The dictionary definition of anxiety in psychology is the experience of emotional discomfort associated with the expectation of trouble, a presentiment of impending danger. More broadly, anxiety can be defined as existential fear, one of the beneficial forces that enable a person to move from everyday life to the existential plane, into the world of free will.
Anxiety is a reaction to an impending danger, real or imagined, an emotional state of diffuse objectless fear, characterized by an indefinite sense of threat, in contrast to fear, which is a reaction to a very definite danger. Anxiety, in contrast to anxiety, is an individual psychological feature consisting in an increased tendency to experience anxiety in various life situations, including those whose objective characteristics do not predispose to this.
Anxiety, according to Anna Mikhailovna Parikhozhan, the famous researcher of anxiety and anxiety, is an experience of emotional discomfort associated with the expectation of trouble, with a presentiment of impending danger. A.M. The parishioner views anxiety as an emotional and personal formation that has cognitive (thinking, memory, perception), emotional and operational (behavior) aspects. Anxiety is characterized by feelings of anxiety that are on the same line of anticipatory emotions such as fear and hope. Distinguish between the emotional state of anxiety and anxiety – an emotional stable trait, an individual feature that manifests itself as a tendency to intense and frequent experiences of anxiety.
Anxiety is felt by tension, concern, anxiety, nervousness and is experienced as uncertainty, helplessness, powerlessness, insecurity, loneliness, impending failure, inability to make a decision, etc. Anxiety is accompanied by an increase in the heart rate, an increase in blood circulation, an increase in blood pressure, an increase in general excitability, a decrease in sensitivity thresholds, and the acquisition of negative emotional coloring by previously neutral stimuli.
Anxiety as a personality trait is subdivided into specific anxiety (as an example: test or interpersonal) and generalized (general), changing its objects with a change in their significance for a person.
Anxiety and fear should be distinguished. According to one approach, fear is a reaction to a real, concrete danger, anxiety is a feeling caused by a vague, indefinite objectless threat, predominantly of an imaginary nature. In another approach, fear and anxiety are distinguished as experiences of threats of a vital and social nature, respectively. There is a third approach, in which fear is a fundamental emotion, and anxiety is a derivative of fear, combined with other basic emotions.
Sources of persistent anxiety, according to A.M. For parishioners, not only an external long-term stressful situation and an internal psychological or physiological source can serve, but also a combination of an external and internal source of stress with its subjective assessment. The state of fear – anxiety can be viewed as “the psychological equivalent of any conflict.” In this case, a conflict is defined as a contradiction between a person’s assessment of a situation as threatening and a lack of means to overcome (avoid) it.
Sometimes anxiety is seen as a result of internal conflict. The first such approach was followed by Z. Freud. He saw internal conflict as a contradiction between mental structures of a neurotic nature, one side of which is the unconscious. The libidinal (coarsening, sexual) instincts are repressed into the unconscious. Anxiety is caused by the affect associated with the defense of repression (strong emotional reaction).
In Russian psychology, anxiety as a manifestation of internal conflict was considered by V.N. Myasishchev. For him, internal conflict was a special combination of subjective and objective factors that violate significant personal relationships, accompanied by a stable experience of emotional stress. The intensity of this experience (in fact, the experience of anxiety) depends on the personal subjective significance of the disturbed relationship. A special role is played by the contradictions between the available personal capabilities and the requirements of reality. To prevent and overcome anxiety P.V. Simonov suggested that attention should not be paid to the correction of requirements or the reassessment (reinterpretation) of the situation, but to the provision of “Arms”. Problems according to Simonov must be solved because long-term preservation of intrapersonal conflict leads to the preservation and intensification of anxiety.
D.S. McCleland associated anxiety with an internal conflict of a self-evaluating type and made it dependent on the harmony of self-image. The presence of contradictions in the image of “I”, disharmonious ideas about oneself, leads to a decrease in the “power of I”, to frustration and, as a consequence, to the experience of anxiety.
The great Carl Rogers viewed anxiety as an experience of a state of stiffness, tension with an unconscious reason. The actual experience of the individual, which could pose a threat to his “I concept” (the totality of the individual’s ideas about himself, his emotional attitude towards himself) is repressed into the unconscious. In consciousness, anxiety manifests itself as a symbol of a threat, which is a reflection of the incongruence (inconsistency) of the “I-concept” and actual experience. This incongruence can penetrate consciousness, and the actual subliminal sensation of the possibility of this penetration gives rise to anxiety. Anxiety is a signal that a person distorts the perception of reality in order to maintain a familiar idea of himself. People experiencing a conflict between “I-real” (the idea of myself as it is) and “I-ideal” (the idea of myself as I would like to be in ideal conditions) experience so-called “chronic” anxiety. To overcome internal conflict and relieve anxiety, K. Rogers offers “client-centered” therapy, as a result of which the client experiences feelings that were previously inadmissible in consciousness and expands his “I-concept” with them.
A number of studies have been devoted to psychological formations, in which anxiety is included as a component. In particular, they studied such a phenomenon as the “inadequacy effect” arising from the conflict between self-esteem and the level of aspirations.
The great Fritz (later Frederick) Perls viewed anxiety as the product of a conflict between two constant tendencies in personality development: the tendency to actualize the “self-concept” and self-actualization. The tendency towards self-actualization is the striving of a person to become what he is, and in striving to actualize the “self-concept” a person strives to become some ideal divorced from reality.
There have been studies by Soviet psychologists dating back to the Kurt Lewin school of anxiety associated with mismatched levels of self-esteem and aspirations. This mismatch impedes the choice of activity, goals of behavior, which leads to the experience of internal discomfort, tension, which in turn causes anxiety. The strength of anxiety depends on the mismatch of the altitude characteristics of the levels of self-esteem and aspirations. A.M. In the development of these views, the parishioners clarified that anxiety is associated with unfavorable types of self-esteem, with unfavorable ratios between the levels of self-esteem and claims, when the level of self-esteem is higher than the level of claims. The level of anxiety increases with the level of awareness of this ratio. The experience of anxiety depends on the influence of defense mechanisms. The conflict between the level of self-esteem and the level of aspiration leads to an increased desire for success, to difficulty in assessing success, to doubts, hesitation, ambivalence in assessing success, and this prevents the experience of satisfying needs and an increase in anxiety.