The physician who prescribes communication, awareness and self-healing
Neha Sangwan is not your average doctor. She advises organisations such as Apple, American Express and Google on culture, stress, and more.
At Heartful Academy we love those highly skilled experts that somewhere along their journey decide to break ranks and become living bridges between domains that are traditionally kept separate—it is a brave move. We all know it is not easy to step out of the line and transcend the limitations of our upbringing and professional background.
As a first generation American with Indian immigrant parents, Neha attained degrees in both engineering and medicine. She completed her residency and practiced as a hospital doctor. After a decade, Neha had achieved a lot—yet a fear of failure continued to propel her forward.
In order to take care of as many patients as possible, Neha fueled herself through 36 hour shifts with energy drinks and candy bars. Gradually, her everyday experience included headaches, throat constriction, insomnia and physical exhaustion. Until finally in 2004, she burned out.
Neha embarked on a new type of healing journey—this time it was focused on herself, instead of her patients. It took her on an adventure that expanded her perspectives on healing and health—such as hiking the mountains of Bhutan and studying with integrative medicine healers. As she returned to work, the profound truths she had discovered transformed how she interacted with patients. Once she had stabilized them physically, she spent an extra half an hour asking them questions that helped them connect the dots between their mental, emotional, social and work stresses and their physical health. Much to her surprise, she began receiving different kinds of appreciation letters and cards. These ones spoke about how grateful her patients were because they no longer needed their anxiety, sleep and blood pressure medications that they thought they would be on for life! These transformative moments between a patient and doctor—sacred moments as she refers to them— changed not only her personal trajectory, but also how she viewed her role as a healer. She began leading Self-Care in Healthcare workshops for her physician, nursing and administrative colleagues with astounding results.
She wondered if there was a way to empower patients—long before they ended up in the emergency department. This led her to begin coaching hospital leaders as well as teams, and she eventually expanded to organizations such as Apple, American Express and Google. She has shared her story on the stages of TEDx, and published a highly-rated book, TalkRx: Five Steps to Honest Conversations that Create Connection, Health and Happiness. The book provides practical tools to manage anxiety, anger and challenging emotions and teaches you how to have authentic conversations. Dr. Neha collaborates with everyone from teens to top executives. Her work is centered around healing the root causes of our stress, thereby solving our problems and not needing to be on many lifelong medications!
“We have come to believe that using short-term fixes over and over again—somehow makes them long-term solutions” Neha Sangwan, MD
In this session Neha addressed questions that are deeply personal, and at the same time, completely universal:
1) You have worked very hard to become a doctor, and we need hospital physicians more than ever. What is it that makes you want to help people in another way than the medical profession?
2) Communication and awareness sound good, but can they really replace medication?
3) You speak about making an 18-inch journey from the head to the heart. For a doctor that sounds rather unscientific, so can you share why you are passionate about this message?
4) What bridges do we need to build? And what do we need to realise, in order for humanity to truly thrive?
5) What has required the most courage in your own transformation journey? Have you experienced any resistance to your work/message from your former colleagues and friends?
6) How do you work with organizations such as Apple and Google ?
7) What is the most damaging belief and behaviour in businesses today? And how can more organizations become healing for people & the planet?