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Lessons from Trolls: from the Butterfly Courage blog



Being a mum of 3 kids, means that I’m regularly heading off to the latest movies with my kids. There’s been some stand out movies for kids recently. Two movies that are standouts for different perspectives on psychology in recent times are; Inside Out and Trolls.


After attending the movie, Trolls, I thought I would write an initial overview of my learning from the movie….


Encourage positive, respectful human touch across our wider community – especially hugs! (I loved the timed, hourly hugs in the movie.)

Have fun – by singing, dancing and having more communal activities. (Perhaps as a society we are forgetting this?)

It’s okay to be depressed, sad or blue, as there may be a reason for it – and if we look at the past, there may be clues. If you are sad or depressed, have others encourage you to join in!

Sadness has its place and can assist us to consider the other side of an otherwise awful situation. Perhaps those who are ongoing in their sadness in our community, may be more realistic than those who are blindingly positive and ignore reality.

Every person has their place in society and we need to encourage togetherness and working together on problems.


Please note: Whilst this is very simplistic about depression, Beyond Blue encourages those on their website to seek out other sources of support, other than just traditional therapy or medication.


Beyond Blue also suggests maintaining a healthy lifestyle, having good support people, relaxation training and attending supportive groups to be other options to those suffering from Clinical Depression. Therefore, counselling is only one component in assisting clients work through depression.

When it comes to looking at the human psyche, psychology, happiness and emotional intelligence from a new perspective, Trolls was particularly fantastic.


Princess Poppy and her father, King Peppy, assist the Trolls to have a happy life by singing, dancing and hugging. The Trolls in the movie are a colourful group of creatures that live, dance, sing, work and interact with each other in happiness and are continuously encouraging each other to do better.


Their enemies, the Bergens, appear to only ‘feel happy’ if they eat a Troll. So, the Trolls spend their time ensuring that they are not captured by Bergens and so long as this doesn’t happen, then the Trolls are happy – and aren’t aware of the dangers that lurk around the corner with the Bergens.


Branch, the ‘dark’, ‘depressive’ and ‘conspiracy theorist’ Troll character in the movie, proves a welcome relief from the never-ending happiness cycle in the Trolls community.


One day, Princess Poppy holds a party for her birthday. Her friend Branch refuses to attend due to his belief that the Bergens will find out about the party. Unfortunately, for the Trolls, Branch was correct. After having Poppy’s party, a Bergen comes to the Troll village.


This Bergen grabs Poppy’s friends with the intention of eating them later.


Poppy discovers her friend Branch has built an underground bunker, due to his concerns of a potential Bergen attack.


Poppy comes to Branch to ask for help and encourages Branch to house the rest of the Trolls that remain, so they can hide out in his bunker.


Poppy and Branch then go out in search of the missing Trolls. They have an adventure and get to know each other in the process, though in true Hollywood style, all Trolls come back in the end.


From this movie, what I was left with was – a feeling of togetherness, joy and authentic happiness that comes from helping others in the community, as well as encouraging all to participate in the collective outcome.


Ultimately, what makes us happy, is a number of different things.


According to research, there are three key findings from Dan Gilbert’s work:


1. We can’t be happy alone

2. We can’t be happy all the time

3. We can be happier than we are currently


Certainly, I came away with these and many more take homes from Trolls.


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