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    How To Manage Your Dating Anxiety: 6 Steps To Rid Yourself Of It

    6 Positive ways to relieve the anxiety that often accompanies dating (after divorce)

    How to Manage Your Dating Anxiety: 6 Steps to Rid Yourself Of It -- by: David J. Glass, Certified Family Law Attorney and PhD in Psychology

    Often, when spouses or partners break up and wish to re-enter the world of dating, many experience some level of anxiety. Some symptoms may seem minor while others may be debilitating.

    For those who need a clearer picture: Anxiety is a state of mind (and brain function) where a person feels overcome by feelings of worry and fear—feelings that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities; it is stress that is out of proportion to the impact of an event, the inability to set aside a worry, and restlessness. Oftentimes, anxiety is tied to social situations, which is why it often impacts dating very negatively. Also, with many breakups, people are left to feel insecure and inadequate about themselves. Anxiety can set in also in just anticipating the necessary steps it will take to return to the dating scene.

    Wherever you may register on the anxiety scale, it is important to note that anxiety can be managed. Below are six steps that can help most single individuals alleviate anxiety:

    1.Use Systematic Desensitization to Build Up to a Date

    You need to push yourself out of your comfort zone in small steps. You need to practice talking to other people; especially new contacts and strangers. You can start at work. Talk to someone you know, but don't know well, by the water cooler for even a few minutes. Then stretch that time to five or 10 minutes for the next such conversation. Up the ante by attending a social event (at a church picnic, a speaker series, etc.) and make a point of talking to a stranger or two every day. Eventually, you will feel more comfortable talking to those you have just met, which will make you more comfortable talking to people you will soon meet on a date. Once comfortable, push yourself to go on a "group date" with friends to take in a movie, chatter at a bar, or a class where there is lots of interaction.

    2.Get Into Therapy

    Though you may be hesitant, therapy works! Counseling with a trained professional is a great idea; preferably someone trained in Cognitive-Behavioral methods. This process will help you learn to tame your anxiety by calming yourself when you do become anxious. It also will teach you how to live a calmer life. Oftentimes, Cognitive-Behavioral treatment for anxiety can last a short as 12 weeks, so you may have to repeat or build on this process.

    3.Don't Fantasize About the Horror Stories of What Could Happen Before the Date; Tell Yourself the Happy Stories of How Things Will Go Well.

    Pay attention to how you are talking to yourself in advance of dates. Are you telling yourself that you will surely appear unconfident? Might you worry you will stutter; say stupid things; not respond appropriately or that will blurt out something awkward and embarrass yourself? First, recognize that these are just "stories" that you are telling yourself, and they don't have to be true. Then, replace that story with a more optimistic story. Having visualized more positive outcomes will lead to having more positive outcomes.

    4.Keep Your Initial Dates Short

    Don't go for the whole "dinner and a movie" plan right out of the gate. Shoot for a short talk over coffee, breakfast or a short run or hike. Build your way up to a shared lunch. Soon, you will be ready to go out to dinner, and maybe even add some after-dinner activity like a movie, a concert, a play or a workout class.

    5.Prepare a FewTopics of Discussion So You Have Something to Talk About

    Check out trending news stories, be ready to share information about your favorite hobbies prior to meeting your date. A quick scan of the Internet, making a list of current hobbies, or those you wish to undertake, make for great fodder during that quick meet-and-greet date(s). There's always lots to talk about, and if you spend a few minutes preparing, you will be ready to start the conversation. This will also prepare you as you respond to questions from your date(s). And once you get started, and do well with the initial conversations, the later conversation(s) with that person or others will flow more naturally.

    6.Exercise Before Your Date

    What does exercising have to do with social interactions? Exercise helps you burn off excess anxiety and nervous energy. Exercise also releases endorphins in the brain (chemicals that improve mood and relaxation). Exercise also helps people feel better about their bodies and health, which, in turn, improves confidence. Exercise also stimulates energy mentally helping you be more on your game in the conversation department. This energy also helps to make a meaningful connection with the other person. Those who are anxious often withdraw, but that is simply impossible whether you stimulate energy by physically or mentally exercising.

    As you work through your anxiety, know that it is often transitory—it doesn’t last for long—especially if you begin to implement any or all of the steps above.