Saul Rosenthal, PhD

HEALTH PSYCHOLOGIST

Our lives are full of potential stressors — Situations that, rightly or wrongly, we believe we cannot handle. We respond to stressors with anxiety, the body’s emergency response system. Our hearts and breathing race, our muscles tense up, adrenalin and cortisol are released, blood is shunted away from the hands and feet to the center of the body, digestion is curtailed, attention hyper-focuses. This is the Fight or Flight response.

The optimism of a healthy mind is indefatigable.

—Margery Allingham

The system is terrific for keeping us alive in moments of sudden danger but becomes problematic if it is chronically triggered. Unfortunately, many people live with chronic stressors related to work, relationships, personal achievement and technology overuse. Over time, this can lead to a state of constant physical and mental distress:

  • Experiencing nausea whenever there is a big project for school or work
  • Turning down promotions to avoid the possibility of failure
  • Refusing to board an airplane
  • Worrying for days before any social activity about saying something stupid

Managing the moment

These are common experiences when anxiety undermines people’s lives. There are many ways that people try to manage their anxiety. These strategies tend to work in the moment of acute distress but have long-term negative consequences. Maybe you or someone you know:

  • Studies for tests or works on projects above and beyond what is necessary, skipping meals, sleep and other activities.
  • Avoids social activities.
  • Constantly worries, sometimes about one particular issue, other times about everything.
  • Feels the need to engage in rituals or repeat activities until they feel right.
  • Keeps away from school, work or other activities.
  • Refuses to fly, drive a car or even leave home.
  • Uses alcohol, drugs, food, the Internet or other distractors.

Living your life

Anxiety can run your life, but there are treatments that reduce or eliminate its hold. Anxiety is as varied as the people it affects, so I utilize a multimodal approach to the work. I use evidence-based approaches like Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness, Biofeedback or Neurofeedback. I also work with medication prescribers, schools and others to provide appropriate support. Together, we can break the hold anxiety has on you, allowing you the freedom to live your life as you choose.