Woman sitting outside her place of work practicing an emotional coping skill of journaling in a notebook.

Emotional Coping Skills Every Successful Executive Should Have

Most people tend to think of solution-focused coping strategies as the best way to manage stress. That is, address the problem and remove what seems to be causing them stress. Oh, if it could be that easy! But many times, it’s not as simple as that. Sometimes there are factors in our jobs, relationships, or lifestyles that present us with challenges out of our control. For those times, we need to practice emotional coping skills so we can alter our responses to specific stressors healthily and productively.

What makes a successful executive?

If you talk to HR folks, they, of course, have an ideal vision of the perfect candidate. You know, a real “people person,” extroverted, calm yet enthusiastic, organized, strategic, able to lead and manage their organizations.

Yet, executives come in all shapes, sizes, personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. And though they are leaders, that doesn’t mean they were born with the ability to cope with stress better than others. It also doesn’t take long before realizing that dealing with stress and pressure is a necessary step on the path to achievement. Therefore,  successful executives will equip themselves with strategies that will help them maneuver the ladder of success. 


Emotion-focused coping is particularly useful when dealing with stressful situations you can’t change or control. This coping technique helps you work through adverse emotional reactions to stress such as anxiety, fear, aggression, and depression. In other words, this technique allows you to be in control of your emotions rather than outside circumstances.


By managing your emotions when stressors come, you won’t have to wait for circumstances in your life or work to change to find relief. 

Another benefit of emotion-focused coping is that by managing your emotions, you can think more clearly. It’s a fact that when emotions go up, the assessment goes down. Instead of getting overwhelmed and making poor decisions, having your emotions under control makes it easier to look for a problem-focused solution that you might not have seen before. 

And lastly, using emotion-focused coping skills builds resilience. Some people may be hardwired to be emotionally resilient. For others, it can (and should) be learned and developed to handle life’s challenges. These skills will help you grow from adversity and can turn potentially negative experiences into positive ones. Thus eventually becoming more resilient to stress. 


You can employ many coping mechanisms to help you tolerate, minimize, and deal with stressful situations outside of work. For example, engaging in a hobby, gardening, or playing a game with your kids. But let’s look at some examples of healthy emotion-focused coping skills you can utilize right in the workplace:

  • Give yourself a pep talk.
  • Meditate
  •  Take a break and go for a short walk.
  • Listen to music.
  • List the things you feel grateful for.
  • Look at photos that help you feel relaxed.
  • Look at pictures to remind you of people, places, or something that bring you joy.
  • Picture your “happy place.”
  • Practice breathing exercises.
  • Use progressive muscle relaxation.
  • Draw 
  • Pray
  • Use a relaxation app. 
  • Read a book on your lunch break.
  • Reframe the way you are thinking about a problem.
  • Squeeze a stress ball.
  • Smile
  • Think of something funny.
  • Use aromatherapy.
  • Write in a journal.

Sometimes it may seem like emotional coping skills are just ways to ignore the problem. But that is not so. The strategies are indeed important. Because when you can’t change your situations or control the issues you are facing, it is essential to focus on what you can control—yourself.

Finding the right emotional coping skills to manage your emotional responses will provide you with a vital tool for overall stress relief. Because let’s face it. Not all problems can be solved. But, you can change how you feel about them. When these situations arise, try experimenting with different emotion-focused coping techniques to determine which ones work best for you. 

Another great way to learn how to manage those stressful times is to work with an anxiety coach. They can help you discover and master new ways to handle stress. When you can effectively manage your emotional response in situations out of your control, you will be better equipped to handle them.

Hi, I’m Kris Henderson, LPC. I want you to know that I am here to help. The easiest way to start taking control of your anxiety is to take the FREE 5-Day Anxiety Detox Challenge. If you would like more personalized support, I invite you to contact me or make an appointment online. Together, we can work on which strategies will work best for you to reduce your distress and help you feel better.

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