Last week, we sat down with accredited trauma psychotherapist Lauren Baird to discuss the difference between body neutrality and body positivity. This week we discuss how we can use joy and self-compassion to take on our inner critic. 

As part of our Perfect for Me campaign Lauren provides us with tips and hacks to help us rebalance and regain perspective towards our body.


finding joy

"People often think they can find joy if they shrink themselves (e.g. lose weight) but actually true joy comes from finding the things that feel really good to your body and that bring you a sense of purpose and happiness. This could be dancing, yoga or moving in a way that feels good to you."


Small moments of joy, like laughing with loved ones or cuddling a pet, activates our parasympathetic nervous system and releases dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine has been associated with reward and pleasure seeking and is known as the 'motivation molecule'. Serotonin is associated with mood regulation and is best known for eliciting feelings of happiness.1


your inner critic

"There are over 3000 studies worldwide relating to self-compassion and the benefits it has on both our mental and physical health. Being self-critical towards our body leads to greater levels of body dissatisfaction, self-hatred, and low self-esteem and activates the sympathetic nervous system, our fight or flight response. This increases cortisol in our bodies, which can lead to stress and inflammation impacting both our mental and physical health."


practice self-compassion

"Great relief can come from simply affirming that you are experiencing suffering, a difficult but natural part of life, and stating your intention to be kind, patient, or accepting of yourself."

Acknowledge when you're suffering or being self-critical and take a moment to follow this simple self-compassion practice.


become a joy detective

Here, Lauren tells us how to hardwire joyful memories by activating our parasympathetic nervous system and hunting for glimmers.

[1] Hasin, D., Pampori, Z. A., Aarif, O., Bhat, I. A., Bulbul, K. H., & Sheikh, A. A. (2018). Happy hormones and their significance in animals and man. International Journal of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry, 100(5).

[2] Dana, Deb. (2020). Polyvagal Exercises for Safety and Connection.