Episode 55

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Published on:

2nd Jan 2024

A Guide to Burnout Recovery with Dr. Neha Sangwan

Are you feeling overwhelmed, disconnected, or unproductive all at once? Chances are, you’re experiencing burnout. It’s quite a prevalent challenge in both our personal and professional realms. However, there are transformative strategies that can help you reclaim your happiness.

In this episode of the HAPPINESS SQUAD Podcast, Anil Ramjiani and Ashish Kothari welcome Dr. Neha Sangwan, a mechanical and biomedical engineer, as well as an internal medicine physician. After a decade of caring for hospitalized patients, she realized she could be of service to people long before they show up in the emergency room. In 2008, she left her partnership and founded her own company, Intuitive Intelligence.

As an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and executive coach, Neha combines the art of communication with the science of medicine to transform workplace cultures. She combines the science of medicine with the art of communication to bridge health, happiness, and performance. She's a three-time TEDx speaker and the author of "Talk Rx" and "Powered by Me," her most recent book.

In the conversation, Ashish, Anil, and Dr. Neha tackles the pervasive issue of burnout, dissecting its three core elements: exhaustion, cynicism, and ineffectiveness. 

Things you will also learn in the episode:

  • The Concept of Me, We, World
  • The Triad of Burnout
  • 3 Phases that Lead to Burnout
  • How to Cope with Burnout
  • The importance of self-awareness and emotional intelligence in fighting burnout

This is a must-listen for anyone seeking to understand and overcome the challenges of modern-day stress.

Tune in now and reclaim your inner happiness and well-being!

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Transcript

Anil Ramjiani:

Hey Happiness Squad, it's great to have you with Ashish and me as we host guests who are industry leaders helping individuals and organizations unlock inner happiness and flourishing. Are you ready to discuss burnout? You may already know this, but burnout is a wake-up call to get clear on what matters most to you and make a plan to get and stay in alignment.

up in the emergency room. In:

As an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and executive coach, Neha combines the art of communication with the science of medicine to transform workplace cultures. She combines the science of medicine with the art of communication to bridge health, happiness, and performance. She's a three-time TEDx speaker and the author of "Talk Rx" and "Powered by Me," her most recent book.

In this session, we discuss the triad of burnout and the three phases. What we discuss may actually surprise you. Your feelings of stress, anxiety, and your coping mechanisms may actually be draining rather than gaining you energy.

Neha, Ashish, and I share personal examples and specific tips that you can integrate from today to improve your well-being and not only prevent your burnout but also cite and address the same for the loved ones around you.

Join Ashish and me as we welcome Neha to the Happiness Squad podcast.

Neha, Ashish, it's a pleasure to be with both of you. Neha, thank you for taking the time to join us.

Neha Sangwan:

What an honor to be with you both. I've been really excited about this.

Ashish Kothari:

Such a pleasure. So much overlap, Neha, in our works, in the amazing things you're doing. This is going to be an amazing conversation. And I just want to pick up on the conversation before the conversation we were having. You said you've been asked to write a book on engineering happiness. So the first question is, what is your definition of happiness and how has that changed since your younger years?

Neha Sangwan:

When I was young, I spent the first three decades of my life leading from the outside in, and to me, the true definition of happiness is not always getting it right and not always having smooth sailing relationships and everything going great, but it is leading from the inside out.

And it's knowing what I value and using those values to make my decisions, even if some of them are a mistake or some of them don't go right, at least I've made those decisions based on what matters most to me.

So I would definitely say that, it's also my happiness comes from feeling aligned. So my body, what I'm thinking, what I'm doing, what I'm saying, what I'm feeling, they're all in alignment with one another. And I allow that way of showing up in the world to attract the right people to me.

Ashish Kothari:

Yeah, it's so beautiful. This notion of alignment, this notion of leading, living from within. Inside out 80 percent of the world lives outside in. This is research from Harvard around the stage of development. 80 percent live outside-in, and we're constantly hustling, working harder, longer, stronger, power, fame, control to be happier. And then we get there and then we start hustling again.

Neha Sangwan:

We wonder why it's such an empty experience.

Ashish Kothari:

We go from high point to high point and forget that the high points, if you added all of them, would make up less than 5 percent of our lives. So we might as well enjoy the journey. More importantly, define the high points from our inside out, because if you're enjoying the journey, then you are winning every day as you're walking forward.

