By Steven Handel
Are you comfortable with your naked self? It’s an interesting question that a lot of people struggle with.
Men and women alike are susceptible to low body image and low self-esteem. Even individuals who we often see as “attractive” can hold a negative perception of their bodies that affects their everyday life.
Our naked self is an important part of who we are. Nudity is a natural state, but it’s often seen as something vulnerable and personal. Many cultures teach us that nudity is something to hide and to be ashamed of.
This makes us create a prison surrounding who we really are. It’s also the main reason why so many people are disconnected to their physical bodies and sexual nature.
Back in 1967, there was a small, underground movement in psychology that was called “nude psychotherapy.” The central concept was that by becoming more comfortable with our own nudity, we also become more comfortable with ourselves.
There’s a great review of the history of the movement in the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences – the full article is available in PDF format if you want to read more about it.
The humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow also reflected a keen interest in nude therapy. He saw it as a way for people to become more free, more spontaneous, and less guarded – an important part of “self-actualization,” which he saw as the ultimate goal of living a happy and satisfying life.
Loving our naked self is important, so how do we do it? The key is to become more comfortable with being naked, which means practicing being naked more often (not just when we need to take a shower or change clothes).
How to Practice a Naked Meditation
Naked meditation is a great way to become more comfortable with your naked self.
One of the main goals of meditation is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, so practicing a simple meditation while being completely naked can help us become more familiar and accepting of our naked self.
Here are steps to follow to practice a form of naked meditation on your own:
Find a comfortable time and place where you can have alone time. This way you won’t be interrupted or distracted, and you can let yourself become fully engaged in the meditation without any worries.
Make sure you are completely 100% naked. Once you’re ready, take off all clothes, make-up, and accessories before the meditation.
Sit down in a comfortable posture that isn’t going to irritate you if you sit for a long period of time.
Start with 5-10 minutes of deep, slow breathing until you feel more relaxed and centered in yourself. Pay attention to the sensations of your breathing and any other sensations you feel in your body.
Practice repeating small affirmations associated with a positive body image. For example:
“I love myself and my body.
“Nudity is a natural state of existence.“
“There are no such thing as ‘imperfections’ just differences.”
“Everyone has beauty in them.”
“I am secure with my body and sexuality.”
Try doing this meditation in front of a full-length mirror with your eyes open to fully accept your body as it is. Look at your body honestly without making judgmental statements like, “I hate that part.” or “That looks weird.”
If you begin to feel too insecure or judgmental while looking at your body, go back to the positive affirmations. The main goal is to begin to associate more positive thoughts and feelings with how you see yourself.
This meditation can help you become way more comfortable with your naked self. Try practicing it just 2-3 times a week and you’ll begin seeing long-term benefits in less than a month.
To make the exercise more effective, write your own “positive affirmations” that resonate with you more. The ones I provided are only suggestions.
More tips for improving body image
Here are some more suggestions you can use in combination with the Naked Meditation to improve body image and body acceptance:
Exercise. Working out your body is a great way to improve self-esteem and body image. One recent study published in the Journal of Health Psychology found that just 6 sessions of a 40 minute exercise significantly improves body image, even if it leads to no physical changes in our appearance.
Eat healthier. Diet is just as important as exercise to feeling good about yourself and your body. It’s simple – the more you take care of your body, the more respect you’re going to have for it. You’re going to feel better about yourself after eating a healthy meal rather than eating a whole bag of chips.
Keep positive people around you. Associate with people who like you for you, and not just how you look. People’s positive attitude can be very contagious. We should hang around with more people who make us feel good about ourselves.
Cut out negative culture. The more you expose yourself to pop culture that spreads stereotypes of “perfect-looking people” in movies, TV, and magazines, the more harshly you’re going to judge yourself. Check out one study here published in Women’s Health Issues.