dating mantras was, “I’m happy alone.” At first it felt silly, but after doing it regularly I started to believe it. It got me through the stressful parts of dating and helped me chill because I knew no matter what happened, even if I became a spinster with 13 cats, I’d be okay. I’d be better than okay.
  7. I became a mindful dater. Dating isn’t just about you and the person trying to connect. It’s about the experience of the time you’re together. By being more aware of my surroundings and seeing the beauty in everything, I was able to enjoy even the most frustrating dates. Once, I was stuck on a date with a guy who only said negative things but I had a good time because I was enjoying my meal and the amazing views of the sunset from the restaurant balcony. This made me enjoy experiences for what they were and see the beauty in everything.
  8. I turned those bad dates into learning experiences. Another thing that helped me get through those bad dates was trying to believe that I would learn something new from everyone I met. And I did. From the negative guy I mentioned earlier, I learned what not to do on a first date, for example.
  9. I laughed a lot. Laughing is healthy and helps me to relax. When there wasn’t much of a learning experience on a bad date, I’d try to find the humor in what happened, which weirdly made those dates a little bit of fun. They also made great stories to tell my friends.
  10. I limited my dating life. I didn’t want to be dating lots of different people in a mad rush to find The One. Ugh. That was just going to set loads of expectations and put pressure on myself. To deal with this pressure, I became more in tune with my anxieties. If I felt a lot of pressure date and find someone, I’d do the opposite and take a dating holiday to recharge and recenter myself. It was a great way to stay zen.


Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.