Neha Sangwan:

The trick is shifting from when something doesn't go as planned or expected, not considering it something to control or change, but shifting into curiosity. I ask myself, "What was I supposed to learn here?" When I realize that an interaction or experience isn't going as anticipated, I sometimes say to myself, "I guess I wasn't supposed to get that job. It was just batting practice for when I get my dream job or my dream interview."

I reframe things, but not before I feel the disappointment. I allow myself to feel it, cry it out, yell it out, whatever I need to do. Then there comes a calm or a space where I shift into thinking, "What was that person or that experience supposed to teach me?"

Anil Ramjiani:

One thing I recall is the idea that every day is a great day. We wake up, we can eat, drink, sleep, and walk on our own two feet. Things may go as expected or better, or not as expected or worse. But every day is a great day. How can we remind ourselves of that?

We had Sri Kumar Rao a couple of weeks ago, and one thing I remind myself daily is the universe is my friend. If something didn't go the way I thought, it's not happening to me, it's happening for me. My switch is from worry to wonder.

As soon as you look up and not down, thinking about what you're missing, you see the possibilities. What you manifest is what you'll get back in return. That's a powerful insight for me.

Neha Sangwan:

Absolutely, and I like how you said it's from worry to wonder. I'm going to say it's from control to curiosity. I've spent a lot of my life as a doctor thinking, "No one's dying in this hospital on my watch," about controlling everything. And that is exhausting.

Ashish Kothari:

And delusional. Seriously, it's delusional. I work with a lot of CEOs and senior leaders, and they think they control everything. But 95 percent of what happens out there, you don't control.

You don't control how someone three levels down will execute, what the competitor will do, what nature will bring, like an ecological disaster. You don’t control the pandemic or the war that broke out in the Middle East. You actually do not control anything other than your actions. You do not control your outcomes.

We live in this constant state, and that's at the heart of so much of our stress and anxiety. We're trying to control a world that has gotten more volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. Why not live differently?

Neha Sangwan:

If we get down to the heart of it, what people are really trying to control is avoiding experiencing pain and disappointment, and not being surprised by whatever is happening. This is often our own unhealed trauma that we're trying to avoid feeling again.

Let me give you an example. When I was a young girl, in Indian culture, the extended family raises children. I was born and raised in Michigan, United States, and at three months old, my grandmother took me to Africa to live with my grandfather, who was stationed there for the United Nations.

I went for two years. When my sister and mother came to pick me up, I didn't know who they were. I felt like I had just been taken from my parents, who were my grandparents. It wasn't until years later that I understood that every time I said goodbye to a patient and their family, every time I got off a plane after a great conversation, or met someone incredible, I got tearful when leaving them. That was the unhealed abandonment of that two-year-old not wanting the world to abandon her again.

Our biology doesn't want to feel the discomfort of challenging emotions like disappointment, devastation. As soon as we feel those things in our lives, our amygdala records that and is constantly scanning for anything that resembles leaving. Often, the reason people become CEOs and get to the C-suite is their ability to command and control not feeling.

When you don't feel, you can be externally focused to the nth degree, because nothing shakes you from making next quarter's earnings or whatever it is. People have gotten addicted to a society that rewards them for creating in the external world.

Ashish Kothari:

It's beautiful, Neha. When we face conflict, sometimes we regress to a younger part of us, and we all have it. At the heart of it, if you look at Maslow's hierarchy, once our need for food and safety is met, the next level up is belonging. If you didn't belong, you didn't survive.

Today, loneliness is a big source of suffering and loneliness, worse for you than cigarettes. That element of connection and feeling like you don't belong leads so many people to hustle for worthiness through work.

Neha Sangwan:

That's what society has taught us. We have collectively used our minds to speed up the external world. The goal of every company is: faster is better, do more with less, profit over people. We're immersed in outdated beliefs.

Ashish Kothari:

This is at the heart of the burnout crisis we are encountering. My book, Hardwired for Happiness, started as from fear to freedom. I left my job at McKinsey because of my bigger ‘why’. We are in a space where we have a deepening crisis at every level, humanitarian, ecological, economic, political, because we are wired for fear. It's evolutionary.

