Every Monday features a tip, activity, inspiring quote or some other tidbit that helps boost your body image, whether directly or indirectly — and hopefully kick-starts the week on a positive note!

Got a tip for improving body image? Email me at mtartakovsky at gmail dot com, and I’ll be happy to feature it. I’d love to hear from you!

{via etsy}

Last Friday, we talked about how magnificent our bodies truly are. These facts came from Glenn Schiraldi’s book 10 Simple Solutions for Building Self-Esteem. As he writes, “The way we experience our body typically corresponds to the way we experience our core selves.”

So appreciating our bodies can help us appreciate ourselves as a whole. It can help us become more accepting and more positive. To essentially put down the whip and stop berating ourselves as much as we do.

Today, I’d like to share an activity that further helps you learn to appreciate your body. It involves just you and a mirror.

I know this might sound intimidating at first. But give it a try…gently. Instead of fixating on supposed flaws, be curious when looking at your reflection.

(I practiced being curious — instead of critical — last week when I was taking self-portraits for my photography e-course.)

In 10 Simple Solutions for Building Self-Esteem, Schiraldi, Ph.D, writes:

 As often as you can, stand briefly in front of a mirror or look directly at your body. Instead of noticing what’s wrong (such as a blemish, bags under your eyes, or wrinkles), notice what is right, what is working. Pay attention to your hair, your clean skin, your ability to stand and move, or the color of your eyes. You might consider the wonders [of your body]. If you are stumped, simply move your thumb around and notice the marvelous complexities and varied movements that are possible. Then expand your awareness to other marvels of the body, outside and in.

If negative thoughts still come up, try to accept them and get back to considering your amazing abilities or checking out your features with curiosity.

When I was looking at my reflection to take my self-portraits, I tried to be neutral about my features: Here’s my dad’s nose, my hazel eyes, my pale cheeks, my dark brown pony-tailed hair. If I started criticizing or staring a bit too long at my blemishes, I tried to bring myself back to simply being curious and to looking deeper into my own eyes, because, of course, there’s so much more there.

By the way, Deb Burgard, Ph.D, a psychologist and Health At Every Size expert, has another great body appreciation activity on her website.

How do you feel when looking in the mirror? Do you find this exercise helpful?