11 Mar 2017

Dr Neha Sangwan: stress, communication and healthcare

From Saturday Morning, 9:06 am on 11 March 2017

As a young physician, Dr Sangwan says that the busier she was, the more important she felt in the world.

Then 13 years ago she had a burnout – and realised ten years of studying healthcare hadn’t taught her self care.

Neha Sangwan

Neha Sangwan Photo: Twitter

“Every one of us has an equation that we know gets us through those stressful times. 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.”

Dr Sangwan went on to develop an 'awareness prescription' - a series of questions which can help people 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 a heart attack?
  • Why now? Why not two years ago? Why not three weeks from now? Why did your body need to get your attention in this moment? What’s the message?
  • Since hindsight is often 20-20, 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.

She will be a keynote speaker at the worldwomen17 conference on March 17-19 in Auckland.