Through our mind and actions, we've sped up the world, creating complexity. Our fear circuits are constantly on. We are triggered six to eight times a day by things we can't control. We are running on stress, adrenaline, and cortisol. The price we pay for this hustle of belonging and earning our worth out there is burnout.

ents for burnout, and in June:

Neha Sangwan:

One thing our ancestors had that we don't, in speeding up our external world, is that they listened to their body. They revered their heart racing, stomach turning intuition. They were turned inward. That's how they survived.

What we've done is a few things. We've sped things up externally, minimized and tuned out of our bodies, which has then caused us not to want to or know how to navigate emotions. When you speed things up outside, you're surprised, trying to control things, but don't want to deal with your emotions and don't pick up signals early in your body because you're so externally focused, you become me!

Ashish Kothari:

Exactly, Neha. Not only have we done that, but we have also created mechanisms that are easily accessible to numb the feeling instead of feeling it. Our ancestors didn't have thousands of shows to binge, readily available food, or alcohol. When you tuned in and felt something, you had no other recourse than to deal with it.

Neha Sangwan:

That's really key. It's a system, the way I think of things is me, we, world. It’s like ‘heal me’, and when I go deep in healing me, like for me, it was that abandonment, communication, learning to navigate my emotions as a child, but I didn't do it until I was in my 30s.

If I know what my greatest pain point is, then once I work on healing ‘me’, it becomes clear how I can serve ‘we’ and impact the world. But we can't do that until we start with knowing ourselves and being able to navigate ourselves.

When we are surprised by something, we've heard people say, "Don't surprise me." That's because surprise is a short-lived emotion that amplifies anything that comes after it. So, all of this leads into this: “I am a very good Indian child. I'm a mechanical and biomedical engineer, an internal medicine physician. I did what my parents and the Indian community wanted. I checked all the boxes.”

I was so tuned into everyone else's needs. I think that little girl never wanted to be sent away again. She didn't know why she was the one who was sent away, and why she had to go through that pain.

So I think I went into protective measures, where I realized maybe if I make the outside world really happy, I can stay, I can belong. But the trick is, when I turn myself into a pretzel to make sure you love me, you like me, I'm indispensable to you, when you do like me, it's not really me you like. It's a pretzel version of me. So I lose in the end anyway.

Growing up, my father really wanted a son. He ended up with three girls. He has a granddaughter and now a five-year-old grandson. He got his wish. I knew as a little girl that he really wanted a son and he wanted a son that was an engineer. I couldn't be the son, but I could surely be the engineer.

My mom longed to be a doctor, so I thought, okay, those two aren't mutually exclusive. We can do both. At 33 years old, I found myself in a hospital as a hospitalist. I had become an engineer, worked for Motorola in the nineties, went back to med school, and became an internal medicine physician. And here I am as a hospital physician, 18 hospitalized patients a day.

When that hospital was understaffed, I was the first one raising my hand to help. Why? I wanted to get an A and wanted everyone to think I'm indispensable. I walked in, it was the last day of my rotation.

,:

Ashish Kothari:

You were in a location where you interacted continuously through the day with a set of people, so that nurse could notice. In the business world, think about how many back-to-back meetings we are in, constantly jumping from one to another. Many times, the people you're interacting with might not even be able to give you the signs because we don't want to appear to be struggling.

Neha Sangwan:

Because we want to appear perfect, like we have everything together.

Ashish Kothari:

The most common answer when you check in is "fine." Even when we check in, we don't really check in because we don't want to, or we're too busy. I always invite my clients to really check in during those moments. Just take that moment to ask “how are you?” as a check in, and really check in. Check in to you, check in to them, sense it, so you can take action.

Neha, there are three signs of burnout that we can all check into and recognize if we are struggling. Talk to us a little bit about those three signs of burnout.

Neha Sangwan:

The triad of burnout is exhaustion – physical, mental, emotional exhaustion. It's not like you wake up fine in the morning and by the evening you're burned out. Mother nature and you are much more sophisticated than that. Physical, mental, emotional exhaustion has been going on over time, and you've been using certain coping mechanisms to adjust.

For example, you might start needing half a cup of coffee in the morning, and after a few months or years, you need two. Maybe it's needing a glass of wine after work to take the edge off, or the sugar caffeine buzz strategy, the Netflix binge strategy, or the snooze it off strategy.

For me in the hospital, to stay awake for 36 hours in a row, it was two ice-cold 16 ounce Mountain Dews plus a king-size Snickers bar. I'm not saying it's a good strategy, but it worked. And in that moment, it was better than me falling asleep and not taking care of the hospital.

