Stress Addiction: The New Epidemic

From the Show: Dr. Taz Show
Summary: Why are we so addicted to stress?
Air Date: 3/28/17
Duration: 26:35
Host: Dr. Taz
Guest Bio: Heidi Hanna, PhD
Heidi-Hanna1As an experienced speaker, Dr. Heidi Hanna has been featured at many national and global conferences, including the Fortune Magazine Most Powerful Women in Business Summit, ESPN Women’s Leadership Summit, and the Million Dollar Round Table. She is founder and Chief Energy Officer of Synergy, a consulting company providing brain-based health and performance programs for organizations, the Executive Director of the American Institute of Stress, and a frequent lecturer at Canyon Ranch Resort and Spa in Tucson, Arizona.

Dr. Hanna’s publications include the NY Times bestseller The SHARP Solution: A Brain-Based Approach for Optimal Performance (Wiley, Feb 2013), Stressaholic: 5 Steps to Transform Your Relationship With Stress (Wiley, Jan 2014) and Recharge: 5 Shifts to Energize Your Life (Synergy, 2015).

Dr. Hanna is a National Board Member for Blessings in a Backpack, a Fellow with the American Institute of Stress, and she currently serves as editor of their quarterly publication, Contentment. Recently, Dr. Hanna created The Beyond Funny Project, a non-profit dedicated to providing resources and education related to the benefits of healthy humor.

Dr. Hanna holds a bachelors degree in communications from Penn State University, where she competed on the Big 10 softball team and received academic All-American honors. She holds a master’s degree in mental health counseling from Rollins College and a PhD degree in holistic nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health. Clients have included Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Cisco, Dell, Intel, Boeing, Proctor & Gamble, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Merrill Lynch, ESPN and Starbucks, as well as professional and amateur athletes.
  • Book Title: Recharge: 5 Shifts to Energize Your Life
  • Guest Facebook Account: https://www.facebook.com/heidihannaphd/?fref=ts
  • Guest Twitter Account: @heidihanna
Stress Addiction: The New Epidemic
Stress has become a buzz word. We tend to blame everything on stress, viewing it as something outside of ourselves that does something TO us.

This mindset puts you in a victim role. You're carrying around the weight of something you can't really even define. And, if you can't define it, you'll never be able to manage it.

Dr. Heidi Hanna would rather you look at stress as demand vs. capacity. There's nothing inherently good or bad about it; in fact, you need some stress to be able to function on a daily basis. But, you have to believe you possess the capacity to deal with it.

Of course, capacity is different for everyone and it impacts individuals in unique ways. 

Stress Addiction

Stress provides a reward reaction in the brain, similar to the reaction to drugs, alcohol, sugar, etc. The brain wants you to remember stressful situations so you don't encounter similar danger in the future. But, your brain starts to get used to being in a stressful state. 

That state provides the following five sensations: stimulation, information, connection, validation, distraction.

Validation comes from our stressed culture. The twisted societal view of the busier you are and the more stress you have, the more important you are. Time on your hands is interpreted as being "lazy." In actuality, you need downtime for your body and mind to recharge. When you view rest as bad, you may find yourself drawn back into the rush. 

Technology Spurs Stress

Technology has exacerbated the problem.

When change happens really fast, and you don't know what to expect, you feel out of control. Technology has a function of unlimited information, allowing for more knowledge than you could ever accumulate in your lifetime.

Kids are being impacted by the technological beast as well. Parents taking away an iPad may encounter the same kind of reaction as a toddler who has lost his pacifier.

We've created a culture of people who aren't comfortable with being still. Unlimited access via the Internet is like hooking up to an IV of a sugar solution. Your system cannot maintain the levels to regulate it, and you're creating an addiction that will be that much harder to unwire in the future.

Stress Detox

How can you detox and re-acclimate? 

Transform yourself to be more adaptable with these three approaches: recharge, rethink (start to develop a new mindset, stress as challenges instead of threats), redesign your "operating system." 

Also, recognize that wear and tear on the female brain is more common than in men. One of the hardest things for women to do is prioritize self-care. Eat a healthy diet, stay active, and get restful sleep. Self-care strategies are not selfish.

Finally, understand the role it's playing. Does stress interfere with you daily life? Is it hard to stop or control? Look at how connected it is to so many other problems in your life, mentally, emotionally and physically.