Listen to one doctor’s prescription for finding the deeper causes of stress and anxiety in our lives, and how we can work to overcome them.

Research shows that 90 to 95 percent of illness is either caused or exacerbated by stress. It is known to compromise the immune system and deplete the body’s ability to resist illness and recover from it.

As a young physician, US-based Dr Neha Sangwan discovered this the hard way. The busier she was, she says, the more important she felt in the world. Then 13 years ago she had a burnout – and realized ten years of studying healthcare hadn’t taught her self-care.

Dr Neha Sangwan: stress, communication and healthcare - Radio New Zealand National - Saturday Morning

This interview comes courtesy of Radio New Zealand.

In this fascinating interview Dr. Sangwan reveals what she has learned about stress and how we cope (or don’t cope) with it.

“Every one of us has an equation that we know gets us through those stressful times,” she says. “What is yours? Mine was two 16oz Mountain Dews plus a king size Snickers bar – and you could get me through 36 hours of taking care of other people, and not me.”

She now practices Yoga and Qoya (a dance/movement-based form of Yoga), and has developed what she calls an “awareness prescription” to aid physicians to go beyond simply prescribing short-term solutions to patients’ problems.

This series of questions can help get to the root of the stress that may have contributed to their illness: Why this? Why did this part of your body break down? Why now? What’s the message? What signals might you have missed along the way that you can see now? What else in your life needs to be healed when you leave here? If you spoke from the heart, what would you say to me?

Physicians don’t often feel they have the time or ability to inspire personal accountability in their patients, Dr Sangwan concedes. She calls this the "trillion-dollar question" of healthcare.

“What if we could do that? What if we could use that sacred time we have with patients at that moment when they’re afraid… what if we used that sacred moment very carefully and we partnered with them to inspire and engage them in in their own health and really help them down that path?”

Dr Neha Sangwan is the CEO and founder of Intuitive Intelligence.

This content is published under licence and in partnership with Radio New Zealand, one of the world’s foremost public broadcasters. To learn more go to

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