The Psychology Of Mirrors And “SELFIES”

“Wait! I have exercised very well, I have to take a selfie!”

We often hear this statement from most exercisers. Seemingly this statement is so simple and partly narcissistic, and we don’t pay so much attention to it.

What lies behind selfies from the gym?

Gyms and other similar institutions for exercising, have one more thing in common other than the purpose they are used for. Mirrors.


Occupying the highest percentage of the walls is not a coincidence and not about the taste of an interior designer.

The main reason is that they visually increase the space. When we feel that are exercising in a large space, the presence of several people creates the illusion that there is a larger number of people around us.

That feeling that with more people working on the same goal, awakens competitiveness, increases adrenaline and the chances for greater performance of the exercises are bigger.

In group activities (aerobics, pilates, zumba) the effect of mirrors is different.

The placement of the mirrors on the wall (often the entire wall at least on one side) helps instructors to observe everyone, and helps exercisers to observe instructors from several angles.

Mutual observation of trainers and exercisers creates a feeling of euphoria (a bit like when we’re at a concert), and it also increases motivation and performance.

Mirrors can also be frightening. Not everyone is a fan of their own reflection in the mirror, and this applies especially to beginners.

Although their purpose is to follow the routine and proper performance of the exercise, very often mirrors are a major obstacle to the novice.

selfie in the gym

The largest percentage of novice give up on their goal because the reflection in the mirror creates a feeling of guilt and self-judgment (this is particularly true in individuals with obesity).

Very often these people are focused on the mirror, not the current experience.

But how do mirrors serve as a motivator?

Their role of a motivator maybe isn’t so great at the beginning but by improving our physical form, it certainly increases.

The transformation of our body gives us the opportunity to see what we are capable of and how much we are willing to test our limits.

Thus the curiosity (that is our basic nature) is born, and we can follow our progress in the mirror. Here comes the game of selfies as a motivator.

gym selfie

We can see selfie photos of athletes, bodybuilders and dedicated “casual practitioners” on social media such as Instagram and Facebook every day.

For a large percentage of people, especially the passive ones, these photos are a great motivation to resist Snickers or Nutella for the first time.

Also, these photos are motivators for the people who stand before the mirror.

By taking photos, we captures a moment, our form and progress.

This particularly applies to those who devoted a lot of time to work on themselves. These photos become our personal photo diary of how our intent to “start from next Monday” became our routine, plan and purpose.