26/01/2017 11:21 GMT | Updated 27/01/2018 05:12 GMT

The Single Ladies Over 40 Guide To Surviving Valentine's Day

As the UK's leading dating coach, I know that Valentine's Day can be a difficult time for many singles.

They'll see all the couples enjoying their special day and feel huge pressure that they haven't got someone wonderful themselves. This can make them think negatively about themselves and make it a very depressing day. I see this problem a lot with women in their 40s as by then most of their friends and family have settled down. The good news is that this really doesn't have to be the case. Valentine's Day can be something to look forward to rather than dread. Here are my dating expert tips to make sure you get the most out of the big day:

Appreciate what you have

Bridget Jones is the ultimate single lady that many men can identify with. Although she doesn't have a man in her life, she is surrounded by friends, has a great job, is in the best shape of her life and has a loving family. She knows that and it makes sure she is happy.

You can learn from this. Rather than focusing on what you don't have, think about exactly what you DO have in your life. If you spend a little time reflecting on how lucky you are to have your job, health, house etc., you'll soon start to realise how good your life is already. You don't need someone else to complete you. Be grateful for all the people you have in your life already.

Get yourself out there

There are lots of Valentine's Day parties on at this time of year. These are all aimed at singles and provide a wonderful opportunity to go out and meet potential partners. Round up your single friends and go with the mindset to have fun. You never know who might be there and you might just have a night you'll never forget!

Single men are everywhere - online, using dating apps, going to the gym or simply walking round the supermarket. If you get out of your house, then you'll have a great chance of meeting them.

Have a "You" Day

Who is the most important person in your life? It's you! But how often do you do something just for yourself? Plan yourself a day of pampering and prepare yourself your favourite meal and drinks. There's no better way to spend the day than doing all the things you never normally make time for.

You really don't need someone to "complete" you in order to make you happy.

A recent survey of 1000 women for the release of Bridget Jones's Baby revealed that half of women over 40 weren't bothered about settling down. They were more interested in having fun and meeting lots of different people.

Lose Your Baggage

It can be tempting to think about an ex-partner and wonder what they might be up to. You might even wish you were still together. OK, so they weren't right for you but at least you were in a relationship? This really isn't a helpful thing to do. You split up for a reason and it's made you who you are today. You can't change the past - you can only control the present. Use it to make sure that your future is the way you want it to be.

You are so much stronger now than when you were in your 20s and 30s. Be proud of that!

Write a Dating Shopping List

As you approach Valentine's Day, it's a great time to realise that you have the power to choose exactly the type of man you'd like to date. You don't have to settle for Mr Wrong, but instead start aiming for Mr Right. To do this, you'll need to be clear about the person you ultimately want to end up with. Take out a piece of paper and describe what he looks like and what personality qualities he has. Does he have ambition? Is he good with kids? Can he cook? What's really important to you and what isn't? If you do this, you'll be able to know immediately when you finally meet them.

Go wild with your list and make it as detailed as you want. You can always remove things that aren't deal breakers, but at least now you'll have something to aim for. Keep the list in a safe place and you'll have something to think about through the rest of the year.

I hope you found these tips useful. Remember, Valentine's Day is only one day of the year. You've got the other 364 days to meet someone amazing if you want to!

James Preece hosted a Bridget Jones inspired dating seminar on 31st January to mark the DVD and Blu-ray release of Bridget Jones's Baby on 30th January.

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