Taking Control of Emotional Reactions as Part of Problem Solving.

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

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 to learn to manage our problems. This involves, in part, managing emotions that arise when a problem occurs. It also involves being aware of the effect our regions 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 a problem is solved and how easy or difficult it is to do so. For example, when a problem occurs, many people are able to quickly figure out the size of the problem and regulate our emotional reaction to stay calm and able to deal with it. But that’snot always the case. New or even bigger problems are created when the size of your reaction is mismatched to the size of the actual problem. Who wants that?

If I had an hour to solve a problem I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.

Albert Einstein

Einstein had a point. When a problem occurs, many of us just swoop in and start trying to solve it without fully understanding what happened. We may overreact or shut down emotionally, making us unavailable to solve the problem at all. This wastes time and energy and often results in the creation of new or bigger ones.

Defining a Social Problem May Include:

Understanding that started or hidden social rules- what’s expected in any given situation. As long as everyone follows the hidden rules and is doing what’s expected, there is no problem and everyone feels okay.

Understanding the reactions of others, especially when our behavior is unexpected.

Understanding the perspectives and emotions of others.

Conflict can arise when someone has a very different point of view or interpretation of the ”rules” in the situation. For instance, if a student who became really upset by a teacher’s perspective as he had a different point of view. While the teacher considered the student’s behavior ”unexpected” the student felt it was fully ”expected” based on his point of view. This is why when working with students with social learning challenges, it is so important to spend time first defining the actual problem from multiple people’s perspectives. That way all people recognize what the actual social-based problem is.

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