11 Meditations To Listen To Before A First Date

Andrew Zaeh/Bustle

There are a lot of “what ifs” when it comes to a first date. It would be nice for every date to go as smoothly as planned, but it’s impossible to predict if you and your first date will be a match made in heaven, or if you should have swiped left in the first place. Listening to a meditation before a first date can help you beat your nerves, so you can actually get to know a person who has romantic potential — or, so you can tough out appetizers with a regrettable date until you can grab the check.

If you get nervous when prepping for a first date, you're not alone. In fact, many people across the U.S. share similar first date worries. According to a 2015 survey conducted by dating site WhatsYourPrice.com, nearly 82,000 users polled that bad breath, getting something stuck in their teeth, a wardrobe mishap, spilling something, or drinking too much were among their top dating concerns. Furthermore, as Scientific American reported, social anxiety disorder is the third most common mental health condition in the U.S., and it may play a role in increased dating anxiety for some people — whether it's surrounding fear of rejection, or being unwilling to open up to a potential partner.

Whatever the reason, many people understandably have major first date jitters. However, research has shown that meditation can alleviate stress and reduce anxiety. Taking five to 30 minutes to get in a relaxed and centered headspace can prepare you for any date — whether it ends up being terrible or great.

Here are 11 free meditations you can listen to before any romantic occasion to help you keep your calm.

1. A Meditation For Confidence

The Honest Guys - Meditations - Relaxation on YouTube

Confidence is a key element to any successful first date. In fact, as Psychology Today reported, studies show having self-confidence can temper fear, and it allows you to have more genuine relationships with others because you're not overthinking interactions, or comparing yourself to others. "Always remember that you’re a catch, and approach the date with that mindset," Michela Hattabaugh, Chicago-based matchmaker with Three Day Rule, told Bustle in 2018.

Boost your confidence with this meditation all about feeling worthy and loving yourself. Not only are The Honest Guys one of the most popular meditation channels on YouTube, but this self-love exercise is only five minutes long — which is perfect for when you're running out the door for a date.

2. Meditation That Addresses Fear

The Rubin Museum of Art, located in New York City, is known for its collection of art from Himalayan regions. However, the well-known museum also launched a Mindfulness Meditation series, which features esteemed meditation teachers every week, that is available for free on SoundCloud. Each meditation has a theme inspired by a piece of artwork at the museum, and they can help you overcome first date fears and find your calm. A little bit of hesitancy or worry when meeting a new person of potential romantic interest is expected, but this 30-minute session led by teacher Kimberly Brown will put you at ease.

3. 10 Minute Meditation For Restlessness

Feeling restless, and headed somewhere like a sit-down restaurant for your first date? Consider trying this short meditation by Mindful15 designed for fidgety people to kick some of your shakiness. In fact, it can be useful to "tune in" to your urge to fidget rather than ignore it. During the meditation, they explain, "Take a deep breath in, and allow the body to relax as you exhale. This can take some of the energy away from the urge to move, making it easier to let go." This is an exercise you can use even at a restaurant, in an Uber, or really at any point on your date.

4. Breathing Techniques For Stress

Breathing exercises are not a cure for nervousness or anxiety disorders, but studies have shown that diaphragmatic breathing can help in the short term. According to the Cleveland Clinic, diaphragmatic breathing is a technique that focuses on inhaling deeply through the nose, filling your stomach with air. Then, you exhale slowly through your mouth with pursed lips in order to strengthen your diaphragm, and slow your heart rate down. Clocking in at just under 10 minutes, this simple routine from Sip and Om's daily meditation podcast that focuses on the breath can help to reduce your stress before your rendezvous.

5. A Meditation For Compassion

Stop, Breathe & Think on YouTube

Stop, Breathe, and Think is a popular meditation app with close to 13,000 reviews, and a nearly perfect five-star rating. However, they have a number of meditations you can listen to for free on YouTube so you can get a sneak peak of what the app has to offer before buying a subscription. This meditation, which clocks in around six minutes, is all about feeling "more connected" through compassion. As a 2017 study revealed, compassion was found to be the "most important quality" in a marriage. Meaning, it's probably a factor that helps determine if a first date is relationship material in the long run.

6. A Body Scan

Body scan meditations can help you tune into where you may be carrying tension in your body — whether you've been clenching your fists or grinding your teeth. As the Mayo Clinic describes, during a body scan exercise, you "focus your attention slowly and deliberately on each part of your body, in order, from toe to head or head to toe. Be aware of any sensations, emotions or thoughts associated with each part of your body [without placing judgement]." Before you head out for a first date, you can use this 16-minute technique to de-stress all over.

7. A Short Routine For Gratitude

It's hard to feel excited about a first date if you're feeling pessimistic about everything, or critical of yourself (or of your date). As Psychology Today reported, studies have shown gratitude increases happiness and empathy, and can actually help foster new relationships in your life. Jess Shepherd, an experienced meditation coach, will walk you through this short meditation that's chockfull of positive affirmations. Cultivating gratitude with this meditation may put you in a good mindset ahead of meeting someone new.

8. Letting Go

Calm on YouTube

This meditation sesh from the popular app Calm focuses on learning how to not take things personally when it comes to your relationships with others (and handling conflict in a healthy way when needed). In it, Tamara Levitt — a meditation instructor and the head of content for Calm — focuses acknowledging your thoughts and emotions without feeling attached to them, so you don't feel defensive if a difficult situation arises with someone else. It's perfect for a first date when you're unsure of how things will shake out.

9. A Simple Meditation For Mindful Breathing

Consider prepping for your date with some basic mindful meditation. Mindfulness meditation is all about cultivating awareness of the present moment. According to Verywell, this technique "can involve breathing practice, mental imagery, awareness of body and mind, and muscle and body relaxation." The American Psychological Association reported that research has discovered numerous benefits to practicing mindfulness — including lowering stress, and improving relationships and focus. Mindful meditation may help you stay present in the moment during your date, and also more grounded if you're feeling nervous beforehand.

10. A General Practice To Quiet Your Mind

Yoga Journal on YouTube

It's difficult at times not to overthink every little thing when you're seeing someone new — from what you should wear on your date, if something you texted came off the wrong way, and the list of worries goes on. International yoga and meditation teacher Jessamyn Stanley will show you how to kick the clutter in your brain in about 10 minutes' time. It's a great go-to exercise for most anyone.

11. Guided Imagery To Relax Your Mind

Jason Stephenson - Sleep Meditation Music on YouTube

As the National Sleep Foundation reported, guided imagery meditations are used to help people fall asleep in a "positive and peaceful" state. What's more, there is research that has shown that guided imagery can manage stress, according to Science Daily. This technique that engages the five senses may be especially useful for when you just need to fully get out of your head for a moment — which is sometimes the case before you start to get dressed up for date night. Spend 30 minutes immersed in this crystal forest meditation to channel your inner sense of tranquility.

Being nervous or going through a whirlwind of emotions as you get ready for a first date is a normal thing to experience. When meeting someone new, you'll never be sure if the sparks will fly, or if it will be a swing and a miss. Either way, with these meditations, you can stay calm, cool, and collected.