Michael Valmont is a London-based leading dating coach. He specialises in helping people become their most attractive self, improving their dating skills, through improving self-image, self-esteem and confidence.

So the big day is finally here. You’ve been messaging back and forth on dating sites, giving them your best lines and showing off your witty conversational skills, and now it’s time to put them in practice in real life. Gulp.

Like many of us, you might suffer from a serious case of First Date Jitters. Symptoms of which include all-day nausea, a need for frequent outfit changes, and in some extreme cases ‘I-should-just-cancel-itis’. Unfortunately, there is currently no known cure for the illness at this time. However…

Fear not! There are a number of things you can do to lessen the symptoms. Follow the steps below:

1. Remember To Breathe

Whether you feel it or not, one of the first things your body does when you’re super excited or nervous is to change your breathing pattern. The reason it does this is to do with your built in flight-or-flight response and a whole load of other science, which might be helpful if you’re facing a tiger in the jungle, but definitely less helpful for you in a dating situation; so you’re going to have to override the process!

It’s all about the ‘deep breath in, deep breath out’ shenanigans you’ve probably heard and ignored before. This time, don’t ignore it; do a bit of research on some quick techniques and have a practice before you go. The great thing about this technique is that it can be carried out in the toilets so if you need it, you can escape to the loo and have a go. Just don’t do it too loudly and scare the other bathroom patrons.

2. Make A Pre-Date Call

Not to 999, but to a close friend or family member. For most people, those pesky jitters really kick in on the way to the date.

Look around you train on any given evening and you’re most likely to see beautifully dressed women and men, nervously checking their phones with twitchy feet; they’re probably going dating.

To avoid this look, pre-arrange to have a phone call with someone whilst on your way to the date. You don’t even have to talk about your upcoming date. The call will distract you and help to keep you calm. Pick someone who’s level-headed, makes you laugh, and won’t get you in a flap. So maybe not your mother…

3. Have An Exit Strategy

For many of us, fear in dating is fear of the unknown. Whilst the unpredictability of a date is incomparable to the big questions of life on earth, it’s still a big enough worry that we might get a little sweaty palmed!

To ease this particular worry, make sure you know exactly how and when you’re going home. Plan which train you’re catching and how long it will take, or have your cab pre-booked. Knowing it’s already sorted out will take away some of the stress, and putting a time limit on your first date also puts both of you under helpful time pressure to get to know each other, as the clock ticks away.

4. You’re Doing This For You

Without sounding rude, you need keep the date in perspective. Remind yourself: (1) dating is necessary for you to get to where you want to be (2) Dating should be fun and social (3) You’re date on your own terms – stay if you want to stay, go if you want to go!