yes, therapy helps!
Inside Out and the principles of Mindfulness

Inside Out and the principles of Mindfulness

June 12, 2024

Today I would like to use a fantastic film about emotional intelligence to explain the importance of one of the keys of Mindfulness and its importance in our life: acceptance (Hoffman and Asmundson, 2008). As many of you will have heard, there are 6 basic emotions (Ekman, 1992). These are Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, Surprise, Fear.

All these emotions have an important bearing on the development of the story of the movie Inside Out, with the exception of Surprise, which was not finally added as a character in the story. These characters go into the mental world and give an animated explanation and quite close to reality, on various aspects studied in psychology. Let us focus, in this article, on the emotional issue.


  • Related article: "What is Mindfulness? The 7 answers to your questions"

Positive and negative emotions

We tend to consider emotions as positive or negative depending on the effect produced on us, welfare or discomfort. In this way, we tend to obviate negative emotions and go out in search of positive ones constantly.

This is something that we can see in our day to day. With just one click, with touching our mobile phone, we enter the world of any social network where everything that appears is perfect. And we begin to have that feeling, which becomes a necessity, to live all the moments that people around us live (or our list of followed).


That is, although obviously this also happened before, the need to live positive emotions that we have in the Western world today is much stronger, even, one could say that it is almost a social imposition ... Or, how many times have you heard that from "Dry your tears, smile and get out there"?

With this I do not want to say that putting intention to improve our mood is something negative . Quite the opposite, but first, we must give our emotions the space and time they need to express themselves. This is based on one of the key principles of mindfulness: acceptance (Hoffman and Asmundson, 2008).

  • Maybe you're interested: "The 8 types of emotions (classification and description)"

What is the relationship between Mindfulness and the outcome of the film?

The movie Inside Out introduces the viewer into the mind of a baby (Riley). There, you can see how he is growing up and facing different situations thanks to emotions (characters that are responsible for monitoring Riley's behavior). With the passage of time, Riley is experiencing certain experiences that influence his mood.



However, Alegría, the main character in charge of monitoring, does not allow Tristeza to take control for a moment and ends up isolating her so that she does not influence Riley. The result? A set of events that end up causing Riley to make impulsive and drastic decisions. But nevertheless, the key lies, unexpectedly, in the reinsertion of Tristeza to the group , letting it take the reins of the command center momentarily. That is, the moral of the film already hints at the importance of the union of the group to stabilize the situation.

The same happens in real life. When we constantly strive to feel good about a certain situation, we are only isolating our emotion. This has a biological explanation, as living beings, we seek survival, for that reason, we have a tendency to avoid discomfort in all senses.


However, Mindfulness has a lot to teach us in this aspect . It is a central component added by Hoffman and Asmundson (2008), on which most of this new technique revolves: acceptance. However, we must be careful when interpreting this word. Acceptance does not mean resignation, it does not mean that we are sitting down before what is happening. Acceptance implies not judging, seeing things as they are and how they make us feel. It means becoming aware, giving us a space to attend to what is happening to us and letting us communicate without putting any resistance. Thanks to this, Mindfulness gives us the opportunity to stop to pay attention to what happens inside, and to think about what happens before making a decision and taking action.

Thus, explained in Mindfullness terms, it could be said that when Tristeza takes the central commands, when Riley experiences the emotion and starts to cry, he is paying attention to what Tristeza was trying to communicate to him. Thanks to this, he gets to know a new internal experience and make a new decision.


Final reflection

With this interpretation of the outcome of the film, I intend to show the importance of all emotions in our life . While it is true that not all the secret is hidden by the practice of Mindfulness, your exercises to attend to what happens in the present moment and become aware of it, help a lot in the integration of our emotions. Hence, current Mindfulness exercises are being incorporated into the current Emotional Intelligence programs.

Therefore, use the method you use, friend reader, do not forget one thing, take your time to feel each emotion and do not judge it, each of them has something to tell you. Remember that no one can know what is great, without knowing what is small before.

Biliographic References

  • Ekman, P. (1992). An argument for basic emotions. Cognition and Emotion, 6 (3-4), 169-200.
  • Hoffmann, S. G. and Asmundson, G. J. (2008). Acceptance and mindfulness-based therapy: New wave or old hat? Clinical Psychology Review, 28 (1), 1-16.

Mindfulness for Personal Sustainability: Investing in Change from the Inside Out | #skollwf 2016 (June 2024).


Similar Articles