Meditation to reduce anxiety

Is Your Mind Preparing for Disaster?

Worst case scenario thinking… is it worth it? The theory is simple; imagine the worst thing that can happen and then try to imagine what you’ll do when it happens. In most people’s cases though, it just leads to an inner state of unrest and anxiety.

The entire insurance industry is based on such an approach. They say, “If your worst case happens, we’ll give you money.”

Why would any business want to take on that much risk? If the worst case happens, they are on the hook to suffer the worst of it, not you. We are willing to pay a premium for this type of assurance.

At the same time, we can assume that insurance companies make huge sums of money. HUGE! They advertise constantly on prime time TV which costs millions of dollars. Do they know something we don’t know?

Yes, in fact they do. They know that worst case scenarios hardly ever occur. In fact the percentage of the time that big catastrophes strike the average person are infinitesimal. And yet, so often I hear those dreaded 3 words… YOU NEVER KNOW.

Can you Control your Mind?

What I do know is that thinking negatively does have an affect on the kind of life you create. I’m not claiming that a strict policy of only positive thoughts will pre-empt all difficulties. However thinking negatively leads to beliefs that are based in negativity and those beliefs will definitely affect your day to day life.

Many have told me they get it. They understand this teaching but they can’t seem to control their minds. As much as they want to think more positively, the realities they see day by day and their experiences contradict a more positive outlook.

This is also true. The world and the challenges we all face trying to get our stuff done and find some enjoyment in life are real. There can be a shift in consciousness that leads to a dramatic transformation in your internal landscape.

Here is a snapshot of the mental landscape that I hear from many beginning meditators;

My mind is non-stop regurgitating scenarios and leaving me somewhat anxious and unsettled. I have a ton of negative thoughts most days and I can’t stop them. When I get angry, I don’t know how to stop my mind from replaying what happened and continually blaming the other person for what they did. Then I start to hate myself for being so judgmental. I get exhausted and then eat or drink too much as a way to find relief.”

Life in the World

This is life in the world for sure. The world is NOT something meditation is going to change immediately. Meditation gives you the opportunity to change how you respond to the world.

The world (a somewhat nebulous term, I understand) has a vested interest in cultivating worst-case thinking. The more fear the world stimulates in you, the more you need their insurance packages. And then the richer these companies get.

What meditation does is put you face to face with your mind. We make a conscious effort to reduce the stimulation to our senses and focus within. With practice, you will come to an inner world and here is where you can clearly see what your mind does.

Initially all that worst case activity can seem daunting. It makes us angry because it’s not natural. To be in a chronic state of worry about horrible things happening is terribly draining.

It may appear as though that type of thinking cannot be stopped however it absolutely can! No surprise… one very reliable solution is MEDITATION.

Meditation in its simplest definition can be thought of as a time of inner contemplation whereby we train the mind to function in ways that bring greater peace. We give all our attention to the activity of our minds and emotions and, through the exertion of will, consciousness and wisdom, we transform.

Transformation Away from Disastrous Thinking

Living without dwelling in worst case thinking will save a huge amount of energy. Better to use meditation as a tool to promptly process difficult emotions.

Learning to process emotions is easy to understand but somewhat challenging to implement. We all know that when we feel lousy, we don’t always feel like doing the right thing.

If we are in an emotional state such as irritated, anxious, or depressed, it is more common to try and do something that makes us feel immediately better. The most common activities may include overeating, getting drink or high, masturbating or gossiping.

Meditation can provide reliable (and free!) methods to examine your feelings when distressed and diffuse the pressure these feelings are creating.

Spiritual Maturity Means Confidence when Difficulty Strikes

When you become skilled at moving through anxiety and fear quickly using meditation, then you won’t fear worst cases nearly as much. Your confidence in yourself will grow. Your fear of the world will reduce.

A spiritually mature person expects a certain amount of adversity as it is unavoidable in the current consciousness of humanity. We all need some basic functioning and coping skills for the challenges we face.

The difference is that when you know your inner world and have developed the ability to keep the mind neutral and positive most of the time, you don’t slip into dark rabbit holes of negativity. And if you do, you recognize it quickly and get out.

When you begin to sense a down mood, you can enter into meditation and process the feelings before they take you down too far. These two skills are paramount to gaining the relaxation that people crave as a direct benefit of learning to meditate.