When people ask if burnout is my fault, I say I contributed to my burnout, but it wasn't entirely my fault. I was ingenious in finding a way to go against my biology. What I want everyone to notice is how they get over that deadline. Notice the strategy that helps you push through when your body says no, but you need to say yes to the outside world.

Ashish Kothari:

I love that, Neha, and maybe an invitation to the listeners, because I see myself in you. I noticed something was wrong when my body started to shut down. My thyroid had shut down to 90%, and I now take thyroxine every day. I was muscling through it.

My colleague heard me at Starbucks at 6:30 am asking for a venti latte with three extra shots, which was my second drink of the day. This is the regimen we use to don our armors to fight the good fight. The first sign of burnout is exhaustion. If you take caffeine,

Neha Sangwan:

Which boosts your cortisol. There's adrenaline, the short-acting stress fighter, and then there's long-acting cortisol. Caffeine pushes your body to make more cortisol.

Ashish Kothari:

Which is corrosive. It allows you to take action in the moment but is so corrosive. Try not having caffeine, or have half of what you do, for the next ten days and notice how you feel. You will notice the exhaustion.

Neha Sangwan:

I'm not sure they need 10 days. Even if you do it for one day, you're going to notice.

Ashish Kothari:

Just one day. You heard it from Neha. One day.

Anil Ramjiani:

I'm 10 days off caffeine. Ironically, I'm sensing and feeling what you're saying. I feel calmer and I'm sleeping soundly at night.

Neha Sangwan:

If someone says that's too big of a thing to ask, have some green tea, which has about half the amount of caffeine as coffee. You want to bring yourself down. It depends on how loud of a signal you need from your body to believe. Some people need extremes. They're like all or nothing. If you know, that's you do the all or nothing and see what happens.

Ashish Kothari:

Others can taper it down. Just notice if you're exhausted. I think this is the big message. Talk to us about the second sign of burnout.

Neha Sangwan:

Sure. And one last thing there. Noticing you're exhausted and how your body communicates with you is important. Each of us has a unique language of physical signals that our body uses to communicate with us. Mine is throat constriction and a quicksand sinking feeling in my stomach. That’s how I knew I was really exhausted. Ashish, how do you know in your body that you're exhausted?

Ashish Kothari:

For me, it's brain fog. I start to not think clearly. Also, I feel tightness in my lower back, like everything else starts to compensate.

Neha Sangwan:

Anil, you're on a 10-day break from caffeine. What is your body feeling?

Anil Ramjiani:

I get brain fog and feel pangs in my chest, a bit of anxiousness. I weight train and run almost every day, but at night, I hit a wall and can't function. It's an emotional sensation that takes over.

Neha Sangwan:

All right. The first thing I want to make sure everyone knows is to get a clean bill of health for any new symptom or signal in your body. Don't jump to conclusions about it being burnout before you've gotten a clean bill of physical health. Then, if the doctor says you're fine but you don't feel fine, you can start thinking about burnout.

The first leg of the triad is physical, mental, emotional exhaustion. It's been going on over time, and you've been using coping mechanisms, but it's not getting better. In fact, it's getting worse.

The second leg of the triad is cynicism. It's like an undertow when you're walking on the beach. You can't see it, but you can feel it. It's when your own mind starts saying it doesn't matter how hard you work or how much effort you put in, it's not going to make a difference. This undermines your chronic exhaustion.

You may need and want connection but not have the energy to make it happen. This is called depersonalization, where we distance ourselves. It’s like, I start to distance myself because I can't care that much. I'm trying to conserve my energy so that I can continue.

The third leg of the triad is ineffectiveness. You start to realize you're not as effective at things you're usually good at. The triad of burnout is exhaustion, cynicism, and ineffectiveness. It doesn't happen all at once.

There are three phases: the alarm phase, chronic adaptation, and exhaustion. The alarm phase is like getting on a treadmill that's moving too fast. You might be irritable, defensive, have gut issues, or not sleep well. If this continues, you move into chronic adaptation, where being on that treadmill too fast becomes your way of living.

Ashish Kothari:

You've made it your norm. Sometimes people feel that if they don't, they'll get fired. Many executives think, "Isn't this what we signed up for?" But no, you didn't. And if you're operating there, you're operating at 30 percent of what you're really capable of, in addition to the high cost you're paying to yourself and your family.

