Stress and Anxiety
Anxiety encompasses feelings of worry, nervousness, or dread. Although unpleasant, occasional bouts of anxiety are natural and sometimes even productive: By signaling that something isn’t quite right, anxiety can help people both avoid danger and make important and meaningful changes.
Anxiety disorders manifest in different ways, and are often diagnostically distinct. Generalized anxiety disorder is a chronic state of severe worry and tension, often without provocation.
Individuals suffering from anxiety may feel restless, on edge, and irritable. They may have difficulty concentrating or controlling their emotions. Physical symptoms can also include fatigue, trembling, trouble sleeping, stomachaches, headaches, and muscle tension.
Anxiety often involves worrying to an intense, excessive degree. Those worries can apply to any aspect of life, from social situations and family dynamics to physical health and professional concerns.
Confidence in one's value as a human being is a precious psychological resource and generally a highly positive factor in life; it is correlated with achievement, good relationships, and satisfaction. Possessing little self-regard can lead people to become depressed, to fall short of their potential, or to tolerate abusive relationships and situations.
People who experience a steady diet of disapproval from important others—family, supervisors, friends, teachers—might have feelings of low esteem. Yet the healthy individual is able to weather off-putting evaluations.
Each person's experience is different, but over the course of the lifespan, self-esteem seems to rise and fall in predictable, systematic ways. Research suggests that self-esteem grows, by varying degrees, until age 60, when it remains steady before beginning to decline in old age.
Self-esteem can influence life in myriad ways, from academic and professional success to relationships and mental health. Self-esteem, however, is not an immutable characteristic; successes or setbacks, both personal and professional, can fuel fluctuations in feelings of self-worth.