Avoid the mirror, to check self-obsession

Avoid the mirror, to check self-obsession

A new trend of “mirror-fasting” which includes abstaining from looking at your reflection for a month to a year can stop you from obsessing over your looks, a team of US bloggers have claimed.

The trend started in the US when bloggers such as Autumn Whitefield-Madrano, a 36-year-old freelance writer based in Queens, New York, launched a blog on mirror fasting, the Guardian reported.

“I’d become aware that I had a ‘mirror face’. Whenever I saw my reflection I’d open my eyes a little wider, suck in my cheeks a little and tip my chin down in an effort to make myself look more like I wanted to. It made me feel really vain,” she was quoted as saying by the paper.

She embarked on her first month-long mirror fast in May 2011, in an effort to become less self-conscious about her face.

“I didn’t want to do it because I felt bad about myself per se – I was just concerned about how often I was thinking about my appearance. I wanted to see how much my mood was affected by the way I perceived my looks,” she said.

At the end of the experiment, she reported feeling “calmer and more serene”, although she admits her second month-long fast in July 2011 was more challenging. She has now made mirror-fasting an annual event.

Her fellow blogger, Kjerstin Gruys, a 29-year-old sociology graduate in San Francisco, mirror-fasted for 12 months in the runup to her wedding.

She said shopping for her wedding dress “triggered a renewed – and very unwelcome – sense of vain insecurity” about her appearance.

“I felt ill at ease when reflecting on the dress situation. Was all that really necessary? Did my happiness over the dress outweigh the self-centred obsessing I had gone through to get it?” she wrote on her blog.

A study, published in the journal Behaviour Research and Therapy earlier this year, found that British women stare in the mirror around 38 times every day and men 18 times a day.

Dr Phillippa Diedrichs, a research psychologist at the Centre for Appearance Research in Bristol however believes that “mirror-fasting” would not have a long-term positive impact on body image.

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