Neha Sangwan:

Our biology doesn't work in a way that aligns with the world's expectations of exceeding expectations, being excellent, and doing more with less. Our biology requires rest and routine. We need to hold that paradox of doing good and doing well in the world while also including ourselves and our family in the equation.

The alarm phase, which was the surprising phase, moves into chronic adaptation. This is where you have cynicism, distancing yourself, socially withdrawing. When apathy starts coming in, when you're using more coping mechanisms just to get the same effect, you're in chronic adaptation.

Then it takes one more thing, like someone handing me the pager or that last phone call, to trip me into the exhaustion phase. I slide down the slippery slope of burnout to ineffectiveness.

I remember calling a psychiatric colleague and spending an hour with him. He told me I had become a people pleaser, trying to fill every gap in our hospital system. The culture was one of bullying, and the hospital's policies was to make a budget by understaffing to make numbers match. So that’s me, we, world.

So when someone asks if they are a failure or if it's their fault, I say it's a wake-up call. It's time to look at what strategies, people, environment, or job you may have outgrown. But when we go to places where we’re blaming people and we’re trying to project people they’re weak, all those judgements, all I say is, as a collective world, the pandemic taught us that invisible things matter, like emotions.

We learned through our global heart attack, which was the pandemic, that it's time to pay attention within us and around us, to become mindful of who we are, what we value, and how we're working and living in the world.

Ashish Kothari:

Doc, this is so powerful. I'm going to summarize here for folks. You covered a lot, and I want you to do this assessment right now. The three measures you mentioned are from the Maslach Burnout Inventory, a validated measure of burnout since the 80s.

People often overlook this. I had a call with an executive recently who was describing many symptoms of burnout. I asked him three questions, rated one to five, and he realized he was close to burnout or burnt out. So, friends, think about it. Do your own measure from one to five.

Neha Sangwan:

It's a spectrum, from burned out to fully charged at work and in life. I'll give everyone an additional assessment from my book tour for "Powered by Me." It's not the Christina Maslach double-blinded placebo-controlled trials, but it's an assessment you use not only with your brain but also with your body.

When you're saying everything's fine, but you're using a triple espresso to keep going, you also have to tune into your body. As you fill out the physical energy section, ask yourself: is my body tight, heavy, constricted, or is it open, relaxed, and at ease? You have to use not just your mind to answer something but also your body.

Ashish Kothari:

Tune into how your body is feeling, right?

Neha Sangwan:

Yes, and I will give you the assessment. It's at intuitiveintelligenceinc.com/burnout-rx.

Ashish Kothari:

We'll add that in our show notes. Think about where you are on your level of exhaustion. Do you feel what you're doing is not going to make a difference? Are you cynical? Do you feel depersonalized? And third, consider your effectiveness. If you feel you're getting less done despite working longer hours, these are signs you need to take action.

Neha Sangwan:

If you're listening to this podcast and thinking, "I don't even know what they're talking about tuning into my body," the first thing I want to say is congratulations. You are a master of the external world, having tuned out of your own body to perform in the world.

If you want to tune in, grab a smooth stone, an air pod case, a lipstick case, anything small and hold it in your hand. When something changes in a meeting, surprises you, or something unexpected happens, tune in and notice what's going on in your body.

If you can't feel anything, remind yourself, "I can feel this in my hand." Soon, you'll start noticing things like a tight jaw or tightness in your back. Tuning in, you'll want to know what to do with the discomfort in your body. It's going to speed you up.

Our world needs to slow down to speed up. We need to learn how to breathe through that discomfort. In "Powered by Me," I talk about soft belly breathing, not just for yoga, but to help discomfort and emotions move through you. Feel your ribcage, starting at your clavicle and moving down. Your ribcage goes all the way down to your back. The best oxygen exchange occurs at the bases of your lungs.

We often use a small part of our lungs. Your diaphragm, an umbrella-shaped organ below your lungs and above your stomach, flattens when you take deep breaths, triggering your vagus nerve. This slows your heart rate down, calms you, and opens up your creativity.

That's why off-sites work; they take people out of their environment and encourage slower, deeper breathing. Use gravity to ground yourself; feel your bottom on the chair, your feet on the floor. You can't spiral into anxiety about the future when you're in your body now.

