With more and more dating sites and unlimited opportunities to meet someone on-the-go, the whole situation can feel a little overwhelming, even exhausting. Why did you just swipe right on that guy with the awkward shirtless mirror selfie? Or swipe right on the girl who has the bio filled with weird quotes about cats? You find yourself swiping right on every profile that pops up to increase the odds of meeting your soulmate, but at the end of it all you’re left with a ton of new matches and messages that read “hey” or “what’s up?” After sifting through all the messages you’re probably asking yourself why you feel so burnt out. You haven’t even said yes and gone to any dates yet!
But what is it that makes a Tinder profile swipe-able? Or a conversation tolerable? Tinder/Hinge/Bumble, etc can be a minefield of strange personalities, unwanted explicit pics, and terribly bad pick-up lines. Some of us fall into these traps and are going on bad date after bad date. How can you feel less exhausted on these dating apps? One answer is mindfulness. It’s really as simple as being present, non-judgmental, and just being fully engaged in the dating experience. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind to help reduce stress. For many of us millennials, living in the moment and being completely present can be challenging.
We also have to take into account our own behaviors on the apps. Think about the way you treat other apps on your phone. Instagram? Facebook? Scrolling through clicking “like” on anything that catches your eye might not be the ideal approach we should take when it comes to dating. Fears and insecurities about the past and future heavily influence our emotional state. It seems we tend to mindlessly swipe when we are lonely, insecure, unhappy, post-break up, or just bored. These emotions can also correlate to where and when we are swiping: alone in bed late at night, at work in-between the piles of projects we have to get done, directly after a break up, when we are in social setting, or again, simply when we are doing nothing. These emotionally driven experiences we have all had are causing us to seek some level of validation via swipe, only resulting in less positive encounters.
There are so many mindfulness techniques that can help in every aspect of dating. Try to take the time to experience your environment with all your senses — touch, sound, sight, smell and taste. When you’re about to swipe, take note of what you’re thinking, also notice what you’re feeling. This may save you from some accidental swipes.
There are also great meditation and breathing techniques you can utilize prior to swiping. Try designating specific times to swipe- that could mean 10-20 minutes a day after dinner or before bed, or maybe at a coffee shop. Aim to practice mindfulness every day and over time, you might find that mindfulness becomes effortless. Think of it as a commitment to reconnecting with and nurturing yourself. Studies show the positive effects it has on stress, anxiety, and depression. Working with a trained therapist can shed some light on how to utilize these techniques and allow you to process the inevitable challenges that come with dating.
Jessi Kupfer, MHC-LP