Inside Out 2: Key Takeaways from a Coach for Working Parents

28 Jun, 2024 | 5 min

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On Sunday, I took my three kids to see Inside Out 2, and I wanted to share my key takeaways with you as a coach….

For those unfamiliar with the movie, it zooms into the inner workings of a young girl’s mind, focusing on her emotions and how they manage her thoughts.

Each emotion has a mission: maintaining joy, reducing fear and sadness, and keeping disgust in check. Together, they create a belief system that helps her navigate life.

In this sequel, the girl has grown into a teenager, introducing new emotions that weren’t as prominent during her childhood: anxiety, boredom, and envy. These emotions grow stronger as she faces friendship issues and environmental changes, driven by the desire to be accepted and succeed.

So in today’s post, I wanted to share my thoughts on this movie, as an executive coach for working parents.

Key Takeaways from Inside Out 2 as a Coach for Working Parents

Key Takeaways from Inside Out 2

We Cannot Control How We Feel

No matter how much we try not to feel something, emotions come up—whether we like it or not. Emotions trigger thoughts, not the other way around. As much as we try not to feel stress or anxiety by pushing those emotions away, these feelings will still appear in various ways.

In the movie, the girl even experiences her first panic attack when her anxiety spirals out of control.

When we try to bury unwanted thoughts, they will always pop one way or another. Some thoughts are passing, while others are here to stay. By choosing not to feed certain thoughts, they lose their significance.

There Are More Than 4-7 Emotions

While the movie highlights primary emotions like fear, disgust, and sadness, these are umbrella emotions. If we dig deeper, there are many sub emotions (that I guess we cannot develop in a Pixar movie), but they are all valid and have a space in our brain.

Often, the reason why we feel overwhelmed is because we feel too many of those unwanted emotions and not enough of the ones we would like to feel (peace/ joy/ acceptance, etc).

Our Behaviors Are Linked to Our Emotional State

Our emotional state directly influences our behavior. If we feel anxious, we project anxiety and will behave in an anxious way.

If we dive a little deeper, chances are that many more sub-emotions are attached to anxiety such as worry, agitated, fear, stress and so forth.

When we tackle our emotional state and remain curious about our triggers, we can reduce the intensity of these emotions.

For instance, acknowledging out loud, “I feel anxious,” can help validate and lower the charge of that emotion.

Next time you feel anxious about something, such as a big meeting or sporting event, try stating your emotion out oud, and see what happens.

Naming emotions and connecting with them helps reduce their intensity, changing our thoughts and behaviors in the process. Journaling about how we feel, as coach and mentor Sam Qurashi points out, can be more efficient than simply journaling. The main reason is that we have learnt to suppress how we feel over the years when actually we are meant to fully feel our emotions. Therefore, when we connect with feelings, we don’t just bring them up to stay, we release them to go. The reason why we feel too intensely is because we do not allow ourselves to feel.

Techniques like breathwork and visualization can aid in releasing emotional charges. There are some good meditations around that, please hit reply so that I can share one with you.

In Inside Out 2, the girl connects with her senses during a panic attack, focusing on what she can see, hear, touch, smell, and taste.

This shifts her focus from her mind to her body, helping her regain control. Connecting with our senses is a great tool that is used in CBT techniques for instance when it comes to insomnia or getting grounded when your mind is spiralling: 5,4,3,2,1 – 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 thing you can taste.

Inside Out 2: Key Takeaways from a Coach for Working Parents

Our Triggers Are Linked to Past Wounds

Our thoughts create belief systems tied to our emotions. When we feel “too” intensely about something, very often it is not the “something” the main root of the trigger but a wound that is woken up by the behaviour of someone, or what has been said about you. The trigger could be the lack of validation or something that bring a very strong emotional charge from the past.

Triggers often link back to past wounds. A specific noise, for example, might remind us of a hurtful experience. The fear we feel in response to the noise is not justified in the present but is connected to past trauma. By releasing the emotional charge, the thought becomes just a memory, not a trauma. The physicist Gabor Mate talks about it in a great detail over the years, he himself realised that certain reactions from how his son used to behave were disproportionate and linked to the fear of abandonment that he experienced as a child.

His latest book the myth of normal, brings a lot of those stories back for us to understand the difference between what has happened to us vs what has happened inside of us whilst the even happened to us.

Understanding the link between emotions, thoughts, and behaviors helps us manage our reactions. When we express the truth about our feelings and acknowledge triggers linked to past wounds, we can weaken the negative charge and replace it with positive emotions like peace and harmony.

(It would have been tricky to create those links as a pixar cartoon movie 😉)

Emotions, Thoughts, and Behaviors: The Tree Metaphor (Sam Qurashi)

Sam is one of my main inspiration and I am lucky enough to call him my coach and mentor.

This is how he describes emotions vs thoughts & behaviours:

Imagine emotions as the roots of a tree. The trunk represents our thoughts and the branches are our behaviors and beliefs. Chopping the trunk or the branches would not get rid of the tree. What gets rid of the tree is getting rid of the roots. This way, you can decide what tree to plant instead. If you consider the tree of anxiety, to get rid of is not by changing the thoughts or behaviours but by chopping the roots attached to the events that trigger too much anxiety within you!

Changing the emotional charge at the roots gets rid of the entire tree and creates space for a tree of your liking to come to life!

Final Thoughts

Inside Out 2 beautifully illustrates the complexity of emotions and their influence on our lives.

It serves as a reminder that acknowledging and managing our emotions is important for our mental and emotional health.

While a Pixar movie might not be able to capture every nuance, it sparks essential conversations about our emotional landscape.

I definitely recommend going to see it and discussing it with your children. 🤗

I’d love to hear your key takeaways from Inside Out 2!

Have you seen this movie? If so, what did you think? Reply to this post and tell me.

Inside Out 2 Key Takeaways from a Coach for Working Parents
Inside Out 2 Key Takeaways from a Coach for Working Parents

Career Mum Coach | ACC Executive Coach

Meet Tania!

With three energetic kids under six years old, I know what it’s like to have to juggle your career goals and desire to be a good mum. That’s why I’m so passionate about helping working mums manage your time in the best way, so you can spend quality time with your kids and still find the courage to go after what you want in life.

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