My answer to How do I get comfortable with people watching me?
Answer by Janne Piiroinen:
I can relate to this question as I’ve pondered it myself and in the end got myself comfortable in all kinds of environments. Practice is the way, however there are tools to pave the way to make it easier.
One of such tools would be meditation. I don’t dare to say mindfulness, because through meditation you can become more mindful person.
Actually you are already well on the way to become more mindful, by recognizing these feelings you described and asked this question. The feeling of being scrutinized and judged is just a feeling in your head, its’ your perception about the reality, does it make it reality? I would say no.
Most of the people have actually exactly the similar process running inside in their heads what you did just describe: they are busy thinking what other people think of them.
There is nothing wrong with this, people still possess great potential to do plenty of good. To break the chains of this repetitive pattern in everyday life requires mental effort which is indeed the practice of mindfulness, the practice of meditation to increase the mindfulness.
Another thing you can do is to start actually collecting a bit more realistic view of the reality, start challenging these assumptions you’ve made and stated in the description. Asking this question was a great start. Now you could apply to your environment. I don’t know what kind of environment you are working in.
However for example when I started to work as a cleaner I had this exact problem that I thought people are watching and judging me, I had trouble even to look over my shoulder to confirm this because I felt so sure about this fact. Guess what? As I gathered my courage to actually see if anyone was looking, there was no-one, it’s all in our head.
Another example when I started to work as a telemarketer in an open plan office I was anxious about talking to the phone and about people who were listening to it etc. Guess what? When I learned to embrace the knowledge of the collegues it transformed me. Nobody judged, more precisely they helped.
Yet another example in Cafeteria I was again anxious about customers coming and watching the every move I take when I cut a piece of cake or something. At first I was indeed anxious, however I quickly learned to transform the work in a café as a sort of performance and Zen practice.
Zen mindset and movement is wonderful, it’s about practice of letting go all the unnecessary (i.e. anxiety) and working towards excellence.
Breathing is the biological basis of comfort, master that and you are able to be comfortable anywhere.