Start small; bookend your days. In the morning, do one thing for yourself. For me, it's lemon water, celery juice, and my detox shake.

Ashish Kothari:

We need the recipe for that.

Neha Sangwan:

Done! I want to start my day connecting to myself and doing something good for me. At the end of the day, I soak my feet while watching a show to unwind. I use hot water with baking soda, Epsom salt, and essential oils like eucalyptus or lavender oil. This relaxes my whole body and helps me sleep well.

So I’d say, first, start by doing the assessment we've spoken about.

Second, tune into your body's unique language. And third, bookend your days with something kind and caring for yourself. Put a little bit of self-compassion in there.

Ashish Kothari:

So beautiful.

Anil Ramjiani:

I absolutely love it.

Neha Sangwan:

And Anil, before we go, can I give you a fun fact about all your working out? It doesn't really matter where you start to heal yourself because here's the end story: it's all connected, physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, all connected. All these energies are all connected, within us and between us.

So let's say someone was inspired by hearing you say that every day you work out. Let me tell you why that would be a great way for someone to just go for a walk each day. There's something called adenosine with three phosphates ATP. It's your body's energy currency. When you work out, you break adenosine and the three phosphates break apart to give you energy. That adenosine goes up to your brain and helps you sleep better at night.

Now, cortisol is really important because we were talking about cortisol earlier. Cortisol has to go up in the morning to wake you up, and then it has a decrease throughout the day. And by the end of the day, cortisol being low is what allows you to go back to sleep. So there's a rhythm, once again, a rhythm in the body.

Now, studies show that 20 minutes of walking or jogging 20 to 30 minutes of walking or jogging lifts your mood as effectively as an antidepressant. So let's say someone just said, “Hey, listen, I'm going to start by moving my body. You're going to sleep better. You're going to, your mood's going to be better.” It's all connected. And by the way, grab a friend, your social energy will be better too.

So what I really want to say is that it might sound really complicated. And where do I start in all of these things? What I'd say is when you do these assessments and you figure out where you're having a net gain or a net drain of energy on a physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual level. Start wherever you are most excited to start, whatever seems like the next best step.

Don't force yourself to go exercise if you feel like you're too fatigued to even get off the couch. Don't start there and then. Soak your feet in water in a hot bath of water, if that's where you can start. So those are the things that I would say are really important for people to know.

Anil Ramjiani:

This all resonates for me, Neha. I wear a whoop band, and it's ironic that we need technology to tell us to breathe deeply and monitor the strain on our body. We rely on data for quality sleep.

I advise everyone to find one thing that works for them to start their day. We've discussed this on the rewire program. The first thing in the morning shouldn't be reaching for your phone. Take a moment for yourself. At the end of the day, find a wind-down period. Neha, what you suggested about the foot bath, I'm going to do that for my wife tonight.

It's important to pick a wind-down approach to sleep better. Walking during the day, getting good sleep, and eating well are fundamental. Build sustainable habits. Our performance isn't based on how many hours we work. It's not sustainable. We need to focus on sustainable habits.

Build sustainable habits that help you be better because not only will it help you. Like you said, ME, WE, WORLD. That's what we need to start to focus on. So it's an invitation, my friends, to consider what we've just shared today.

You know, Neha, I'm going to be open with you, there's so much we wanted to cover. We did want to talk about your new book, Powered by Me. Maybe we can organize to have you back, because I do feel that what you talk about in there is great.

Ashish, you mentioned the overlap with the Rewire program, so folks, we encourage you to consider it. Why? Because pausing, breathing, forming habits, what Ashish and Neha are talking about are absolutely critical, giving the tipping point we're all at. So, that's the invitation. But Neha, we'd love to have you back. And any closing words?

Neha Sangwan:

Two things that I got from what you just said. The first one is to really recognize the sacred space that's happening when you're transitioning from your world of dreaming to your world of doing. Slow down there rather than speed through that experience.

Second, we need to partner with our bodies rather than push through them. And I love that your wife is one lucky woman to whom you go when you learn something new. Because of your natural tendency to care, to help her is also going to fuel you. And that level of connection and care and service in the world can only come from someone who is also taking care of themselves. And so your workout gives you the energy to be able to care for her, and it just really touched me. So thank you.

