Wayfaring Writer

Driven by a violent desire to write.

What “Inside Out” Teaches Us About Emotional Health


Recently I got to watch the latest Pixar movie “Inside Out”. For those of you who haven’t seen it, you really should. It’s about an 11 year old girl named Riley and the five core emotions that live inside her head, Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear.

As I was watching the movie there was really a profound message hidden beneath the entire story. So, I wanted to share with you what “Inside Out” teaches us about emotional health.


(Spoiler Alert: I will be talking about plot points in the movie. Go watch it, then come back and read my blog. I’ll wait.)

If you’re still reading I’m going to assume that you’ve already seen the movie, so I’ll just jump right into it.

The main thing I want to talk about in the movie is the concept of severing your emotions. (Look up terminology) Joy attempts to completely isolate Sadness and as a result both Joy and Sadness end up getting lost deep in Riley’s brain. When this happens Anger, Fear, and Disgust are left in charge, with Anger leading most of the time.

As the story goes on Riley’s emotional life takes such a downward spiral that all the important things in her life start to break down and fall away. It gets so bad at one point that Joy falls into the memory dump and almost gets forgotten.

Let’s go over that again real quick. Because Joy tries to cut Sadness out Riley almost forgets Joy.

Mind blown.

Mind blown.

Many times in our lives we try to cover up sadness when we experience loss or pain. But when you try to cut out one part of your emotional life it cuts off the other side of the scale too. When Riley loses Joy and Sadness she’s left with only Anger, Fear, and Disgust.

I’m very familiar with that situation.


Letting anger guide your life always leads to good things.

I tried cutting off the sadness in my life and when I did I slowly lost ability to feel joy. Instead, anger ruled my life and I can’t really say I was a pleasant person to be around during that time.

As the movie progresses Joy realizes that some of the most joyful times in Riley’s life came about from Sadness. The main example being Riley being consoled by her parents and then carried around by her hockey team after she missed the winning shot in the playoffs.
At the end of the movie Joy allows Sadness control and Riley tells her parents how sad and lonely she has been since moving. Her parents then tell her how much they miss home as well and they have a touching moment together. This moment becomes another core memory for Riley, one represented not only by Joy but also Sadness.


Who knew you needed all the emotions to be a whole person?

Too often we tell people not to be sad, look on the bright side, and other such things. While it isn’t good to wallow in sadness we should take proper time to grieve and mourn losses in our lives. We will all experience loss in our lives and if we don’t learn how to go through it properly we may end up tearing off pieces of ourselves trying to put on the happy face that so many people want to see, but isn’t always the truth.

There are many things in my life that I still haven’t properly grieved. I spent so long trying to ignore my sadness that it’s taken a long time to recover, but I’m trying and I’m a much better man for it.


So please, take stock of your emotional life and grieve what needs to be grieved. You have friends and family who can help you through it, but if they never know your sadness they are unable to help.

Honestly take a look at your life and ask yourself if there’s anything you haven’t properly grieved. Share it with someone. Comment below, talk to your family or friends, but get it out and start living again.


P.S. – One of the saddest things in the movie is what San Francisco did to pizza. Shame on you San Francisco.


About Luke Geldmacher

I grew living on an island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. Currently, I live in a 40 acre farm in Cookville, TX. I sometime write about life issues, but my passion is sci-fi and fantasy storytelling.

2 Replies

  1. Aubree

    I love this movie and your “review.” There’s so many people I’ve tried to explain the movie to, you’ve done an awesome job!

    1. Thanks Aubree! I really loved this movie and the message behind it.

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