New research on psychological strategies for coping with difficult times.

New research on psychological strategies for coping with difficult times.

Via Psychology Today by Carlota Batres


  • Reappraisal is an emotion regulation strategy that involves changing how a person thinks about a situation to change their emotions.
  • A recent study focused on how two forms of reappraisal, rethinking and refocusing, could be used during the pandemic.
  • Both forms were similarly effective at reducing negative emotional responses and increasing positive emotional responses.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded around the world, people have reported negative effects on their mental health, psychological functioning, and on their day-to-day lives. For instance, individuals are sleeping less, consuming more alcohol or other drugs/substances, having trouble concentrating, worrying about impacts on their finances, and having more fights with their partner or loved ones, a 2020 poll shows.

The stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic led a group of researchers (including myself) to examine how negative emotions could be reduced and how positive emotions could be increased. The researchers involved in the study are part of a large cross-cultural collaborative network called the Psychological Science Accelerator. The study published this week focused on examining an emotion regulation strategy called reappraisal, which involves changing how a person thinks about a situation with the goal of influencing their emotional response. More specifically, the study examined two forms of reappraisal: rethinking and refocusing.

Two Forms of Reappraisal

In the rethinking condition, participants were told that “This strategy involves changing one’s thinking in order to change one’s emotions. This strategy is based on the insight that different ways of interpreting or thinking about any situation can lead to different emotions. This means that finding new ways of thinking about a situation can change how you feel about the situation. For example, consider someone who stays at home under lockdown due to COVID-19 and is feeling anxious, sad, or angry. In this case, rethinking might involve realizing that the situation is only temporary because dedicated people across the world are working hard to find a vaccine.”

Participants were then given examples of how rethinking might be used during the pandemic. For instance, “I know from world history that keeping calm and carrying on gets us through tough times.”

… keep reading the full & original article HERE