A new study published in Psychological Science links anger to increased motivation for reward, a feature that some might associate with more positive emotions. Interestingly, this study doesn’t just link anger in general with motivation in general: instead, people actually showed the strongest desire for specific items they associated with anger. The study’s authors relate this tendency to evolution: if food supply is limited, for example, those who feel food-related anger will fight harder to win that food. This backs up one of the chief understandings behind anger management therapy: that anger is a healthy part of adult life, which helps us protect ourselves and meet our needs. But like any strong emotion, there are both healthy and unhealthy ways of channeling it.
© Copyright 2010 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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