The High Five Experiment

Last week I finished reading Mel Robbins’ book, “The High Five Habit.” Truthfully, I listened to it on Audible because I’m finding it hard right now to sit down and read. Anyone else?

The central idea of the book is to physically high-five yourself every morning in your bathroom mirror. I’m gonna be real with you; my first thought was, “Oh, brother…this sounds ridiculous.”

But Mel (can I call her Mel?) provides several anecdotes and a whole bunch of research into why this simple act helps you re-wire your brain and help build a better relationship with yourself. And she starts with this…

“No matter where you are, what you’re facing, or how little or much you have, you still have you. That’s why it’s important to have your own back. …(what) a high-five gives you is priceless, a moment of validation. That high-five is proof you’re still standing, still smiling, and that no matter what happens today, YOU have your own back.”

~ Mel Robbins, Chapter 2 – The High 5 Habit.

One of the ideas she shares is that because we’ve generally had a very positive association with high-fiving other people when we high-five ourselves in the mirror, it’s impossible to talk negatively about ourselves at the same time.

Whenever she tried to say something like, your hair is messed up, or your fat, or you’ve got a flabby belly she would end up laughing because of the incongruency of the celebratory action and the conflicting language. The action takes precedence.

I tested this theory out, and sure enough, I, too, had a hard time saying anything negative. I just didn’t buy it while I was high-fiving myself.

She also talks about how purposefully high-fiving yourself in the mirror snaps you into the present moment. Intentionally putting your hand up, palming the mirror, and looking at yourself is such a new and novel action that your brain pays attention to it. It’s right here in the moment with you, allowing you to shut off the usual train of worry or anxiety.

I’m continuing with experimenting with this habit, and while at first I was rolling my eyes, I’ve now come to appreciate those brief moments of having my own back and telling myself, “You got this, Deanna. You can do it.”

And you know what? I believe I do.

I’d love to hear from you if you’re willing to experiment with this for the next five days. I mean, just see what happens. Nothing is going to change until you change the things you do.