How to Feel Comfortable Naked

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There are some people who feel more comfortable when they are naked than when they are fully clothed.[1] Many people, however, feel extremely uncomfortable with nudity, whether because of their appearance or for moral and social reasons[2] . On the other hand, feeling comfortable naked is a strong sign of self-confidence.[3] Since we all have to be naked some of the time, if only when bathing or changing clothes, it’s worth trying to become more comfortable with being nude.

Adjusting Your Mindset

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    Set a goal and create a plan. If you have never felt comfortable naked or have always hated your body, the first step is to decide that you want that to change.[4]
    • Set a specific goal -- to feel comfortable naked with the lights on in front of your spouse, for example -- to make it more likely that you will achieve a positive outcome.[5]
    • Create a detailed plan as to how you will achieve your goal. Decide how you will track your progress, when you would like to achieve your goal (make sure this gives you enough time to change), and what you will do to achieve success.
    • Start where you are. If you don’t feel comfortable with your body even with your clothes on, work on that first, then build up to nudity. If you are uncomfortable being naked in front of another person with the lights on, try leaving on the lights for just a few seconds while you’re naked. As you become more comfortable, you can extend the length of time.
    • Don't let the fact that you haven't yet accomplished the goal make you unhappy. Instead, be proud of yourself for working toward your goal.
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    Strive for self-acceptance instead of worrying about other people’s opinions. There are many reasons why someone might criticize your appearance -- and many of these reasons have nothing to do with you or your body. What matters is what you think, not what others think.
    • The practice of mindfulness -- keeping your attention on the present moment and observing your thoughts and feelings without judging them -- can help you achieve self-acceptance and can make it possible for you to examine opinions and values concerning nudity and your own body with a certain level of detachment.[6]
    • Keep reminding yourself that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just because some cultures and societies worship a certain body type doesn’t mean it’s the best one. Look at Peter Paul Rubens’ painting "The Three Graces" to see what a beautiful woman’s body looked like during the Renaissance.[7]
    • Look for inspiration from those who have succeeded in conquering fear. For example, consider the bravery of Jae West, an eating disorder survivor who stood outside in London in a bra and panties to encourage support for self-acceptance.[8]
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    Approach the problem rationally. Remember that self-criticism is the harshest kind of criticism. People are more worried about their own appearance than yours. Just because you think everyone is looking at you or making fun of you doesn’t mean they are.
    • Try to evaluate your body objectively. Figure out what you’re actually bothered by. Are you most embarrassed by your weight? Pale skin? Freckles? Scars? Sweating? Knowing specifically what makes you uncomfortable can help you figure out how to change the situation.
    • Don’t expect to look like a celebrity. Models and movie stars are are professionally obligated to live up to different standards. The ones whose pictures you see can also afford personal trainers, chefs, stylists, makeup artists, as well as top of the line skincare, exercise equipment, and food. Furthermore, many photos in magazines are airbrushed to make the person look better.
    • Keep in mind that you didn’t choose your genes. Many aspects of your appearance are determined by the genes you inherited from your parents.[9] Your genes also influence your propensity to gain or lose weight.[10] This doesn’t mean you should give up; but it does mean you need to accept that you need to work with what you have, and that you may not be able to change some things about your appearance (your height, for example).

Accepting Your Body

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    Be kind to yourself. Mentally beating yourself up for your perceived shortcomings doesn’t change anything and only makes you feel worse. Instead, identifying and focusing on your best features can help reduce stress.
    • To help focus on your best features, practice self-affirmation -- the process of transforming your thoughts to de-emphasize the negative and instead focus on the positive. Remind yourself at least once a day that you love yourself no matter what, that you have made the conscious decision to accept your body, and that you have made an active decision to reach your goal of becoming comfortable naked.
    • Acknowledge the vulnerability inherent in nudity. Exposing yourself -- literally and figuratively -- inherently makes you more vulnerable.[11] But psychologists argue that you must be willing to be vulnerable in order to open yourself up to new opportunities and experiences. Recognizing that vulnerability requires great courage can help boost your overall self-esteem and make it easier for you to allow yourself to be vulnerable in the future.[12]
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    Be naked more often. If you are uncomfortable or fearful of a situation such as being naked, you will tend to avoid it. This sets up a vicious cycle in which fear leads to avoidance which leads to more fear. Psychologists use exposure therapy -- gradual and systematic exposure to the situation or object you fear -- to treat people with phobias.[13] [14]
    • Research shows that acceptance-based exposure therapy can even help treat body dysmorphic disorder, a serious mental illness that causes you to obsess about the flaws in your appearance.[15]
    • Exposure therapy can involve imagining the feared situation, being exposed to the situation through virtual reality, and eventually in real life.[16]
    • Exposure therapy is a psychological treatment that should be supervised by a trained therapist. However, you can apply the basic principle -- that the more often you do something you fear without negative consequences, the less fearful you will become -- on your own.[17]
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    Ask a friend to help you identify your best features. You will find it easier to see the good points of someone else's body than it is to see your own good points. So will your friends. Instead of trying to identify your own best features, ask a friend what she thinks. [18]
    • Because this is such a sensitive topic, it may be best to wait for your friend to ask you to evaluate her before you reciprocate. Just because a friend is willing to help you feel more comfortable naked doesn’t mean that she is ready to do the same.
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    Emphasize health and fitness over appearance. Instead of focusing on your appearance, decide that you are going to strive for a higher level of health and fitness. This will make it easier to motivate yourself to exercise because you will be focusing on a positive goal (better health) rather than a negative goal (less weight).[19]
    • One way to shift your focus from appearance to health and fitness is to exercise with the goal of developing tangible physical skills. If you can do 10 inverted yoga push ups, you will feel pride in your body regardless of what it looks like.[20]

Changing Your Appearance

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    Exercise. People who exercise feel better about their appearance even if they don’t lose weight.[21]
    • Take baby steps. If you can’t bring yourself to turn off the TV and to go outside for a walk, at least stand up and walk in place for a few minutes in front of the TV. Any exercise is better than none at all. And once you develop the habit (which can take about two months), you can build on your success.
    • Do aerobic and strength training exercises. Both kinds of exercise can help burn fat and improve muscle tone.[22]
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    Modify your diet. Don’t go on a crash diet with the intention to lose weight fast. Instead, modify your eating habits. The latter approach will help you avoid feeling like you've failed (if you don’t lose weight as quickly as you would like). Cycles of losing and then gaining back weight have also been found to be unhealthy
    • When evaluating a weight loss plan, make sure it includes foods from all major food groups so you don’t miss out on essential nutrients.[23]
    • Make sure your weight loss plan fits your lifestyle and budget. If you can’t afford or find the foods you plan to eat in your local store, or if the plan requires a lot of cooking (and you don’t like to cook), you are less likely to reach your weight loss goal.[24]
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    Practice good personal hygiene and grooming. Maintain your appearance and feel more comfortable naked by taking care of your body. This includes bathing, trimming or removing body hair, and taking care of your skin, nails, and teeth.
    • Many cosmetic procedures are available to change your appearance, from spray tans to waxing to cosmetic surgery. Some of these procedures can have negative effects on your health (e.g. long term use of tanning booths), so make sure to learn about and weigh the potential risks if you choose to undergo one or more of these procedures.
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    Project confidence through body language. You can modify your appearance by altering the way you stand and how you carry yourself.
    • Stand up straight. This is the most effective way to communicate confidence[25] , and it can also affect how you body looks.
    • Although it may feel natural, especially if you’re naked, don’t cross your arms - others will perceive this as protecting yourself or being nervous. [26]

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