As part of Science Week 2020, neuroscientist Ian Robertson is sharing top tips to help us apply science to our day to day lives.

First dates are nerve-shredding. Your heart is racing, your hands are sweaty and you have butterflies in your stomach. Will they like you? Will you say the right thing? 

On the first date, first impressions matter. So, at times like these, most of us fear things going wrong - our confidence drains and our anxiety dominates.

But what exactly is happening in the brain?

According to Ian, when your brain anticipates a threat or significant event, it prepares itself by releasing the hormone adrenaline into the bloodstream.

This gets the heart going, tightens the stomach and triggers sweating which is supposed to cool you down from the heat of the coming fight or flight - even when there is no physical threat.

According to Ian, we need to remember that all the above symptoms also come with the feeling of excitement, just as much as they are of anxiety.

So, what can we do?

You can control your mind. You can magic these symptoms of bodily activity from one emotion (anxiety) to another (excitement). 

First, take a slow breath in for the count of four and out for the count of six. Next, think about the beating heart and the sweaty hands and say out loud to yourself 'I feel excited'.