Feeling Blue? Look Inside: “Inside Out 2”

Feeling Blue? Look Inside: “Inside Out 2” June 14, 2024

New Emotion: Anxiety Image courtesy of © 2024 Disney/Pixar.

I loved the movie. We have been waiting for months. My son just stepped into his teenage years and it helped him to understand emotions. Emotions play an important part in our lives, but the most important thing is learning how to deal with them.

Just like Riley’s emotional headquarters in “Inside Out 2,” our own minds are a constant dance of emotions. Pixar’s delightful film “Inside Out 2” throws a whole new wrench into the emotional mix – Anxiety in Riley’s mind. This quirky orange ball of worry isn’t just there to be the villain. He shakes things up, revealing a fascinating new approach to how we experience emotions.

Fear’s constant worry and Anger’s fiery outbursts can easily create a recipe for anxiety. Joy’s world is being turned upside down. No longer the undisputed queen, she has to share the control panel with a jittery newcomer constantly fretting about tests, friendships, and that ever-present feeling of impending doom. He represents the constant hum of “what-ifs” and worries that bloom during those teenage years.

Growing Up Means Growing Emotions

Do you remember the knot in your stomach before a big test or a paralyzing fear of asking out your crush? Anxiety personifies those very real teenage emotions. The film explores the complexity of adolescence, where new emotions like self-doubt and worry take centre stage.

But here’s the twist: Anxiety isn’t the enemy. The arrival of Anxiety signifies that Riley’s emotional world is expanding. It’s not just sunshine and rainbows anymore. That orange ball is not there to replace Joy, but rather to add a layer of complexity. Just like in real life, our emotions aren’t black and white. Anxiety can be a helpful guide, keeping us alert preparing us for challenges and preventing us from making reckless decisions. However, anxiety can cloud our judgment and project negative scenarios that won’t let us sleep. Riley was unable to sleep by thinking that she was a bad or incapable person. Riley’s mind painted a picture of everything going wrong the next day, making her feel failure before she even tried.

The film explores this nuance, challenging the idea that all emotions need to be happy and carefree. It doesn’t demonize any emotion. It shows how even the “negative” ones play a role in shaping who we are. Fear might make us take a step back, but it also keeps us safe. Sadness might bring us down, but it allows us to process loss and empathize with others. Riley did not avoid the scary situation due to fear but practiced deep breathing to calm her anxiety and took small steps to face the challenges.

Memories Shape Us, But We Can Choose Our Path

The film talked about the belief system: memories create beliefs, and those beliefs influence our sense of self. We learn from mistakes and giving up is not the solution. Imagine your beliefs as a grand mosaic artwork. Each memory, big or small, is a unique tile. A triumphant victory on the soccer field, a comforting hug from a parent after a scrape, or even a moment of overcoming shyness – these all become tiles in the mosaic. Over time, as we accumulate experiences, the mosaic takes shape, forming a picture of who we believe ourselves to be.

Positive experiences create a mosaic of strength and competence, while negative ones can leave cracks of self-doubt. But by learning and reframing these memories, we can prevent them from defining us. Ultimately, our mosaic is constantly evolving, shaped by new experiences and our choices in processing the past.

Skylight.org’s Offerings for Emotional Well-being

In a collaboration with Patheos, Skylight.org asked me to look at Inside Out 2  with their offerings in mind. While Inside Out 2 offers a playful exploration of emotions, Skylight.org focuses on providing practical tools to manage them.

Therapeutic Support: Skylight provides access to licensed therapists who specialize in various areas of mental health, including anxiety and depression. Through therapy, individuals can explore the root causes of their emotions and develop coping strategies.

Mindfulness and Meditation Programs: Skylight offers mindfulness and meditation programs that align with the practices advocated in Hinduism. These programs help individuals cultivate present-moment awareness and develop techniques to manage stress and anxiety.

Workshops and Resources: Skylight’s workshops and resources provide practical tools and techniques for managing emotions. Topics include stress management, emotional intelligence, and building resilience, all of which contribute to overall emotional well-being.

Hinduism’s Perspective on Emotions and Mental Wellness

Anxiety (Chinta) and Inner Peace (Shanti): Hindu scriptures teach that anxiety (Chinta) arises from attachment and fear of the unknown. The Bhagavad Gita advises focusing on the present moment and performing one’s duties without attachment to the outcome. This approach can help alleviate anxiety. Practicing meditation (Dhyana) and mindfulness can lead to inner peace (Shanti), providing a sense of calm and clarity.

Self-Awareness (Atma-bodha) and Emotional Intelligence: The concept of self-awareness (Atma-bodha) in Hinduism emphasizes understanding one’s true self beyond the mind and emotions. By cultivating self-awareness, individuals can better manage their emotions and reactions, achieving a balanced state of mind.

Emotional Balance (Samatva) and Equanimity: The Bhagavad Gita teaches the importance of maintaining equanimity (Samatva) in the face of life’s ups and downs. By developing emotional balance, individuals can navigate their emotions more effectively, leading to greater resilience and well-being.

Integrating Modern Solutions with Timeless Wisdom

By combining the insights from “Inside Out 2,” the teachings of Hinduism, and the modern solutions offered by Skylight, individuals can gain a comprehensive understanding of their emotions and learn effective ways to manage them. The film’s portrayal of emotions like Anxiety serves as a reminder that experiencing a range of emotions is a natural part of being human. By embracing these emotions and utilizing the tools available, individuals can achieve a balanced and fulfilling life.

To find out more about how faith and wellness go hand in hand check out this study sponsored by Skylight.

Inside Out 2 not only provides an entertaining and thought-provoking exploration of emotions but also opens the door to deeper understanding and acceptance of our emotional experiences.  Skylight provides tools to manage those emotions, while a Hindu perspective adds a layer of spiritual understanding about achieving inner balance. By combining these approaches, we can navigate life’s ups and downs with greater awareness and resilience.


Browse Our Archives