Emotion-focused coping involves trying to reduce the negative emotional responses associated with stress such as embarrassment, fear, anxiety, depression, excitement and frustration. This may be the only realistic option when the source of stress is outside the person’s control.
Drug therapy can be seen as emotion focused coping as it focuses on the arousal caused by stress not the problem. Other emotion focused coping techniques include:
- Distraction, e.g. keeping yourself busy to take your mind off the issue.
- Emotional disclosure. This involves expressing strong emotions by talking or writing about negative events which precipitated those emotions (Pennebaker, 1995) This is an important part of psychotherapy.
- Praying for guidance and strength.
- Meditation, e.g. mindfulness.
- Eating more, e.g. comfort food.
- Drinking alcohol.
- Using drugs.
- Journaling, e.g. writing a gratitude diary (Cheng, Tsui, & Lam, 2015).
- Cognitive reappraisal. This is a form of cognitive change that involves construing a potentially emotion-eliciting situation in a way that changes its emotional impact (Lazarus & Alfert, 1964).
- Suppressing (stopping/inhibition of) negative thoughts or emotions. Suppressing emotions over an extended period of time compromises immune competence and leads to poor physical health (Petrie, K. J., Booth, R. J., & Pennebaker, 1988).