Mon, Oct

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Life is full of stressful situations, some of which are lower on the totem pole of emotional intensity and some much higher. On the lower end might be a morning drive to work in unexpected traffic or a subtle reminder from your boss about the minor deadline you missed. Seeing the destroyed car (and driver) that caused the traffic jam or your boss questioning your ability to do your job, would likely elicit more extreme emotional reactions.

For several decades, psychologist have been interested in how people successfully control their emotions in stressful situations. The idea is that, if we can understand how healthy people manage their emotions, we may be able to improve the lives of those with depression or anxiety (both of which are characterized by breakdowns in emotional equilibrium). Now, new research published last week in the journal Psychological Science shows that successfully regulating our emotions is not a "one size fits all" endeavor. Rather, it involves bringing the right emotional regulation strategy to bear on the situation. Simply put, different emotional contexts require different regulation processes.