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Best Posture for Meditation

Best Posture for Meditation

Don’t Assume Lotus Position is the Best Posture for Meditation. It might not be.

If you just Google ‘meditation’ you might conclude that the best posture for meditation is to sit on the floor, cross legged. Almost all the images on the internet of meditation feature a person sitting in Lotus or Half Lotus Position.  We want you to consider that this might not work for you and not sitting this way will have virtually no negative effects on your practice. To be blunt, you don’t have to.

It is crucial to reduce the resistance to meditation and one of the most common ways is not to get hung up on the idea of sitting cross legged on the floor. Unfortunately it is often assumed that this is the best posture for meditation to start and when people try it, they get frustrated at how uncomfortable it can be.

The worst thing you can do is to assume that pain in the back, knees, or hips is a necessary part of learning meditation. It’s not. In fact, your body should be thought of as a small factor as you explore inwardly. Find a comfortable chair that offers back support but one that is not to stiff or that forces an upright back that is not relaxed. Relaxation is the key!

Meditation will be most satisfying as you realize it is an inward exploration. The body is not a big factor except to the degree to which it remains relaxed. Sitting in a comfortable chair with good back support will immediately feel better for most people. It is wise to have your feet on the floor since being grounded is helpful. Beyond that, good posture is deliberate meaning not slouched or too casual. Aim for a 90 degree bend at your knees and let your hands fall naturally in your lap.

Cupped hands, interlocking fingers, hands facing up resting on legs, hands facing down… these all fit in as possible best postures for meditation. The main thing is not to get rigid. Keep your shoulders relaxed and close your eyes. Finally let your head tilt downward slightly. This is helpful because it focuses your attention within and not high above yourself. Going deeper means going within. The higher states of consciousness are within and not outside of you.

Watch this  video about good starting posture here.

how to manage negative thoughts

How to Manage Negative Thoughts

You Can Manage Negative Thoughts if you are Willing to Accept This Idea

Almost all people seeking out meditation want to manage negative thoughts to some extent. Why is this? How did our minds get so far off base?

Perhaps you’ll remember an ad campaign that began in 1972 that stated; A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste. This is so true! But let’s introduce a slight variation. A Mind that is Out of Control with Negative Thoughts is a Waste. And THAT is a terrible thing!

The state of our culture is such that we love negativity. If we didn’t our news, our printed and online publications, our TV shows, our YouTube videos and our movies would not reflect it. Think of the percentage of films that involve crime, murder and people cheating on each other.

It’s hard to deny that we get an emotional charge from indulging in negativity. The good news is that meditation will absolutely help manage negative thoughts. The not so good news is that it will require consistent effort.

As with anything that has been allowed to exist for an extended period, habits are harder to change once established. Breaking the habit of allowing negativity to be prominent in your thinking is simple as far as understanding what to do but hard in execution.

Consider this idea; negative thinking is not natural but a learned condition. It has become the easier route because it releases responsibility. Changing it comes down to creating a new habit.

Thinking negatively will often release you from having to do anything. What do we mean? Take for example if someone does something to anger you. If you allow yourself to think negatively and blame the other person, you can stay mad, shut them out or speak badly about them. These are easy choices but they do nothing to help you manage negative thoughts. If on the other hand, you sit in meditation, explore the feelings that got stirred in the interaction and decide to forgive the person, you are faced with a much more challenging task. This path brings you into accord with your higher nature.

Whenever you act in a way that is aligned with love, you will tend to emerge feeling lighter. When you act in accord with negativity, you might get an initial pay off as far as feeling a little relieved but it won’t last. The first step to manage negative thoughts is to accept that the process will require effort. Then you have to learn the process and finally you have to do it. In the beginning, you will need to do this everyday. After a while, you can cut back to when something is trying to take you into negativity.

In our next blog post, we provide a step by step process for doing this work. For now, you’ll need a meditation practice whereby you can get in touch with your emotions and where you can objectively observe your thoughts. Second, you’ll need to accept that it will take a diligent effort exercised over a period of time to replace the thought patterns of allowing negativity to reside in you. Finally, you’ll need patience for when setbacks occur as they are inevitable on this journey. Please see our next post to get started!

