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Emotions Matter

If you haven’t seen the film Inside Out, then I would definitely recommend you take a look! Just ensure you have a box of tissues at the ready! The great thing about this film is that it seemed to move people, both young and old, to look inside their own minds and explore their reactions and feelings to everyday situations.

The film features the characters of Joy, Sadness, Anxiety, Fear and Disgust, who all make up the core function of an 11-year-old girl called Riley. These characters help her to navigate the world she lives in. Once Riley experiences something, that memory is categorised by the colour of emotion experienced and sent to the “Brain’s Control Centre” as a core memory. Joy spends the majority of the film trying to ensure every core memory is a yellow one because she believes that by only having happy core memories will help Riley to develop well.

Joy tried to ensure that Sadness was not allowed anywhere near the “Control Centre” by drawing a circle on the floor and making sure that Sadness never left it. Joy was doing what a lot of us attempt to do, containing our discomfort so it cannot interfere with our lives. Joy could not see the value in Sadness at all – neither her presence nor her tendency to turn the core memories blue.

There is a particular part of the movie, in which Riley’s forgotten imaginary friend Bing Bong loses his magical wagon to the “Forgotten Zone”. This is the moment of realisation, that he too, will be forgotten forever. Bing Bong feels heartbroken and Joy leaps in to distract Bing Bong and try to reframe the moment into a positive one. However Joy is ignored and doesn’t understand why.

Enter Sadness. Sadness sits quietly next to Bing Bong, listens and lets him cry. This subtle, empathetic response allows Bing Bong to show his sadness freely, recover and move forward. Sadness shows us that by allowing ourselves to acknowledge when we feel sad, it can help us open up and explore the reasons why we feel sad, feel validation and know that someone cares for us.

Once Joy saw how Bing Bong was able to express how he felt and begin to heal, she discovered the unique way in which Sadness can really help our metal wellbeing. The really hard take home message here… we do not need to experience Joy all the time. In fact, it often takes all of our emotions working together to bring healing.

By mindfully accepting sadness as something that is ok to experience, it can help us with emotional challenges that we face throughout life. Learning to overcome these feelings will build courage, resilience and an ability to empathise with others. Life can be hard and the situations we find ourselves in can be heartbreaking. If you would like support to help build courage, resilience and develop better emotional health then please contact Kate to arrange an appointment.

In the film, it was Joy that kept trying to run Riley’s brain – but for us, it could be any one of our core emotions. Having a well-balanced emotional palate is important to our mental health. Sometimes we try to suppress emotions for what seem like good reasons at the time, but they are all vital to our wellbeing, so don’t be scared of them. Allow yourself to have all your feelings validated and heard because our emotions matter.

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