Emotions: The Mystery Explained Well by Pixar



Oh yes, that confusing built in language that we have, where sometimes trying to understand the message can even seem overwhelming!

Flying from Toronto to Calgary this week, I was able to watch a film as I was held captive gloriously without access to the constant expectations that connected technology can bring. Yes, even I need a break from social media to allow creativity and inspiration to manifest 😉 I was able to have the time to sit and enjoy a inflight film; a film that I am really impressed with. So today I wanted to write about the Pixar film, Inside Out, because it is a wonderful depiction of the emotional experience of human beings.

What I prescribe to you, today, is the following:

…carve out some time, put on something comfy, grab a bevy of your choosing and hunker down and watch this film. It is an experience wrapped up in an education distilled down to a level that removes part of the mystery of emotions.

So, I haven’t sold you yet??!

Check out the trailer…

Aside from the awesome dialogue, this film is filled with fantastic explanations as to why new learning, counselling, human connection and understanding the language of emotions is so empowering.

“All right! We did not die today, I call that an unqualified success!” — Fear

Here are some of my highlights:

  • Feeling better may involve allowing “Joy” to drag you around your long term memory (positive experience recall).
  • “When Riley doesn’t care about a memory it fades”. The importance of fostering and taking care of our positive experience and not succumbing to the negative filter (CBT Blog Post).
  • “Sadness” having a purpose and function; bringing friends and family closer for support in a difficult time.
  • “Anger” has a function: opening the glass to the control centre to let joy back in. Sometimes we need to be angry as a protection until we are ready to deal with more difficult emotional experiences or face change/challenge.
  • You have to see the puberty clips at the end of this film! Hilarious! “what are we mad about?”, “Do you think they can see through us?”, “I feel like a fraud”.
  • “Islands” as facets of identity: Honesty Island, Family Island, Boyband Island, Imagination Land (Imaginary Boyfriend is from Canada!), etc.


Seriously, watch it! At least it is 90 minutes of entertainment, self-care and stress management 🙂

Brain Nerd

I wasn’t going to get all PsychNerdy on you today, but I have a serious addiction to sharing all the cool psychology stuff that can help enhance your life 😉

This will be quick. Did you know that depressive symptoms have an evolutionary function, intended to help you? Sounds weird, I know, but researchers, Keller and Nesse (2006), wrote a pretty great article about this topic.


The Evolutionary Significance of Depressive Symptoms: Different Adverse Situations Lead to Different Depressive Symptom Patterns (Click Here for full article you wonderful PsychNerds!)


  • Rumination, or the obsessive replaying of negative events, feelings, and implications of those feelings, is a common experience with depression. The researchers, hypothesize that rumination aids in understanding the causes and consequences of the adverse situations to avoid such situations in the future and to reconsider strategies and goals themselves.
  • Anxiety is a painful state of uneasiness or nervousness about possible future losses. Anxiety promotes wariness and hyper-vigilance, particularly toward potential threats, and so should be adaptive in threatening situations.
  • Crying, like many emotional signals, is expressed via configurations of facial musculature and vocal behaviors, and it elicits specific reactions in others, in this case, empathy and comforting behaviors. It seems likely therefore that crying requests and secures aid. Crying appears to strengthen social bonds.

Inside Out

Your emotions are communicating to you, learn the language, figure out their functions and you just may find that you are able to manage your own stress levels much better. It is okay to be sad, the work is in not letting it derail your whole life. Joy


be-good-to-youDr. Heather Drummond, C.Psych.

Psychologist|Meditation Teacher|Passionate Advocate for Human Flourishing

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination”. Carl Rogers


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