The Best Time to meditate

When is the Best Time to Meditate? Not What you Think…

When is the Best Time to Meditate will Depend on your Schedule

For beginners just starting out, meditation poses many challenges. Gaining control of the mind is hard enough so I recommend you make a strong effort to take on the easy stuff first like figuring out when is the best time to meditate to get a groove going.

A concept that can limit enthusiastic new practitioners is getting too tight on the best time to meditate. While there are many theories about what times of the day are best, in the beginning, use your discretion within the parameters of what is reasonable. This means it has to work with your current schedule. It is assumed by many that first thing in the morning is the best time. Certainly upon awakening is generally a good time to meditate. The mind is fresh from sleep and not yet cluttered with thoughts of the day.

But if you are not a morning person and hate the idea of having to rise 30 minutes earlier than normal, then this is definitely NOT the best time for you. Some good times besides early morning include after a bath or shower. The reason for this is that water on the skin affects mood, especially cold water. The science is called Hydrotherapy. In essence, body chemistry is affected positively when willingly exposed to water (getting rained on might not feel great). You’ll feel better after a bath or shower and thus be more susceptible to a good meditation.

Another good time is when you feel some sort of emotional disturbance trying to take you over. That is a great time to sit and examine what’s going on before you get too irritated or anxious.

…if you are not a morning person and hate the idea of having to rise 30 minutes earlier than normal, then this is definitely NOT the best time for you.

 

For the newbie, do it when it works for your schedule but apply a little wisdom… just before bed isn’t great as you might just fall asleep. Meditation is an inner alertness, not a way to fall asleep. Meditating regularly is likely to improve your sleep patterns but be careful that you don’t just fall asleep.

After a big meal will feel uncomfortable as your belly is full and your energy is focused on digestion. When you are super wired with tons to do, you likely won’t be able to relax. Avoid these times.

Your best bet when starting out is to try various options over a two week period. See where your results are best and which times actually get you to do it. You might find that right before dinner leads to a good meditation but if 90% of the time, you have to prepare the family meal or tend to your children, then this isn’t ideal. Experiment and go with the flow.

Meditation to Reduce Anxiety

Meditation to Reduce Anxiety is an Excellent Compliment to Traditional Therapy

Anxiety has become an accepted norm in many cultures. It shouldn’t be. Using meditation to reduce anxiety is the most recommended way as it can preclude the need for pharmaceuticals.

The challenge is that for those who haven’t yet learned meditation, there will be some time lag as far as the results they are seeking. Nevertheless, the sooner you get started, the sooner you will feel positive changes.

You might curious how exactly to use meditation to reduce anxiety. It begins with the premise that the presence of anxiety is a signal from within yourself that something is concerning you.  Anxiety is a form of fear that creates a negative emotional state because either something happened in the past that you are worried about or something coming up is likely to be a problem for you.

Whether or not your assessment is true meaning something is genuinely wrong, you often don’t really know. In fact, if you don’t examine your conclusions, your mind jumps to negative possibilities and these stimulate feelings of anxiety.

Try this simple meditation exercise when seeking to reduce anxiety

Sit quietly, close your eyes and  let the feelings of anxiety surface. Don’t try to block them in any way. In order to use meditation to reduce anxiety, you first have to own the feelings.

It is possible as you let the feelings rise that you will be tempted to get freaked out and pulled into the feeling. However I want to assure you that there is a higher aspect to your being. This higher part is not phased by anxiety because it knows anxiety is often generated based on faulty conclusions. Now is the time to explore these unexamined conclusions.

Engage your mind and analyze your assessment of the situation. Your thoughts might sound like this…

I’m very worried about what’s going to happen in my job. I heard rumors that my boss is getting fired. If she does, I could lose my job and then I won’t have enough money to pay my rent. Trying to find a job in this economy is almost impossible. I’m going to be in a whole mess of trouble.

Try to identify the unknowns in your mental dialogue and approach them from a more mature and reasonable mind set. In the above example, there are several false conclusions. The person doesn’t know for sure if their boss is losing her job. This negativity could be totally without foundation.

In this case, your reasoning mind guided by the more mature part of you (think of this as your soul) would interrupt the anxiety tapes playing and say, ‘Stop. Until we know what is happening to our boss, we’re not going to give it any more attention.’

This is a discipline and it requires effort however once this decision is made, you cut your thinking off any time the mind wants to go there. If you need some kind of mantra to cut that thought, you might repeat ‘I focus on what I know to be true at this moment’. A mantra like that means you can’t speculate and take yourself into a funky state.

