patronestaff/Shutterstock
Source: patronestaff/Shutterstock

It’s common to check ourselves out in the mirror before we go out in public, especially if we’re on our way to an important meeting for work or a social event in which we have a strong desire to make a great impression. The mirror can be more helpful than you think! Here are eight surprising ways to get the most of out of your mirror checking experience.

1. Spinach check.  Scrutinizing our appearance before we go out in public is perhaps the most common way to use the mirror. You’ve probably had the experience of being totally distracted by a large green speck in someone’s smile—wondering whether to mention it or not. Or worst yet, finding the defending object in your own smile after an important encounter!  If only you had taken the time to look in the mirror.

2. Posture check.  Our posture gives others cues on how to treat us. Research shows that slumped with shoulders forward  (that is, typical phone-checking posture) can signal submissiveness, while standing erect with shoulders back gives off a dominant vibe. Your posture may also affect how you feel about yourself in the context of this important meeting. Use the mirror to change your posture and see how it feels.

3. Breath check.  Not a breath mint (!) I’m talking about the quality of your breathing. If you’re a little nervous, you’re probably holding your breath or breathing shallowly. Use the mirror to notice your breathing and see if you can breathe down into your diaphragm—it will calm you. Research finds that deep breathing stimulates the vagus nerve which reduces anxiety.

4. Attitude check.  Sometimes the vibe you think you are giving off it different from the vibe we are actually projecting. Since over 55 percent of emotions are conveyed non-verbally, take a look at how you are showing up. Be honest with yourself. Dreading the meeting? Ecstatic about this new encounter?  Knowing how you feel and what you’re projecting can give you leverage.

5. Hope check.  Sometimes we don’t want to pay too much attention to what we most desire because we think it’d be too disappointing to not get it. Actually the opposite is true. Knowing what you want and owning that desire gives you clarity and positive intention to go for it. So look into your eyes. What are your highest hopes for the meeting?  Let yourself know and feel them.

6. Fear check.  Rehearsing worst case scenarios can create necessary stress. Yet, trying to ignore or suppress your fears can actually give them more power over you. If fear is coming up for you, take a bit of time to simply acknowledge that you are afraid—let your breathing calm you.

7. Self-compassion check. Look into your eyes and acknowledge how hard you try and how much you want to succeed and to be happy. If you’re self-critical, shift your focus from the person you’re criticizing to seeing into the eyes of the person who is receiving those harsh judgments. Be on your own side. Have your own back.

8. Reality check.  Look into your eyes and ask yourself, “What do I really, really, really want from this encounter?” Not what you’re supposed to want but what you REALLY want.  And then, look again into your eyes and consider are you prepared to receive it?

Want to find out more about using the mirror to help you understand yourself and how others perceive you?  Visit The Clear Mirror and learn about the mirror meditation that reduces stress and increases compassionate self-awareness.

You’re invited to join my Facebook Group to discuss this blog and get more tips on developing self-awareness and compassion for happiness and success. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for updates, and try the 7-day Mirror Meditation Challenge delivered daily to your inbox.

Copyright Tara Well, 2017, all rights reserved.

References

Cuddy, A (2015). Presence. Little, Brown and Company.

Garland, E.L., Gaylord, S.A. & Fredrickson, B.L. (2011). Positive Reappraisal Mediates the Stress-Reductive Effects of Mindfulness: An Upward Spiral Process. Mindfulness, 2, 59-67.

Jerath, R., et al., (2015) Self-Regulation of Breathing as a Primary Treatment for Anxiety. Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, 4, 107–115.

Neff, Kristin (2011). Self-Compassion. Harper-Collins.

Seppala, E. (2017). The Scientific Benefits of Breathing. Infographic. The Science of Happiness, Health and Success.

Tracy, J.L,  Randles, D, & Steckler, C. M. (2015). The Nonverbal Communication of Emotions. Behavioral Sciences, 3, 25-30.

Well, T. (2017). Dealing with Disappointment. Psychology Today.

Well, T., et al. (2016). The Benefits of Mirror Meditation. Paper presented at the American Psychological Association Convention in Denver, CO.

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