Why Anxiety Is Such an Important Emotion to Show in 'Inside Out 2'

Inside Out 2 will showcase other emotions, and Anxiety is one of them. Here's why it's so important for young kids to see that having anxiety is perfectly normal.
Inside Out 2, Disney
Inside Out 2, Disney /

Inside Out brought us a great look at the way our emotions develop and impact us. The first movie only focused on five standard emotions, but things take a turn as we get older. Inside Out 2 shows that development with the addition of new emotions -- including Anxiety.

In the outside world, Riley is growing up, She’s making new friends, and that means making new impressions. Nerves play a part in that, and on the inside, we get to see why.

Anxiety is female, meaning Fear and Anger are the only male emotions in Riley’s head. Anxiety turns up with suitcases. She brings her “baggage” with her to HQ. It turns out that Riley’s dad also suffers from anxiety, so it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out and how Riley and her dad can connect over this.

A lot of people view anxiety as fear, but that’s not the case. Those who have anxiety understand that it’s slightly different, and that’s why it’s so important to showcase it as an individual emotion in Inside Out 2. It’s certainly going to help children out there.

Anxiety is fear, nerves, excitement, and more all mixed together

There are different types of anxiety disorders out there. Just being anxious doesn’t mean that you have a disorder, but there are some people out there with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and that emotion can take over your own life. It can start off young, and there’s no need to be ashamed of it.

Children do suffer from anxiety. As parents, we try to brush it off as just a little bit of nerves. We tell kids that they just need to be themselves and not to worry about what people think, but does that actually work? Did it work for us growing up? Instead of telling children to ignore anxiety, it’s important to handle it and find ways to minimize the effects.

Being able to see that happen on screen is going to be important for a lot of children. They see that there are others out there who have anxiety—not just getting anxious but actually having anxiety taking over. The first Inside Out had lessons with Joy and Sadness working together and showing that you can have both emotions at the same time. Inside Out 2 is sure to take a look at how Anxiety will take over, but that other emotions can step in and help a situation.

Understanding how anxiety affects other emotions in Inside Out 2

Anxiety will step into the movie as the emotion to take over the HQ. This leads to other emotions being bottled up. Children need to see what their anxiety is doing to them, giving them a chance to see how this one particular emotion affects them.

By understanding more, they can figure things out for themselves. And yes, young children who Pixar movies are aimed at do suffer from anxiety. They just don’t always understand it, and they don’t always talk about it. They’re so anxious about being judged or dismissed.

As a parent with a child who has GAD—she was diagnosed at seven—this movie is giving her a chance to see that having anxiety is normal. There are others out there. She’s always open to sharing that she has it -- and teachers often said that it was helpful that she spoke with other kids, as it helped them understand what anxiety is all about. Here's hoping that’s exactly what this movie is going to help with, too.

Who plays Anxiety in Inside Out 2?

Maya Hawke voices Anxiety in the movie. Viewers probably know her best from her role as Robin on Stranger Things, as well as roles in Asteroid City, Do Revenge, and more. She's the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman but has built an incredibly successful career -- and fanbase -- on her own.

Inside Out 2 is in theaters on Friday, June 14.

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