We all encounter problems routinely. Some of them are caused by our own mistakes, such as sleeping through the alarm or missing a meeting. Some are caused by others, (a stolen wallet) and some are just bad luck (getting stuck in a traffic jam)!
Just about everything we do throughout the day involves solving some kind of problem; it’s just an unavoidable fact of life. What we can do, however, is learn to manage our problems. This involves, in part, managing the emotions that arise when a problem occurs. It also involves being aware of the effect our reactions to our problems have on ourselves and others.
Our ability to regulate our emotions in problem situations greatly influences how effectively we are able to solve the problems we face. In fact, emotional regulation is frequently the determining factor in whether or not the problem is solved and how easy or difficult it is to do so. For example, when a problem occurs, most of us are able to quickly figure out the size of the problem and then regulate our emotional reaction to stay calm and able to deal with it. But that’s not always the case. New or even bigger problems are created when the size of our reaction is mismatched to the size of the actual problem. Who wants that?