Even if you are quite sure your boss is getting fired, the other conclusions you have allowed (I could lose my job, I won’t have enough money, I can’t find another job in this economy) are gross exaggerations. There is a part of you that recognizes that you are projecting dire outcomes without any evidence to support them.

The solution is moving your thinking into proactive planning mode. It might sound like this…If I am let go, I have 2 months of savings to carry me while I find another job. I will need to act quickly to begin looking right away. The last time I looked earnestly for a job, I found one in just over a month. I will put a plan together and stick with it. I am confident that something will come through as it always has in the past.

This is a meditation process because it is an active use of the mind to first examine your feelings and then use the mind to devise a reasonable solution. Meditation to reduce anxiety requires a confidence in your ability to take action. Since we all make mistakes, don’t aspire to be error-free. Instead, aspire to have a process to deal with situations that create anxiety.

Would You Consider Private Counseling to Learn how to Use Meditation for Anger Management? Click Here.

reducing anxiety woman

Considering Lack of Love as a Source of Anxiety

I often think of what’s on TV as symbolic for what we long for, relationship and connection. It seems a fundamental aspect of being human. We are created to relate to each other and find connection in recognizing shared experiences, not live in constant anxiety.

Have you ever stopped and noticed how much TV is about murder and killing others? It’s a lot. As well, there are constant Dateline-type shows that highlight premeditated murders and how the trials played out. I can assure you, there was little to no meditation in these pre-meditated killings.

Do you have anxiety

What is this insatiable draw to seeing so much death? And how does it affect you emotionally?

These are good questions to take into meditation. Even if you clearly realize that watching reality TV about a manipulating husband or wife who plotted to kill their spouse so they could have an affair or cash in on inheritance is not good for you, it can be hard to resist. It’s not because it is human nature to kill. In fact, I am a strong believer that it is not at all in our nature to kill others, but a learned behavior.

All this ‘entertainment’ about death and killing leads to a gradual shift in consciousness and desensitization. After a while, one kind of just accepts that people kill each other and then lie profusely to try and get away with it. And in those shows like Law and Order where there is a trial, often the climax is when the attorney triggers the defendant to spill their guts. They get all emotional and reveal an intense anger and hurt that led to their decision to kill.

In fact, I am quite certain that the anger which leads to decisions to be selfish, mean, vengeful, greedy etc is so rampant in our society that most everyone is affected. Some of us take it all the way and plot to kill someone who we can no longer stand. But most of us relate to the anger. We wouldn’t kill but we can identify with either the killer in their passion or the victim in their helplessness.

These shows thrive because we relate on some level to the struggle and we get an emotional charge from seeing just how far someone else could take things. This phenomenon is an indication of the consciousness of our modern day society. Not very high.

The human soul is incredibly sensitive. We are created to care about each other as though part of one global family. But take a look at an everyday family. When the kids hit adolescence, they can be super-touchy, vicious in their language and highly reactive with each other. Our society seems to be in an adolescent stage of evolution. Anger is prominent and when you know there are people about who, when angry may go so far as to really injure and even kill, this will leave you on edge. Hence the root of much anxiety.

In teaching meditation for over ten years, I have counseled many, many people who declare themselves anxious, as if anxiety is there true nature. I feel our true nature is love and relaxation but living amidst rampant anger in a culture where taking revenge is encouraged, anxiety breeds.

Try not labeling yourself as an anxious person. You may experience strong anxious feelings at times but this doesn’t make you a naturally anxious person. Also monitor your intake of entertainment. Notice your day to day relationships and note how much anger, be it demonstrative or passive aggressive you experience around you.

It is normal to feel anxiety if constantly around a lot of angry, volatile people. And TV would have us believe that these people are all around us. Yes, angry people are all around us. Imagine living in prison where your most basic rights of freedom are denied. People are caged up and they grow furious in time. This is where a lot of weird stuff goes down. Most if us would be chronically angry  and highly anxious if locked up in prison.

Anxiety is a response to the lack of love in our world. It points to the fact that we as humans need love. It is a basic survival element which allows us to relax and feel ok. Day to day, it can be hard to find. The goal is to give more of it and trust in the law of karma. The more you give, the more you will find flowing to you. Have faith in this law.

