Try This Science-Backed Method To Improve Self-Esteem & Confidence

mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant By Sarah Regan
mindbodygreen Editorial Assistant

Sarah Regan is a writer, registered yoga instructor, and Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

New Study Finds A Simple Science-Backed Way To Boost Confidence

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At one point or another, you're bound to deal with some self-esteem issues. It's a part of being human.

And as one new study on women discovered, the self-esteem struggle can manifest as a lot of different harmful behaviors. Take mirror-checking, for example; while looking in the mirror is hard to avoid entirely, having a preoccupation with constantly checking your appearance is a sign something bigger is going on.

But where certain behaviors point to low self-esteem, limiting them can have the opposite effect, boosting it. And it starts with not checking the mirror.

Self-sabotaging your self-esteem.

Researchers at Florida State University were first able to identify different behaviors displayed by participants that were linked to appearance.

These behaviors include but aren't limited to examining your skin, hair, upper and lower body, covering up or camouflaging part of yourself, asking for others to comment on your appearance, and comparing yourself to others. Many of these behaviors fall under "mirror-checking," or "mirror gazing" and can have negative implications on one's mental health.

Researchers wanted to know how changing that behavior could affect self-esteem.

After two weeks, they found the women who limited checking and fixing themselves had significantly reduced concern for their appearance.

"We looked at the impact that reducing these behaviors had on broad appearance concerns," said leader of the study Natalie Wilver. "What we found was that, compared to a group that was not asked to change their behavior, limiting these behaviors lowered appearance concerns, body dissatisfaction, depression, social anxiety, and maladaptive beliefs about appearance."

Jesse Cougle Ph.D., FSU associate professor of psychology and co-author of the study, agrees the findings hold promise: "It could reach a lot of people for little to no cost and be helpful to a substantial number of women."

The study's findings suggest a few small changes in your day-to-day may improve your self-esteem and help if you have concerns about your appearance.

While the study was exclusive to women, Cougle notes, "These behaviors are also likely important in men with appearance concerns.”


Give your self-esteem a boost.

No matter where you are in your self-esteem journey, it may be time to think about your relationship with your appearance.

In the study, to get participants to cut back on the mirror checking, researchers sent text messages every day to the women, reminding them to limit mirror time and thoughts of comparison. This just so happens to be an incredibly easy thing to replicate with a reminder app or calendar integration on your smartphone.

Could improving self-esteem really be as easy as setting a daily reminder to limit mirror-checking? This study says it's worth a shot.


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