Although people often want to regulate their emotions, they are sometimes reluctant to invest the necessary effort in doing so. We propose that people could be motivated to invest effort in emotion regulation, by rendering the target emotional state more desirable. Rendering an emotion goal more desirable can motivate people to invest effort in emotion regulation, ultimately facilitating successful emotion regulation. In three studies (N = 452), we show that both inside and outside the lab, rendering calmness more desirable, boosted the motivational strength to increase calmness, increasing the effort people invested to increase calmness, and ultimately made people calmer. This investigation points to the importance of motivational strength as a potential means to promote effort and success in emotion regulation.
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- Emotion regulation