Why Emotional Regulation Matters

17.09.2020 |

Episode #1 of the course Control your emotions, control your life by Dr. Sofia Santiago


When Lisa Nowak was a six-year-old in 1969 she watched the Apollo Moon landings on TV and decided to become an astronaut. And she did: at age 33 she qualified as a mission specialist in robotics and flew on the space shuttle Discovery.

A few months after returning to Earth, Lisa packed latex gloves, a wig, a BB pistol, ammunition, pepper spray, a hooded coat, a drilling hammer, rubber tubing, plastic garbage bags, and a knife into her car and drove 14 hours from Houston to Orlando International Airport. A woman on a mission.

Lisa waited about an hour for Colleen Shipman’s flight to arrive before following her into the parking lot. Colleen, aware she was being followed, dived into her car and locked the door. Lisa, undeterred, slapped the window and tried to get the door open before changing tactics and bursting into tears, begging Collen to give her a ride.

Colleen relented and rolled down the window a couple of inches allowing a manic Lisa to fire pepper spray through the crack. Colleen hit the accelerator and drove to the parking lot booth where police were summoned. Lisa was arrested on multiple charges including attempted kidnapping and battery.

Why would a rational, accomplished NASA astronaut risk losing her reputation and freedom by committing such an irrational act? News headlines said she did it because Colleen was Lisa’s ex-boyfriend’s new love. But the real reason was that by not controlling her emotions Lisa allowed them to control her.

* * * *

Perhaps Lisa suffered from mental health issues. Maybe. But even for healthy people, our emotions are what determine the results we get from life: our emotions govern our actions, and our actions then shape our outcomes.

“Not me; I’m not ruled by emotions,” you may say. “I make rational decisions.”

I hear you. We like to believe that we are rational beings who make decisions based on logical analysis, but the truth is we’re not “rational,” but “rationalizers.” [1] This means we (and yes, even you) primarily decide with our emotions and then justify our decisions with logic.

Like when you feel excited about buying something that’s beyond your budget. Maybe it’s a pair of designer-brand shoes, a high-end gadget, or a sports car. People convince themselves by rationalizing how important it is to buy quality or how it will bring them fringe benefits: an improved professional image, getting that promotion, higher quality friends, and so on.

When our emotions are strongest, we are the most vulnerable. Anyone who has retrospectively admitted to ignoring red flags and making poor decisions when choosing a mate because they were madly in love can attest that we’re not always as rational as we want to believe we are.

* * * *

Hi. I’m Dr. Sofia Santiago, and I’ll be your guide in this journey towards becoming a better you: a you that’s able to control your emotions. As an expert in conflict management, I’ve studied emotional regulation extensively. That’s because emotions tend to be exacerbated during confrontations, and I’ll admit it: I too have been guilty of getting caught up in confrontations and emotions.

When writing my award-winning book Difficult Conversations Just for Women: Kill the Anxiety. Get What You Want, which is really not just for women but for anybody who wants to better understand women, I was bombarded with requests to expand and create a more universal course on emotional control that would help everyone clear the emotional barriers to getting the life they want. So this is the course.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about you and why you’re here.

So why are you here?

Let me guess.

Is it because…

• You know that emotional regulation—your ability to adjust your emotions to achieve your goals—is a key component of emotional intelligence (EI), and EI is one of the skills most sought-after by friends, partners, and employers? [2]

• You have heard that EI has been correlated with happiness and success? [3]

• You know that past pain, no matter how much you attempt to bury it, will always find a way to rear its ugly head to trigger you when you’re faced with an emotionally challenging situation?

Any of those reasons is more than enough.

In this course you’ll gain step-by-step techniques to manage your emotions, so you’ll be able to experience less guilt, anxiety, fear, frustration, and anger; you’ll have better relationships with others; and you’ll be more satisfied with your life and the results you get.

Isn’t that worth it?

* * * *

In the next lesson, we will tackle the inner workings of your emotions. The eight lessons after that will provide you tangible ways to take control of your emotional reactions to create consistent wins in every area of your life. The last lesson is a summary you can refer to as an emotional control checklist.

See you tomorrow!



Recommended book

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely


Works cited

[1] Van Praet, D. (2014). Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing. NY: St. Martin’s Griffin

[2] Gray, Alex (2016). The 10 Skills You Need to Thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. World Economic Forum

[3] Sasanpour M., Khodabakhshi M. & Nooryan Kh. (2012). The Relationship between Emotional Intelligence, Happiness and Mental Health in Students of Medical Sciences of Isfahan University. International Journal of Collaborative Research on Internal Medicine and Public Health, Vol. 4 No. 9


Share with friends