My last post focused on emotional hygiene or emotional first aid. I discussed briefly about how I feel like we are not often taught any emotional hygiene when we are growing up or even through adulthood. We may just process through experiences and not really pay attention to what we are always doing to get through those experiences, we just do ultimately what makes us feel better. Those could be very positive coping skills or negative/maladaptive coping skills, but our instinct is usually just to make ourselves feel better. I want to touch on some of the things that I think can open us up to practicing emotional first aid and emotional understanding at any age.
One of my favorite movies of all time, especially as a mental health professional is Inside Out. I know what you might be thinking, ‘that’s a kids movie, what could really be so profound that she would call it her favorite’. Let me just tell you, this movie is brilliant. There are not many other words to describe it. It does a great job helping people understand mental and emotional development when it comes to how emotions are born and how our brain and personalities form.
The movie is simple. You can start helping children recognize their feelings by relating it to the different characters.You can start understanding how emotions might advance as you go through the different stages of adolescents into adulthood. Inside Out also touches on( and brilliantly illustrates) that sometimes you experience not just one emotion at a time, you may experience a myriad or multiple emotions at once. Also, it touches on how emotions evolve. Some emotions might bring one emotion(s) at the time of the experience and bring another emotion(s) when looked back upon.
If you have children, the movie can also be a great place to start with learning and identifying emotions. All emotions are vital, even if they sometimes cause pain or discomfort. Inside Out can open us up to the importance of emotion validation in adolescence. As adults we might think that a feeling that a child or teenager is having is over exaggerated (adults as well), but that is what they are feeling. We are not in a place to tell them not to feel and it’s important to give them a place where they can have those feelings. It is a great opportunity to start talking about how to express and manage feelings in certain situations. Again, I want to emphasize that others feelings are not your own and you cannot tell someone what they are feeling or how they should be feeling and vise versa. You feel your feelings no one else. In the movie the main character thinks she is supposed to feel a certain way and fights all the other emotions until it becomes too overwhelming for her and starts losing parts of herself. I will do some future posts about how identifying emotions and validation might look in your day to day lives and the benefits, but you have to watch the movie first to get a better understanding.
Lets just say that this movie touches on so much. In my opinion, Inside Out is hyper relevant because it starts the conversation about developing brain function, memory, dreams, emotions, imagination, personality and so much more. Everytime you watch it you might see something you didn’t see before that might not make sense to a kid , but it totally blows your mind when you understand and apply it as an adult. I challenge you to watch it and find 3 things that you didn’t know about your brain and personality development.
Here is a brief introduction to the movie:
Its available to buy (renting is available too, but you will want to watch it over and over) at numerous retailers and is also available for streaming on Disney+.