Mirrors have always been a part of my life. When I was a little girl, mirrors were a source of amusement and delight. As I grew older, the mirror became an exacting critic for me to appease as I compared my image with those of women in fashion magazines. One day, I caught a glimpse of my face in the mirror and was shocked by how sad and distressed I looked – I hadn’t even realized I felt that way. I had been cultivating an image of myself that was pleasing to other people, and in the process, had lost touch with part of myself. I began to take time to gaze at my reflection to get in touch with my feelings. I found a way to look past the imperfections in my appearance to look deeper into my own eyes with compassion.
As motivational psychologist, I was curious about how this mirror meditation might benefit others. I began facilitating mirror meditation sessions through video conference calls and was amazed by the transformative power of this simple technique. At first, people seemed very awkward and self-conscious; their faces were tense and their eyes harsh and critical as they looked at themselves, adjusting this and that. Then as we talked and shared what they were experiencing, I gently guided them to look more deeply at themselves – beyond surface appearance and stories about their appearance.
The transformations I witnessed in the individual sessions led me to conduct controlled research studies. In the first study, fifty participants look at their image in the mirror for ten minutes in eight sessions over a two-week period. They reported significant reductions in stress, anxiety and depression – as well as increases in self-compassion.
The results are clear: Mirror Meditation is a simple technique that has the power to change how you feel about yourself and your life. It’s an easy way to calm and center yourself, go beneath self-judgments and daily distractions, and discover your innate sense of self-love. From there, you can create the life your most desire for yourself and those who matter most to you.