Pixar’s Inside Out 2 tackles the issue of teen mental health crisis, introducing a new emotion, Anxiety, to Riley’s emotional headquarters. As a parent, watching Anxiety take over Riley’s brain resonates with the struggles of families dealing with anxiety in teenagers. The movie delves into the importance of understanding and balancing different emotions, even the negative ones, in order to navigate the complexities of growing up.

The portrayal of Anxiety as a character trying to protect Riley, albeit in an overwhelming way, sheds light on the role of uncomfortable emotions in healthy development. The movie highlights the need for a balance between positive and negative emotions, showing that each has its own purpose and can be useful in different situations. This lesson in emotional intelligence is valuable for both teenagers and parents, helping them understand that not every negative emotion requires immediate treatment.

Moreover, Inside Out 2 consults with a children’s mental health professional, Dr. Lisa Damour, who praises the film as a “gift” to parents of teens. Dr. Damour emphasizes the importance of recognizing the difference between healthy and unhealthy anxiety, stating that anxiety is a natural emotion meant to alert us to potential threats and protect ourselves. By acknowledging the complexities of self-perception and embracing both positive and negative self-beliefs, the movie encourages viewers to accept themselves fully, flaws and all.

The resolution of Anxiety’s takeover in Riley’s brain, culminating in a panic attack scene, effectively illustrates the overwhelming nature of anxiety and the need to find a balance between conflicting emotions. Joy and Anxiety working together to help Riley cope with her emotions symbolizes the idea that all emotions have a place and can coexist harmoniously when managed properly. This message of embracing complexity and finding inner peace resonates deeply with the challenges faced by teenagers and their families in today’s society.

Overall, Inside Out 2 offers a heartwarming and entertaining exploration of the teenage mind, emphasizing the importance of understanding and accepting a wide range of emotions. By depicting Anxiety not as a villain but as a misunderstood protector, the movie delivers a powerful lesson on emotional intelligence and self-acceptance. As teenagers and parents navigate the ups and downs of adolescence, this film serves as a reminder that every emotion, even the uncomfortable ones, plays a valuable role in the journey of growing up.