But also don’t be naive or like a person who tries to force positivity. I am very optimistic but I try not to be foolish. People can harbor anger and concoct mean revenge plans. Or even just hurt others because they were hurt. In order to counter that anger, use meditation to see the truth. Recognize how you are coping with the difficulties in the world. This is the first step to reducing that anxiety. Stop seeing yourself as an anxious person and begin doing all you can to give more love.

meditation for anger management

Meditation for Anger Management Prevents Deeper Problems

Using Meditation for Anger Management may Prevent Damage to Relationships

Everyone gets angry. It’s normal when you’re in relationship with others. Not everyone manages their anger well. Some believe that expressing anger in the heat of the moment is the best way to manage it. Consider trying meditation for anger management. It will lead to much less conflict and hurt feelings.

Meditation can be thought of as a period of time when you are inwardly focused. It doesn’t just have to be about focusing on breathing and keeping the mind still. Being proactive in meditation and using meditation for anger management is an excellent practice. It will give you the chance to examine what exactly happened and a reasonable course of action to take. While in the heat of the emotion, our reasoning ability is not functioning at its peak.

Here is a hint; anger skews our interpretation of reality. Yes, it is valid that something happened leaving you  feeling either violated, disrespected, not considered, rejected, demeaned, humiliated etc. These are typical feelings that accompany anger.

Once the blood begins to heat up though, we lose touch with the clear reasonable mode of thinking and can fabricate narratives that only exacerbate our anger. Meditation is an excellent way to first give room for the emotion to simmer down and second to ponder what exactly happened once the reaction has subdued.

Anger is generally an emotional reaction. Something has happened and our emotional state has gone from calm to turbulent. Sit quietly and above all, allow the feeling some space. This can be hard because feeling angry is not pleasant. I don’t even recommend burning off the anger doing physical things like going to the gym or beating pillows. Not yet.

First allow the full feeling space to reveal itself. Do this while sitting peacefully in meditation. Above all, realize that your mind is not reliable at these times. You likely can’t see straight so don’t believe the thoughts your mind presents. Seriously, don’t fall into that trap.

Once the anger has been given room, look for what other feelings got stirred up by what happened. It is pretty much a given that underneath your anger are feelings (as mentioned above) such as hurt, disrespect, humiliation and rejection. It will help tremendously to identify these other feelings as they are better guides for what action to take.

One beautiful thing about the human soul is that if you give room to your negative feelings to reveal themselves, they generally begin to subside. They are trying to reveal something significant that happened and help your mind decide how best to handle it.

In our culture, we are often in such a hurry to get away from negative feelings that the mind jumps in prematurely and suggests really bad solutions. The worst thing you can do while angry is to decide you are going to do something to get back at the person who angered you. Karmically this is a nightmare but it is very much a part of the global mentality. Try to discipline yourself away from such a thought process.

Instead, patiently sit with yourself and be kind and compassion as you reveal the depth of your feelings. Validate how you feel by talking yourself through things. There may be something you can learn about your situation, yourself or others in your life as a result of what happened.

For example, it might be that you can’t see how you are antagonizing others even though it’s not your intention. You might be acting passive aggressively and can’t see it. Others might be reacting to subconscious behaviors of yours and thus striking back. In meditation, you have a better chance of seeing if this is the case.

You might also see that the other person is not respecting good boundaries and is crossing lines that leave you feeling violated. A conversation establishing good boundaries might be your best bet. Using meditation for anger management will show you what the real issues are. Use the time to first identify and calm the feeling then validate what you feel. Once a little calmer, examine objectively what happened and think through a reasonable course of action. While in meditation, this is a lot easier.

 

intermediate meditation tips how to meditate

How to Meditate – The Absolute Basics to Start

Getting Started Means Learning How to Meditate in Very Simple Terms

Those wanting to learn how to meditate will find a barrage of teaching online. Our goal is to simplify it so you can get started enthusiastically and not be overwhelmed in grandiose claims (like your problems will end once you start meditating) or uncomfortable postures. Meditation when you first start is about learning to relax, not only in body but in mind and emotions.

In order to relax, your first need to consider your attitude. A good attitude for learning how to meditate is one that is patient, optimistic and ready to put forth a good effort. Is that you? Yes, that is definitely you!

