What aspects of emotional competence help protect people from stress, anxiety, and depression, and help to promote positive affect? A total of 163 university students completed a two wave study that involved measuring emotional competence and emotional well-being at 1-year intervals. As expected, Time 1 measures of emotional competence predicted Time 2 measures of well-being, after controlling for Time 1 measures of well-being. Specifically, ineffective problem orientation predicted increases in anxiety and stress, and decreases in positive affect. Difficulty identifying and describing emotions predicted increases in anxiety and decreases in positive affect. Finally, an aspect of difficulty managing emotions (i.e. rumination) predicted decreases in positive affect. Each emotional competence variable predicted unique variance after controlling for other significant variables. We discuss the implications of these findings for counselling practice.