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How can I make myself eat in public?


I get so self-conscious, I

I get so self-conscious, I feel like people are staring. I get panic attacks if someone talks, or even makes a noise. Any tips anyone, please?

Hi: I'm sorry you are going


I'm sorry you are going through this.

It is not unusual to experience anxiety in different social situations. Sometimes, people feel extremely anxious just by being outside their home or by going to certain anxiety provoking locations such as a crowded shopping mall or an airport. However, you have identified that in your case, it is eating in public that causes you to feel extremely self-conscious and panicked.

The symptoms you describe are real and can cause you to feel overwhelmed and anxious. As you mention, the possibility of experiencing a panic attack is very real for you, which of course just contributes to the build up of anxiety you are already feeling.

A social phobia to eating in public could result from a number of different issues. Sometimes, a dislike of eating in public may stem from a fear of how others may perceive us. For example, some people worry that they will be judged by others regarding their food choices, or that they will be criticized for eating too much (even if that isn't true).

Some individuals remember being raised very strictly as children, including possibly being admonished for poor eating habits. In other cases, family expectations may have been unrealistic regarding mealtimes and food, resulting in uncertainty and anxiety around the social act of eating out.

Media images of women with overly thin bodies also contribute to anxiety regarding eating in public, as young people attempt to achieve the "perfect" body image, no matter how unhealthy or impractical this may be.

That said, there are a number of suggestions that may make eating in public a little easier. However, it is important to mention that many people find it more effective to work with a professional such as a counselor or a therapist in order to manage their anxiety or social phobia.

A few tips

It may help to think back to when this started. This may provide you with a clue as to what is causing the most anxiety when you are eating in public.

Set yourself up for success. Avoid foods that are especially challenging to eat in public (anything slippery or tricky to handle comes to mind!)

Be kind to yourself. If you are overly focused on how you look, you may want to remind yourself that in reality, no one is perfect, and it is very unlikely that persons all around you are really that interested in what you are eating.

Remember to breathe! You want to reduce tension, and lower the anxiety associated with eating out. The more relaxed your are, the better.

Involve a trusted friend or family member. Including someone with you who is truly compassionate and supportive while eating out will help you to boost your confidence. Start small, and as you gain more self-assurance you can move on to different situations. Sometimes, just sharing the problem with someone can feel like a huge relief.

Lastly, don't hesitate to reach out for help if the anxiety continues. Sometimes, it takes a little extra time and the assistance of a health professional to bring anxiety back under control. You are definitely worth it!

Hope this helps a little. Please take care.


Thank you so much Amy!! You

Thank you so much Amy!! You are right that my anxiety stems from how people are perceiving my eating habits. It all started when my cousin made remarks about how I eat. I can eat in public now. It's very stressful, but I'll keep doing it anyway. Thank you so much, I'll definitely keep your tips in mind :)