What 'Inside Out' teaches us about joy
In “Inside Out,” the character, Joy, really enjoys controlling all the different emotions throughout the beginning of the movie, until Sadness touches a core memory and the memory changes. This really frustrates Joy that a core memory has been changed from joyful to sadness.
I think in “Inside Out,” Riley’s family is always trying to be positive and give Riley joyful memories throughout her childhood. As the family moves and life starts to unfold negatively, we see other emotions; fear, anger, sadness and disgust, start creeping up in.
We see Joy work harder to keep Riley’s emotions as joyful as possible. Joy is an important part of our memories that we like to revisit. As a child life specialist at Cook Children’s, I try to help normalize the day and make joyful memories with patients and families.
These memories will help children cope with other struggles that they overcome and find joy in their life. As adults, we have a hard time with this because we have so many experiences with sadness, fear, anger and disgust it’s hard for us not to project our feeling on children especially when they are in the hospital.
Children that come into the hospital may experience different emotions, but joy can be found through these emotions, even when as adults we may think there is no joy.
Sometimes kids find so much joy that they don’t want to leave Cook Children’s because it has become a fun and not so scary place. We need to remember to look for joy with all that may go on in a hospital setting.
We might not think children do a great job at a procedure because maybe they cried. However, they may have held still and been able to recover with playing by the end of procedure. This can create a joyful memory with having families at the bedside showing comfort.
Sometimes going through these different periods of our life while growing up and experiencing many things good and bad allow our emotions to interact.
In “Inside Out,” we see that the character Joy realizes toward the end of the movie that you can mix your emotions and this can be considered normal. Joy realizes that you can cry tears of joy. So as a child life specialist we help families realize that tears in a difficult experience may help a child in the future to help to control his or her different emotions. The tears also allow us to look at our long-term memories and see how there might have been joy in that moment after all and change that core memory to be better than we thought.
This allows us to empower children with all these different emotions, especially joy, in their daily lives, in or out of the hospital. Joy is a great emotion which we all deserve to look for daily in our lives and others that live with us. What Joyful memory do you have?
Heather Bayers is a Child Life specialist at Cook Children's. We know that a child’s illness or injury can impact a family physically, emotionally and financially. Fortunately, you don’t have to face these challenges alone. We provide a growing number of services for patients and families, all designed to help support, heal and encourage you through every step of your journey.