A Better Way To Look

Educators and Counselors

Exciting News!

Nancy L. Brown, PhD, Principal Investigator, Palo Alto Medical Foundation Research Institute conducted a pilot designed to evaluate the impact of an intervention using the How I Look Journal and How I Look Lesson Material. Results indicated that:

This diverse group of girls between the ages of 11 and 15 perceived that the How I Look intervention had an important impact on their lives. Analysis yielded some statistically significant change on the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale as well as statistically insignificant but promising results on perceived level of stress management, physical activity, interactions with parents, and perceived impact of the How I Look program. Further research with larger samples is underway.

How I Look Journal


by Molly and Nan Dellheim
160 pages, 8.5" x 8.5", B&W
For ages 10-14

A Self-esteem and wellness guide for girls ages 10-14

Topics were selected based on an extensive review of evidence-based programs and include:

  • Self-awareness: identity and relationships
  • Stress management
  • Factors that influence growth, body type and appearance
  • Health benefits of nutritional eating and physical activity
  • Media awareness
  • Body image
  • Self-talk
  • Empowering role models
The How I Look Journal can even capture the attention of the girl who is already so focused on celebrity, fashion, and the "thin ideal" that she believes "How I look is more important than who I am." Chapters that address body image, personal perceptions, and clothing can engage her and guide her to more realistic and attainable appearance goals that can improve body acceptance and help re-direct her focus.

Objective: Empower girls to:

  • Celebrate inner strengths and attributes
  • Manage stress
  • Make decisions about nutrition and exercise based on health rather than weight
  • Develop realistic expectations for growth and appearance
  • Think critically about media messages and the beauty ideal
  • Modify negative perceptions and attitudes
  • Improve body acceptance and self-confidence
  • Discover inspirational and empowering role models

Workbook alternative: Designed as an eleven chapter "journal" that includes:

  • Age-appropriate informational text covering each topic
  • Thought provoking journal prompts that integrate the readings
  • Inspirational quotes
  • Illustrations that normalize diversity
  • Journal entries from a caring “mentor”
  • Blank pages throughout for additional reflections or creative writing assignments
"Journaling is particularly beneficial for young women because it allows them to express, in a safe environment, what they are feeling. It helps to normalize feelings they would otherwise not express, enhancing self-knowledge."

Lizbeth J. Martin, Ph.D.
Past President, Mental Research Institute's Board of Directors
Vice President for Academic Affairs Holy Names University
See preview!

Who, What, When, Where, Why?

Who can use the How I Look Journal?

  • Middle school counselors
  • Middle school teachers
  • After school staff
  • Middle school girls
  • High school mentors
  • Cadet Girl Scout troop leaders

What do they use?

Counselors tend to select How I Look Journal topics to generate individual or group discussions and appreciate its adaptability for groups with differing needs.

Teachers and afterschool staff prefer using the How I Look Journal with How I Look Lesson Materials (see details below) or on its own as a way to enrich the lessons they are already teaching.

Middle and high school girls who have completed the How I Look Journal have created activities to mentor younger middle school girls.

High school mentors have been trained to work with peers or younger girls using the Adapted How I Look Lesson Materials (see below).

Cadet Girl Scout Troop leaders have used the How I Look Journal and How I Look Lesson Materials to fulfill interest group projects. One troop then created a day-long workshop for younger cadets to fulfill requirements for their silver awards.

When can the How I Look Journal be used?

Age-appropriate for grades 6-9

Where can the How I Look Journal be used?

  • Social and Emotional Learning classes
  • Advisory
  • Lunchtime Girl Discussion groups
  • Electives
  • Health, PE or Fitness and Wellness classes
  • After school programs
  • High school clubs
  • Cadet girl scout troop meetings

Why should I use the How I Look Journal?

  • Flexible: You can decide how to use the How I Look Journal; there is no prescribed approach!
  • Practical: Time constraints during and after school often compromise a teacher's ability to cover these topics thoroughly. The How I Look Journal was created as a practical anecdote to this problem. Girls can continue their learning outside the classroom with their personal copy of the How I Look Journal. Focus groups have confirmed that girls can and will use the How I Look Journal independently.
  • Adaptable: The How I Look Journal includes topics covered in many existing self-esteem and wellness curricula. If you are already teaching lessons that cover this material, the How I Look Journal can reinforce class lectures and enhance comprehension.
  • Continuity: The How I Look Journal provides continuity when lesson material is divided up over multiple years. (One school counselor preferred to teach 4 lessons per year during 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, thereby minimizing the number of single-sex classes in her co-ed school.) We can provide assistance on multi-year program-design.