Have you heard of the practice of otonamaki or adult swaddling? It involves curling up into the foetal position and getting someone to wrap you up in a giant sheet. Once bound – even your head is covered – you are rolled from side to side. Essentially this is meant to make you feel secure and relaxed.
I have to admit I’m cynical. Have you seen photos of adult swaddling? It looks like Casper the Ghost has got into bondage. I believe there are other ways of feeling secure and at peace and I’ll get to those later, but first let’s learn a little more about this adult swaddling fad.
As well as making you feel secure, otonamaki is meant to lower your stress level, improve your posture and flexibility, and reduce pain. The practice is said to have begun two years ago in Japan. The BBC says a Japanese midwife, Nobuko Watanabe, wanted to reassure new parents that swaddling was safe for babies so she asked them to try it for themselves. They must have liked it because now people are turning to otonamaki to cure everything from bone pain to depression.
Reports from grown-up swaddlers are positive, but the medical community is not totally convinced, although some can see benefits. “Bringing your knees to your chest is a form of stretching – like many yoga positions – and there are some well-documented benefits associated with yoga,” says Dr Tiffany Field, a psychologist from the University of Miami. Dr Field says rocking back and forth is a type of self-massage, and so in theory could reduce stress hormones and anxiety. “It’s not clear to me what effect the wrapping would have, because you could pull up your knees and rock on your back without the swaddling,” Dr Field said. “I’m also not aware of any research that shows the foetal position is somehow comforting for adults.”
Ways to feel truly secure in yourself
I think this odd trend has taken off because adult swaddling might make people feel more secure and safe in a world that often feels anything but safe or secure. We are bombarded with reports of terrorism and crime. Do you feel secure? Or are you plagued by fears and doubts?
Believe in yourself
If you don’t feel good about yourself, it is difficult to feel good about the world. Respect yourself and believe in your virtues and strengths. You have the power to look after you. Make a list of your virtues then display it somewhere prominent at home. Ask friends and family to list your good points and regularly read the list. Never forget that you are worthwhile and precious.
Reach out for support
Everyone has moments of self-doubt and even self-loathing. When you are down, reach out to someone. Call an old friend or a family member who can remind you that you are worthy of love.
Don’t be afraid to seek professional health
Reaching out for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. If you have been plagued by ongoing insecurities, then seek some professional support. Your general practitioner can refer you to a counsellor or psychologist.
Join a community group or charity and get connected to community
It’s easy to believe we live in a dark, evil world – especially if you watch the nightly news. The reality is most people are kind and want to lead good lives. Get out there and get connected to your community. Volunteer to work at a soup kitchen, in an op shop or at an animal centre. You could also join a LandCare group and do some weeding with others once a month. You will make new friends and you are doing valuable work.
See a doctor if you are worried about your health
If you feel insecure because you have concerns about your health then address them. See a doctor! Basically you need to face your fears. If you are carrying extra weight, start that diet. If you are drinking too much join a support group to help you cut down. Also, ask your GP to give you a general check-up. You might be in better shape than you realise.
Take stock of your friendships and relationships
You will feel more secure if your relationships are in good shape. How are you getting along with your family and your life partner? Are there changes you need to make which will lead you to feel more secure? How are you communicating with the significant people in your life? Are you talking about what really matters? Are you spending quality time with the people you love? That will definitely help you feel more secure.
If you want a partner, get out there and start looking
Perhaps you feel lonely and would like a partner, well get on some dating websites and join some community groups. We are not compatible with everyone, but if you are meeting LOTS of people, then eventually you will meet the right person.
Take care of yourself … emotionally and physically
You need to meet your own needs, both emotionally and physically. You need to exercise, sleep well and eat right to feel good. You will be more inclined to feel down if you are abusing your body with a poor diet, no exercise and a lack of sleep. You are also more likely to feel depressed and insecure if you are not making time to do the things you like doing. Do not work long hours and subject yourself to constant stress. Take time out to walk in nature, see good friends, go to the movies and take holidays.
Silence your inner critic
If you are feeling insecure could it be that you are under constant attack – from yourself? Are you self-critical? Do you run a constant negative soundtrack in your head? You aren’t going to feel optimistic if your thoughts are constantly angry and sad. Monitor your thoughts. Any negative narratives must be ejected from your head. Think self-affirming positive thoughts to enhance your life.
ABOUT PAT MESITI
Pat Mesiti is a best-selling author, coach and educator in the area of personal development. Having built some of Australia’s largest people-driven organisations, Pat understands the power of harnessing human potential. He has shared the stage with some of the world’s great business minds and has sold over millions of copies of his books and materials.