Emotion Regulation Strategy – Cognitive Reappraisal

Emotion Regulation Strategy – Cognitive Reappraisal

Healthy strategies require high-level executive functioning or the ability to manage yourself and your resources to achieve a goal; basically, self-control and regulation. Executive functioning skills increase during adolescence.75 Since healthy emotion regulation strategies increase the likelihood of positive outcomes,83 they are an important set of skills for youth to develop. Three common healthy emotion regulation strategies to understand include acceptance, problem-solving, and cognitive reappraisal.

Cognitive reappraisal. Cognitive reappraisal refers to changing thoughts and beliefs about an object or situation that triggered a negative emotional response84. This strategy requires individuals to give a different, often more positive, meaning to an object or situation in order to lessen their negative response. At high stress levels, individuals who engaged in cognitive reappraisals endorsed fewer depressive symptoms than those who did not.85 Youth program staff can help youth improve their cognitive reappraisal skills by providing youth with additional information or alternative explanations that can help youth ascribe different meanings to their interpretations. For example, teaching youth to brainstorm potential alternatives to why a fight occurred between group participants can help them with perspective-taking and may mitigate strong emotional reactions.

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Understanding and Practicing Cognitive Reappraisal
This workshop includes activities designed to increase staff knowledge regarding cognitive reappraisal, or changing thoughts about a situation to decrease the likelihood of negative emotional responses and improve positive emotional responses. Activities will include examples of techniques staff can use to help youth develop and strengthen their cognitive reappraisal skills.