Stop Hacking and Start Healing: Keys to Stress, Trauma, and Harnessing Women’s Gifts in Business and Leadership with Brain Expert Dr. Heidi Hanna

Brain expert Dr. Heidi Hanna gave the best definition of stress I’ve heard, “Stress is what happens when demand exceeds capacity.”

It beautifully frames our conversation about Patriarchy Stress Disorder (PSD). Demands on “liberated” women keep growing, while our capacity is compromised by the millennia of ancestral trauma of oppression. Our capacity is constantly overwhelmed, resulting in high stress levels that women are running.

Heidi further explains, because 95% of our unconscious brain activity is dedicated to tracking threats, as long as women don’t feel safe, our capacity remains compromised, making it very challenging, if not impossible, to truly play big and let our talents shine full out.

That’s how PSD holds us back and compromises the power of expression of our work in the world. It also keeps driving up our stress levels.

Another great quote from Heidi, on why we subconsciously hold onto stress, how it becomes a comfort zone and an addiction: “When people are experiencing uncomfortable emotions… Stress is a great distraction… a numbing agent.”

While disturbing statistics are telling us that 90% if not more of all doctors’ visits are stress-related.

Healing PSD and other kinds of trauma would reduce the constant hyper-vigilance of our nervous systems, the levels of stress we’re running, and free up capacity to play full out in our zone of genius.

Heidi and I geeked out on a lot of hot topics through the lens of neuroscience and trauma:

  • Sensory sensitivity and highly sensitive people: why they’re awesome, and how to honor the vulnerabilities that come with these superpowers

  • Stress lens: what it is and why it matters

  • How stress, trauma, and sensitivity interplay with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks

  • When you know better but you can’t do better

  • Setting boundaries and better utilizing energy

  • Having just the right amount of stress to stimulate growth and recovery time to replenish battery

  • The gifts of sensitivity for creativity, intuition, spirituality

  • Women and stress

  • Ancestral stress

  • How stress is coded through nature and nurture

  • How relationships can be key to healing

  • Empaths

  • Male and female brain patterns

  • How female leadership improves the bottom line

  • Preventing burnout

  • How your available resources increase when someone is sharing the burden with you

  • Signs and symptoms of stress

  • Why it’s not helpful to be comparing our stress to others, as we always find someone who has it worse and overlook our own needs

…Bottom line and one more killer quote from our amazing guest, “We need to stop hacking and we need to start healing.”

How’s that for a call to action?

Thank you for joining us for this powerful conversation. If you found it valuable, please share this episode with your friends. And please share with us in the comments one aha moment that stayed with you.


Heidi Hanna, PhD is Chief Energy Officer of Synergy – a company providing brain-based health and performance solutions to individuals and organizations and the Executive Director of the American Institute of Stress. She is also a Founding Partner with the Academy for Brain Health and Performance. She has been featured at Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women in Business Summit, ESPN Women’s Leadership Summit, and the Million Dollar Round Table, and is the author of six books including the NY Times bestseller The SHARP Solution, Stressaholic and Recharge. Heidi is a Certified Humor Professional with the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor, although she won’t admit she’s funny.

Connect with Heidi:

Follow her on Twitter.

Like her on Facebook.

Visit her website.

Get Heidi’s special gift for you:

She’s offering immediate access to her Recharge Tool Kit, including guided meditation, relaxation music, and funny videos. Click here to get it for free.


Dr. Valerie Rein is a psychologist, women’s mental health expert, and business consultant who helps people achieve the best ROI by achieving the best mental health—without therapy. Dr. Valerie specializes in uncovering the hidden traumas that hold hostage people’s best work, relationships, and well-being, and effectively heals them with a powerful mind-body methodology. She holds an EdM in Psychological Counseling from Columbia University and a PhD from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. Dr. Valerie is an author of Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Inner Barrier to Women’s Happiness and Fulfillment and a sought-after speaker at conferences and companies committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, leadership development, and unlocking people’s potential.

Would you like to have Dr. Valerie speak to your audience? She can share with them:

– Why despite having checked so many the boxes of accomplishment, high-achieving women are still dissatisfied, and why it’s not our fault.

– What secretly drains 90% of your energy and productivity and how to reclaim them.

– The missing piece to the upper limit problem and a solution that ends your big leap struggle.

– Why fighting against your inner critic, self-doubt, and anxiety backfires and how to turn your inner adversaries into your strongest allies.

– The biggest untapped resource of a woman’s personal power, why it is locked up, and how to set it free. PS It is also an instant antidote to stress and burnout.

And so much more…

The book is coming! Download a free chapter today.

Patriarchy Stress Disorder: The Invisible Inner Barrier to Women’s Happiness and Fulfillment will be available in a few weeks! Stay tuned. In the meanwhile, whet your appetite with a delicious free chapter.

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