Anxiety is a physiological state characterized by cognitive, somatic, emotional, and behavioral components (Seligman, Walker & Rosenhan, 2001). These components combine to create the feelings that we typically recognize as fear, apprehension, or worry. Anxiety is often accompanied by physical sensations such as heart palpitations, nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, stomach aches, or headache. The cognitive component entails expectation of a diffuse and certain danger.
- Male passersby were contacted either on a fear-arousing suspension bridge or a non-fear-arousing bridge by an attractive female interviewer who asked them to fill out questionnaires containing Thematic Apperception Test pictures. Sexual content of stories written by subjects on the fear-arousing bridge and tendency of these subjects to attempt post experimental contact with the interviewer were both significantly greater. No significant differences between bridges were obtained on either measure for subjects contacted by a male interviewer. A third study manipulated anticipated shock to male subjects and an attractive female confederate independently. Anticipation of own shock but not anticipation of shock to confederate increased sexual imagery scores on the Thematic Apperception Test and attraction to the confederate.
- Some evidence for the mechanics of the anxiety-sexual arousal link in the current research may be obtained from the fear ratings made by subjects in Experiment 3. When subjects anticipated receiving a strong shock and the female confederate was present during the anxiety manipulation, subjects re-ported significantly less fear than when no potential sexual object was present (t —2.17, d} = 19, p < .025). Since the questionnaires were filled out in private in both groups, it is unlikely that subjects' reporting merely reflects appropriate behavior in the presence of the opposite or same sex. One possible explanation for this result is that, having relabeled anxiety as sexual arousal, the subject is less likely to feel anxious. A more conclusive explanation of the mechanics of the anxiety-sexual arousal link must await the conclusion of present laboratory studies designed specifically to investigate this prob-lem. However, regardless of the interpretation of the mechanics of this link, the present re-search presents the clearest demonstration to date of its existence
- Donald G. Dutton, Arthur P. Aron, "Some Evidence For Heightened Sexual Attraction Under Conditions of High Anxiety", Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 1974, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. (510-517).
- In a logical system, it is convenient to say that possibility passes over into actuality. However, in actuality it is not so convenient, and an intermediate term is required. The intermediate term is anxiety… Anxiety is neither a category of necessity nor a category of freedom; it is entangled freedom, where freedom is not free in itself but entangled, not by necessity, but in itself.
- Søren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Anxiety: A Simple Psychologically Orienting Deliberation on the Dogmatic Issue of Hereditary Sin (1980), p. 49
- Anxiety is a desire for what one fears, a sympathetic antipathy; anxiety is an alien power which grips the individual, and yet he cannot tear himself away from it and does not want to, for one fears, but what he fears he desires. Anxiety makes the individual powerless, and the first sin always occurs in weakness; therefore it apparently lacks accountability, but this lack is the real trap.
- Søren Kierkegaard, The Concept of Anxiety: A Simple Psychologically Orienting Deliberation on the Dogmatic Issue of Hereditary Sin (1980), p. 235, note 47
- We have genuflected before the God of Science only to find that it has given us the atomic bomb, producing fears and anxieties that science can never mitigate.
- Martin Luther King, Strength to Love, 1963.
- The awareness of the relationship between the self and the world is precisely what breaks down in anxiety.
- Rollo May, The Meaning of Anxiety (1977), p. 62
- Anxiety is the apprehension cued off by a threat to some value that the individual holds essential to his existence as a personality.
- Rollo May, The Meaning of Anxiety (1977), p. 205
- One cannot fight what one does not know.
- Rollo May, The Meaning of Anxiety (1977), p. 207
- Anxiety was a philosophical concept before it taken up by psychology and psychiatry. The Danish philosopher Kierkegaard (1813-1855) argued that anxiety is part of human nature. Anxiety arises where possibility and actuality come into contact and the present touches the future. Anxiety is a product of having the freedom to make choices and act, and by doing so make a commitment to one’s identity, ways of being in the world, and standing in relation to other people. For Kierkegaard, anxiety can be an avenue to stand in relation to God. This is why he wrote, “Whoever has learned to be anxious in the right way has learned the ultimate.”
One can bracket out the God dimensions and still learn something valuable from Kierkegaard, namely that anxiety can cause inaction, which is, in its most basic sense, a loss of freedom. What is possible may never actualize and one may lose the present by tending to an imagined future. One becomes immobilized and unable to meet needs and realize goals and aspirations.
