Make Space for Negative Emotions

Published: May 12 2021

Coping strategies refer to the specific efforts, both behavioral and psychological, that people employ to master, tolerate, reduce, or minimize stressful events. Two general coping strategies have been distinguished: problem-solving strategies are efforts to do something active to alleviate stressful circumstances, whereas emotion-focused coping strategies involve efforts to regulate the emotional consequences of stressful or potentially stressful events. Research indicates that people use both types of strategies to combat most stressful events (Folkman & Lazarus, 1980). The predominance of one type of strategy over another is determined, in part, by personal style (e.g., some people cope more actively than others) and also by the type of stressful event; for example, people typically employ problem-focused coping to deal with potential controllable problems such as work-related problems and family-related problems, whereas stressors perceived as less controllable, such as certain kinds of physical health problems, prompt more emotion-focused coping.

Make Space for Negative Emotions

Talking about the things that bother us and allowing oneself to feel negative emotions is incredibly healing. If we don’t allow ourselves to process the intensity of what’s happening right now in this world, we’ll get stuck. We don’t want our emotions trapped in our bodies any more than they already are.

As you do so, be patient with yourself and the process. Remember healing and grieving is a journey. One of the frustrating parts about healing and grieving is the rush for it to end. Avoiding fully feeling your full range of emotions and impact from the experience can hinder the process.