Whether you find dating terrifying or whether you love it as much at cat owners do Instagram, you could be experiencing some serious health benefits by putting yourself through all those nerves, chatting and boozing.
A recent Oxford University study hilariously confirmed what we’ve all known for centuries, namely that going out for a drink with your mates (or ‘moderate alcohol consumption combined with social interaction’, if you want to suck all the fun out if it) is a sure-fire way to improving your general health levels.
This is because (and here’s the science bit) drinking while socialising activates complex bonding systems in your brain that make you feel close to the people you’re talking to, and experts say that having strong social networks is one of the best ways of preventing the onset of physical and mental illness.
So it makes sense that going on dates should be just as good for your health, or maybe even better.
Think about it: you’re socialising in a one-on-one situation, with somebody you don’t know, and you’re sole aim is to get to know them much better.
Your are completely focussed on connecting with this person, meaning that your brain’s “complex bonding system” is going into overdrive, whereas with your mates (who you’ve probably known for years), it won’t be working nearly as hard.
Then add this to the fact that you’re literally expanding your social network by getting to know this new person, and you end up with tonnes of positive energy to ensure the physical and mental health of your future self. Kerching!
But not everyone loves dating, and let’s face it: some dates are so bad that you literally want to press the ‘eject’ button after three sips of your pint (cue the phone call from “Megan-with-a-serious-emergency-that-means-you-have-to-leave-your-date-right-now” coming to the rescue).
However, the horrendousness of these situations is equally beneficial health-wise, because there’s heaps of evidence to show that experiencing nerves and anxiety every so often is good for you.
Nerves trigger a fight-or-flight reaction in your body which can lead to you being the top of your game (Usain Bolt, anyone?), as well as increasing your energy levels, helping you channel your creative energies, and generally making you a better, more likeable person.
And generally speaking, the more you experience nervousness, the more your body learns to deal with it, which will only increase all of the positive qualities that nerves generate.
Let’s be honest, too: in a dating context, nerves are only going to make you better at dating (what’s that quote about getting back on the horse if you fall off?), which will improve your chances of finding love… and we all know by know that long-term love makes you live longer.
So what have you got to lose? Get out there – your brain and body will thank you for it.