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« Anxiety management: How to go out alone, by Rachel Green »

Written by Rachel Green. Your smart emotions coach: Helping people find positive outcomes from uneasy emotions and difficult decisions. Director of The Emotional Intelligence Institute. She has cured herself of panic attacks through meditation.

Managing anxiety: How to go out alone

Managing anxiety when you are on your own and going out is crucial for your happiness and self-confidence.

Many of us find ourselves feeling anxious if we get invited out on our own. Managing anxiety as you walk into a restaurant or go to a party, the movies or a wedding alone isn't pleasant.

However, just because you are feeling anxious doesn't mean you can't have fun. You can. Here are five tips for managing anxiety when you go out on your own.

Managing anxiety tip 1: Keep on breathing.

When you are just about to walk into the restaurant or wedding reception and your heart flutters a little with anxiety - keep breathing. Managing anxiety is enough without you holding your breath at the same time! I'm not kidding.

When people are feeling anxious they commonly hold their breath as they are about to do something they feel uncomfortable about. Keep breathing in. Keep breathing out. Breathing can have a calming effect.

Holding your breathing can have a traumatic effect and leave you managing anxiety even more! 

Managing anxiety tip 2: Work out lines to say in advance.

You know what kinds of things will happen when you go to a dinner party on our own, or you sit next to a complete stranger at a wedding reception, or you enter a restaurant and the waiter says "A table for one Ma'am?" Prepare yourself. Choose your answers or introductions in advance.

The answer to a table for one is, "Yes please", (said enthusiastically), "by the window, thanks".

When you're at a wedding your line may be to introduce yourself by explaining how you know the bride or groom. Knowing what you will say makes managing anxiety so much easier, in fact the anxiety may go altogether.

When you are at a party say how you know the host or hostess, "Hi I'm Jenny, I used to go to school with Brad, how do you know him?"

Managing anxiety tip 3: Speak out, don't hold back.

It doesn't matter if there are large groups of people, you can still introduce yourself - do not curl up ready to die in the corner. You'll be feeling anxious all evening if you do and feel worse.

The idea is to be managing anxiety so well it disappears quickly.

Be ready to speak to people as soon as you arrive, don't wait for them to speak to you, or wait to speak to them.

Managing anxiety tip 4: Take something with you.

When I sit in restaurants on my own, I do one of 3 things.

  1. I watch everyone else, or
  2. I take something to do such as a magazine to read, or
  3. I start talking to the person next to me.

In fact, when I was at a meal recently I got so involved in conversation with the lady at the next table she ended up featuring in my blog.

Managing anxiety tip 5: Arrive early.

If you are going to a party, a seminar or a wedding on your own then go early. The reason for this is that as people arrive they will be more inclined to start talking to you than if you arrive after huddles have already formed. Huddles only mean you will be managing anxiety even more.

Make managing anxiety easy. With a bit of preparation you could be managing happiness instead of managing anxiety!

If you want to try meditation to ease your anxiety I recommend our "Happy not hassled" MP3 recordings to you. The meditations on there are the ones I used to help me overcome my panic attacks.

MP3s $29(US) Add to Cart


NB: Any information contained in this article is not provided as an alternative to the obtaining of psychological advice from an appropriately qualified practitioner. Rachel is not a psychologist, Dr or psychiatrist. If you, or people known to you, have significant anxiety please seek professional help and do not rely on this for the diagnosis or treatment of any psychological problems.