Ashish Kothari:

I'm blessed to have Anil as my partner in the happiness squad and what we're doing with the podcast. He's one of the most caring, giving human beings I had the chance to meet a year and a half ago.

We will have Neha back to dig deep into some of the additional practices she shared. Meanwhile, visit her website, take the inventory, and get the book "Powered by Me." It's filled with practical interventions and tips you can implement into your day. They are small steps rather than marathons. Because after all, the journey of hundreds of miles starts with the first step. There's a whole range of them, so pick the one that calls to you and start there.

Thank you for being with us, Neha, and thank you for the amazing work you and Raj are doing. We're blessed to have this connection with you.

Neha Sangwan:

I love that and I think the last thing I would say is if you're somebody who realized that you were in chronic adaptation or in exhaustion I would go to page 20 of my book and there's something called an emergency toolkit, and I would go there to just get some exercises to ground yourself right now.

If it feels like too much to read a book, if that feels heavy to you, if that feels like too much, maybe where you need to start is simpler, which is how do I get centered right here, right now?

And if you need those kinds of practices and then later on, you want to read the book, just try to distinguish, because you don't need to get really intellectual. What your body is telling you right now is that you're dragging. What we need to do is take care of you first, and on page 20, there's an emergency toolkit.

I created a website literally of videos and tools and all of that. And I think that's where you'd start if you discover through this experience that you're at a stage that you didn't realize you were, then what I want you to know is these tools, this powerful practical toolkit will be waiting for you. So let's start by really tuning in, knowing what we need, knowing that you got exactly what you needed right here. And when you're ready for the next steps, those will be here too. And who knows, maybe my next podcast will already be out.

Anil Ramjiani:

Absolutely. I think there's a lot there that folks should consider, and I love how you even acknowledge it because some people might be overwhelmed, but that's okay. That's the first sign, it is to start to look for help. It takes work, but the work is worth it. You're worth it.

Neha Sangwan:

If you're at the end stages, see a medical professional. You might need a prescription for time off, or medication to help you get back into your biology. Don't just do this on your own.

And a medical professional is a great idea if you're at the end stages, don't just do this on your own. You might actually need a prescription for time off. You might actually need an antidepressant, anti anxiety or sleep medication to knock you back into your own biology. So please, just because I'm a doctor, don't think that is in lieu of you getting what a doctor could give you if you need short term immediate help.

Anil Ramjiani:

That makes sense. Well, Ashish, Neha, it was a pleasure. Neha, we have those questions saved for next time. Until then, thank you so much. Ashish, always a pleasure. Lots of love and big hugs.

Neha Sangwan:

Thanks guys. What a journey. What a fun journey to be on.

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About the Podcast

The Happiness Squad
Welcome to Happiness Squad.

This is the podcast dedicated to helping you unlock your full potential by mastering the art and science of happiness.

We bring on the best leading experts on these topics to help you unlock your true potential and live with more joy, health, love, and meaning in your life.

Your host is no other than the star combo of Ashish Kothari and Anil Ramjiani who are on a mission to provide you with an unfair advantage to be the masters of your experience and leaders in your industry.

Get ready to be moved, challenged, and enlightened on this podcast. It may change your life.

Thanks for being here and joining the squad!
Learn more: https://happinesssquad.com/

About your hosts

Ashish Kothari

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Ashish Kothari is the founder and CEO of Happiness Squad, a company focused on democratizing happiness and touching a billion+ lives over the next 20 years and helping them live with more joy, health, love, and meaning.

Prior to founding Happiness Squad and writing his best-selling book “Hardwired for happiness”, Ashish spent 25 years in consulting, including the last 17 at McKinsey and Co, a premier management consulting firm, helping thousands of clients and their organizations achieve breakthrough performance by building new mindsets and capabilities.

Ashish is a trained ontological coach and a lifelong student of human thriving.

Anil Ramjiani

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Anil Ramjiani is an experienced senior leader at Nike, Inc., most recently as the Commercial Director managing key athlete partnerships and business with Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, and Marcus Rashford.

Anil's passion is grounded in empowering people, unlocking potential, and driving performance. He has worked in consulting and corporate across the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia acquiring over 20 years of experience in strategy, brand, and general management at IBM, Adidas, and Nike.

He created the podcast and platform Live. Breathe. Believe., to enable reflection, motivation, and inspiration for his peers. #Knowyoutobeyou!