August 14, 2022


how to feel better naked

2 min read
Not everybody is so comfortable being naked. For many of us, nudity — or just...

Not everybody is so comfortable being naked. For many of us, nudity — or just the prospect of baring more skin during the summer — can be fraught. The three strategies below have been suggested by a range of experts who spend time thinking about nudity and body image. They won’t necessarily transform your relationship with your body, but they are a start.

SPEND MORE TIME NAKED. Learning to feel good about your body can be a slog, and so many of the obstacles that stand in the way are societal. Still, Renee Engeln, the director of the Body and Media Lab at Northwestern University, says that for some people, the key to feeling better naked is “simply to be naked more often.”

Erich Schuttauf, the executive director of the American Association for Nude Recreation, agrees that there is cathartic power in simply doing stuff in the buff. You could, he suggested, sunbathe for 20 minutes if you have a private backyard.

It’s important, however, to make sure you are in a space that feels safe, whether that is in the privacy of your bedroom or a more public setting, like a nude beach.

FOCUS ON HOW YOUR BODY FEELS. Virgie Tovar, a body image activist, does not believe working toward feeling better naked is a requisite step to broader body acceptance. But she encourages anyone struggling with being naked to consider how it would feel to be at peace with their bodies when they have to be nude. To get there, Ms. Tovar recommends using mindfulness strategies to shift focus from how your body looks naked to how it feels. Start in the shower. “Focus on the sensations,” she said. “What does it feel like on my skin when I step in the shower?”

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SURROUND YOURSELF WITH IMAGES OF DIFFERENT BODY TYPES. Pop culture and social media have conditioned us all to see the “slender body, or the young body, or the able body” as the most worthy, Ms. Tovar said. “But that just really isn’t accurate.” So she encourages everyone to surround themselves with pictures of different body types. Curate what you follow on Instagram, Facebook or TikTok as well. Though the link between social media and negative body image isn’t clear-cut, research shows that looking at body-positive content online can boost your mood.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

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