Emotions From Inside Out, Pt. 1: A Fitness Feels Trip
Have you seen Pixar’s newest movie, Inside Out? If you haven’t, you’re really missing out! It’s an awesome movie that appeals to audiences young and old with a nice mix of humor, drama and some flavors of bio-psychology that take you on an exciting trip inside the brain. Here’s a quick run-down of the plot — Riley is an 11 year-old girl who lives in Minnesota, and happens to have a great life…until her parents decide the family’s moving across country to San Francisco. It would seem like Riley is the star of the show here, but the majority of the movie takes place inside Riley’s head, where her five basic emotions: Disgust, Fear, Sadness, Anger, and Joy are heading up the main control center of her brain. It’s a fascinating perspective to take on, and you can’t help thinking about what your inner emotions must look like in your own brain as you’re watching. If you haven’t seen the movie, or just want to relive the experience, check out the preview below to get a more in-depth look at the emotions from Inside Out.
I was lucky enough to see this movie with my mom, who’s also very psych-minded, and taught me most of what I know about the basics of emotional intelligence. Let’s just say, we paused a lot of movies when I was growing up to do a little check-in on how the characters were feeling and why that might be — so this was the perfect movie for us to see together! In re-hashing the movie, we started talking about how all of the emotions, while relevant to most life experiences, were also very applicable to what you experience along the course of a fitness journey.
Emotions From Inside Out: Let’s Go on a Feels Trip!
If you’re anywhere along the line of your fitness journey, you have probably experienced all of these feelings at one point or another. So, we’re going on a little Feels Trip! No, no this is not your classic field trip to the orchard, zoo or government building — this is a feels trip to meet each of the different emotions from Inside Out that you may experience along your own fitness journey. We’ll dig into how these emotions may hinder or accelerate your progress, and discuss some strategies that you can use to work through each of these emotions you’ll undoubtedly experience.
We have five exciting stops that we’ll be making along our feels trip over the next five days, and you won’t want to miss a single one. So buckle up, and get ready for the ride! First stop: Disgust!
Emotions From Inside Out: Disgust
Of the emotions from Inside Out, Disgust’s character was mostly responsible for bringing out that too-cool-for-school attitude Riley was beginning to develop as a pre-teen. She was on top of her game when it came to identifying Riley’s new room as, coincidentally, “disgusting” and not nearly as cool as her old one. She had a keen nose for calling off the Broccoli pizza in San Francisco – I can’t say I disagreed with her assessment either – pizza needs meat, in my book. Overall, the character was used to help Riley distinguish between things that were appealing, and definitely not so.
In fitness, disgust is often the catalyst that leads to a significant life change. In the case of a fitness journey, you may be disgusted by the way you look, the bad habits you’ve established, your quality of life and relationships, or any number of circumstances. Feelings of disgust can often times lead to positive action that can change your circumstances for the better. Whatever it is that disgusts you about your situation, can be the very thing that drives you to make change, and be your “why,” as discussed in 6 Ways to Achieve Any Goal.
Feelings of disgust can also lead to some potentially negative impacts along your journey. Some may be driven by these feelings to take extreme, unhealthy, measures in order to change their circumstances. They may resort to excessively low calorie diets, not eating at all, or taking other measures to get rid of any calories they’ve consumed. In these cases, the feeling of disgust may never go away, since very little, or extreme, undesired change may be seen instead.
Due to the fact that we’re all human, I assume, and most likely our own toughest critic, we will usually be able to find something about ourselves, or our bodies that “disgusts” us. It might be something physical, like a particular part of the body where we retain fat/lack muscle development, or something deeper like a personality trait, or thought about ourselves and overall worth. No matter where you are in your fitness journey, there is always something that you’ll want to work to improve. The good news is – this can be used for good.
The most important thing to remember when you’re dealing with disgust, is to recognize what type of emotion you’re experiencing, and use it to drive you to make change in a healthy, positive way. This can actually be a great emotional tool to help you continue setting goals for yourself and always reach for the next level. This is much easier said than done, but can be accomplished by utilizing the tools that work best for you.
Here are a few strategies to help you work through Disgust:
- Identify your strengths. What are you not disgusted by? What are you good at? What do people like about you? What do you like about yourself? Strengths can be anything from skill-based attributes (ex. I’m good at cooking, I’m a good writer, I’m good at fixing cars, etc.), to deeper, personality traits (ex. I connect with others easily, I’m a good listener, I’m a good judge of character, etc.). The point is, when you’re working through a feeling like disgust, you want to first start by reminding yourself that you’re not ALL bad. Nobody is ALL bad – maybe Jeffrey Dahmer, but if you’re not a serial killer…hey, you’re already on the right path, and that’s a strength!
If you give yourself a chance to review all of the strengths you already possess, you prime yourself for success in conquering the things that you still want to work on. Let’s take a look at the difference.
“Nobody likes me anymore because I’m fat…and I don’t blame them, because I wouldn’t want to hang out with me either – I look disgusting.”
“I’m really good at making connections with people, and have a great sense of humor. However, I’m disgusted by the way I look right now because of the weight I’ve put on over the past year, which makes me feel less confident and unmotivated to do things with others.”
Ok, so you’re probably not going to start reframing your thoughts and feelings like a psychologist might, but you get the idea. If you start with your strengths, it can make processing the areas you’d like to improve a little less painful, and more manageable to overcome.
- Find somebody that you trust to discuss the feelings of disgust you have about yourself or your current situation. Sometimes it helps to talk through your feelings and get some affirmation (about your disgust and your strengths) from somebody else – and a different perspective.
In some cases, you may even want to seek out a professional to talk with, depending on how intense these feelings are for you, especially if you’ve struggled to determine any of your own strengths. Working on improving your self-image and utilizing some more intense strategies, with the guidance of a professional, to improve your mindset may be the first step you need to take in order to be ultimately successful.
- If you’re not overly excited about the idea of talking to somebody about your feelings, and you like to write, journaling may be another effective outlet for you to get your thoughts out. In the event you don’t like to write – and I work in the schools, so I know there are several of you out there – you can also go with audio or video. Whether you’re re-reading, re-watching or re-listening to your thoughts, it’s a good way to dig a little deeper into where these feelings are coming from and what to do next in order to work through it.
Once you’ve found a way to process through what you’re feeling, identify the #1 (controllable) source of what is causing your disgust. Is it your weight? Is it feeling weak? Is it your diet and how it makes your body feel? In any number of cases, there can be several sources of disgust, and it can be very overwhelming to try and work on all of them at once. Determine what the #1 issue is for you, you’ve found a great place to start.
Have you experienced this emotion along your fitness journey? Let us know how you handled it, and any tips you might have for our other readers working through feelings of disgust!
Until Next Time….
Founder: MCP Total Fitness