Ok, so before we can relax, we need to gauge where we sit on the relaxation spectrum. At this moment, notice your physical body and how it feels. Are you uncomfortable because your setting is awkward, or your chair is uncomfortable or you are in a public place? It is best to start somewhere you have privacy and a comfortable chair. Adjust yourself so you can sit upright with feet flat on the ground and knees bent somewhere around 90 degrees. You want your back straight but not stiff. How does your body feel now?

If you have pain somewhere in your body, notice it. It can be hard to relax deeply if you feel pain but as you learn how to meditate, you may find pain subsides during your meditation session. If you need to adjust any bunched up clothing, do that now. Let your hands rest on your lap naturally. Don’t worry about doing anything specific with your hands, just what feels comfortable. Once you start, you’ll close your eyes, sit quietly, breathe deeply and notice how you feel.

Don’t immediately focus on how busy your mind is or what you are thinking about. All in due time. For now, let’s say your body feels good. Now deepen your breathing so you can feel your abdomen gently expand and contract with each breath. Don’t force it. If your belly is rising and falling with your breath, your doing nicely.

Next shift your focus to your mind. It is very common that people can’t control all their thoughts when learning how to meditate in the beginning. So just notice how active your mind is and the kinds of thoughts that are coming up. I know it can be discouraging when the mind seems to have a life of its own. Be patient and we will change this.

Lastly, pick one thing to think about. Just one topic of thought but pick one that interests you and go with it. Think through whatever you need to in order to resolve that thought. If your mind tries to change topics, come back to just this one. This is a most basic form of meditation. You can think of it as you holding your attention on one thing. It’s a basic form of concentration. Start here and see if you can sit in a relaxed way and think about only one thing (with your eyes closed) for 5 minutes. If you’re thinking about something interesting, you should have no problem. Read this article to get some ideas on what you can focus on. That’s it.

Meditation to attract a new lover

Step 1 to Attract a New Lover is Getting Your Mind Aligned with your Desire

Practicing Meditation and Visualization are Excellent Ways to Attract a New Lover

It has become widely accepted that what you think about affects what happens in your life. If you are at a point in your life where you would like to attract a new lover, getting your mind on board will have substantial affect on the type of person you find and how long it will take.

Let’s say you have noticed a pattern to the types of partners you attract. Some people get real frustrated that they always end up with emotionally unavailable people. Or perhaps you find yourself with someone who can’t get their finances together or who gets really needy once the relationship settles in. The best thing you can do is to explore within your thinking and belief system considering why these kinds of people are showing up. It’s not a coincidence!

You will have fun and be surprised how things change when you do this inner work. It begins with an honest look at what turns you on. Have you noticed that what turns you on and what you say you want might be in conflict? We talked earlier about unavailable partners. The emotionally distant lover can make for a very passionate affair because he or she is aloof and not pressuring you in any way. This turns a lot of people on. But your heart can’t relax when you know the other person is only half in it. So there’s a conflict.

Decide what you want not from the emotional drama perspective but from a clear review of your heart and mind. If you have a sense of your soul, by all means include that part as well. It is helpful to actually go into meditation and contemplate your history a little. Examine objectively if you have a similar conflict. Consider what gets you turned on and if those kinds of relationships are relaxing and based in love.

Once you know what kind of person you want, next meditate on how you want to feel when that relationship is happening. Don’t focus on finding the person. Instead, see yourself already with the new lover and decide how you want to feel. You are going to visualize yourself with your partner and feeling how you want to feel. Things like… feeling loved, cared for, considered, respected, attracted, spacious (not suffocated) etc. This is really important as it defines what you want often better than describing the lover.

Once in meditation, see the end result. In other words, don’t visualize all the dating and any frustration while you attract a new lover. The meditation is a time to see what you want and how you will feel when the relationship is manifest. Once the vision is made, let it go. One way we teach this is to imagine a ball of light like the sun resting in your lap and a photo of you and your new lover placed inside the ball of light. Then gently toss it up and imagine this ball of light floating up to the merge with the sun. It’s symbolic but it will do the trip. You could think of it as you handing your vision off to the Universe.

Next, you’ll need to make a firm commitment to be very proactive when it comes to dating. If you want a real quality romantic partner, you’re going to have to ask people out and/or accept dates even if you’re not sure where things are going. Read the next steps in this series for more guidance. Or click here for a related blog post.