- If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.
- Almost all men are over-anxious. No sooner do they enter the world than they lose that taste for natural and simple pleasures so remarkable in early life. Every hour do they ask themselves what progress they have made in the pursuit of wealth or honor; and on they go as their fathers went before them, till, weary and sick at heart, they look back with a sigh of regret to the golden time of their childhood.
- The first time Faith-Ann Bishop cut herself, she was in eighth grade. It was 2 in the morning, and as her parents slept, she sat on the edge of the tub at her home outside Bangor, Maine, with a metal clip from a pen in her hand. Then she sliced into the soft skin near her ribs. There was blood–and a sense of deep relief. “It makes the world very quiet for a few seconds,” says Faith-Ann. “For a while I didn’t want to stop, because it was my only coping mechanism. I hadn’t learned any other way.”
The pain of the superficial wound was a momentary escape from the anxiety she was fighting constantly, about grades, about her future, about relationships, about everything. Many days she felt ill before school. Sometimes she’d throw up, other times she’d stay home. “It was like asking me to climb Mount Everest in high heels,” she says.
- “The competitiveness, the lack of clarity about where things are going [economically] have all created a sense of real stress,” says Victor Schwartz of the Jed Foundation, a nonprofit that works with colleges and universities on mental-health programs and services. “Ten years ago, the most prominent thing kids talked about was feeling depressed. And now anxiety has overtaken that in the last couple of years.”
- Susanna Schrobsdorff, "Teen Depression and Anxiety: Why the Kids Are Not Alright", Time, (Oct. 27, 2016).
- Man’s basic anxiety … drives the anxious subject to establish objects of fear. Anxiety strives to become fear, because fear can be met by courage. … Horror is ordinarily avoided by the transformation of anxiety into fear of something, no matter what. The human mind is not only, as Calvin has said, a permanent factory of idols, it is also a permanent factory of fears—the first in order to escape God, the second in order to escape anxiety. … But ultimately the attempts to transform anxiety into fear are vain. The basic anxiety, the anxiety of a finite being about the threat of nonbeing, cannot be eliminated. It belongs to existence itself.
- Paul Tillich, The Courage To Be (1952), p. 39
- The reason why you don't put your hand in the fire is not because of fear, it's because you know that you'll get burned. You don't need fear to avoid unnecessary danger - just a minimum of intelligence and common sense. For such practical matters, it is useful to apply the lessons learned in the past. Now if someone threatened you with fire or with physical violence, you might experience something like fear. This is an instinctive shrinking back from danger, but not the psychological condition of fear that we are talking about here. The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and true immediate danger. It comes in many forms: unease, worry, anxiety, nervousness, tension, dread, phobia, and so on. This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now. You are in the here and now, while your mind is in the future. This creates an anxiety gap. And if you are identified with your mind and have lost touch with the power and simplicity of the Now, that anxiety gap will be your constant companion. You can always cope with the present moment, but you cannot cope with something that is only a mind projection - you cannot cope with the future.
- Anyone who is identified with their mind and, therefore, disconnected from their true power, their deeper self rooted in Being, will have fear as their constant companion. The number of people who have gone beyond mind is as yet extremely small, so you can assume that virtually everyone you meet or know lives in a state of fear. Only the intensity of it varies. It fluctuates between anxiety and dread at one end of the scale and a vague unease and distant sense of threat at the other. Most people become conscious of it only when it takes on one of its more acute forms.
- All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry - all forms of fear - are caused by too much future, and not enough presence.
- Unhappiness is an ego created mental emotional disease that has reached epidemic proportions. It is the inner equivalent of the environmental pollution of our planet. Negative states, such as anger, anxiety, hatred, resentment, discontent, envy, jealousy, and so on, are not recognized as negative but as totally justified and are further misperceived not as self created but as caused by someone else or some external factor. “I am holding you responsible for my pain.” This is what by implication the ego is saying. p. 69
- What is a negative emotion? An emotion that is toxic to the body and interferes with its balance and harmonious functioning. Fear, anxiety, anger, bearing a grudge, sadness, hatred or intense dislike, jealousy, envy – all disrupt the energy flow through the body, affect the heart, the immune system, digestion, production of hormones, and so on. p. 84