I learned about mirror work a few years ago after discovering the book about it by self-help pioneer Louise Hay. Soon after, it became my go-to self-love practice—and for good reason. “Mirror work is a unique, new age type of practice where you meet your reflection in the mirror and send yourself loving, self-affirming affirmations, and even open up a conversation with yourself as if you’re speaking with a dear friend,” says empowerment coach and astrologer Natalia Benson. “It’s about getting to know yourself so you can face your life with courage as an aligned and self-aware human being.”
Research of neural activity supports the hypothesis that speaking positive affirmations can have a positive effect on self-perception. So it makes sense, then, that adding a mirror into the mix would only elevate the practice. Theories rooted in psychology and neuroscience also point to mirrors aiding in self-development, shifting the way you see yourself, and grounding you in your body.
“[Mirror work] is about getting to know yourself so you can face your life with courage as an aligned and self-aware human being.” —empowerment coach Natalia Benson
Other potential benefits of mirror work? An increased sense of self-confidence, inner peace, and a deeper sense of trust in yourself and your life. “You’ll notice it’s easier to have tough conversations, like asking for a raise, firing someone, asking someone on a date, etc., because you’re no longer avoiding yourself and your inner power,” Benson says.
Into it? Below find Benson’s step-by-step guide for learning practice mirror work. Get ready to level up your self-love practice.
Your 3-step guide for mastering you mirror work practice, below.
1. Grab a handheld mirror
Benson suggests using a handheld mirror because it’s allows getting up close and personal with yourself to be a whole lot easier. If you’re in a pinch, though, a bathroom mirror or any stationary one will work just fine, too. Just make sure you’re somewhere where you won’t be disturbed.
2. Hold your gaze
Start by making eye contact with yourself in the mirror. This may feel a bit odd and uncomfortable at first, but just roll with it. The key is to witness yourself without judgment. “So often, we look at ourselves in the mirror and we judge, primp, get ready, etc. But, do we really ever just simply stand there and hold our own essence? Not really,” Benson says. “Hold eye contact and send yourself love. Have a laugh if you feel like it. That’s okay. It’s totally a part of the practice.”
3. Say empowering affirmations out loud
Finally, begin to say some of your favorite affirmations out loud or just have a conversation with yourself. Say whatever makes you feel really good. Benson recommends also squeezing in some compliments to yourself, especially ones you’ve been wanting to hear from other people. “If this universe is a mirror, the way you treat yourself is the way you’ll often witness other people treating you,” she says. “Do it with yourself first. If emotions come up, that is good.”
That said, if you’ve given mirror work a go, and didn’t feel much different afterward, Benson says not to worry and be patient. “Just be willing to be vulnerable, and do it once a week or daily,” she says. “This simple practice can be remarkably transformative if you allow it to impact you.”
Is meditation more your speed regarding self-love mindfulness practices? If so, you’d probably be interested to know about the Wave, a techy meditation innovation. Also, this meditation mistake might be derailing your whole practice.
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