Episode 3: Embracing Stress as Opportunity - with Dr. Priyanka Upadhyaya

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This week on The Gift Exchange we’re getting intimate with stress!

I’m speaking with Dr. Priyanka Upadhyaya, a licensed psychologist in New York City. Priyanka is an expert on transforming stress into thriving in life.

Two elements stand out about Priyanka’s approach. First, she integrates modern science with Eastern wisdom and practices. In her own journey, Priyanka felt compelled to go beyond talk therapy to manage her stress and health challenges. She started working with her body through yoga, mindfulness meditation and pranayama (yogic breathing exercises) and found what had been missing in talk therapy. Incorporating the body is key when it comes to transforming stress. Stress is a physical phenomenon, not only a mental one. Priyanka’s approach is comprehensive - she blends talk therapy with mind-body techniques and creative action. The result: you become transformed from the inside out in a way that honors your entire being.

Second, Priyanka views stress as an opportunity for growth. Our default conditioning is to fix stress, cope with or get rid of it. Stress is a hard wired response. And it points to what we really care about. Priyanka questions our judgments about stress. Why is it bad, wrong or not ok? She advocates for a growth mindset around stress. One where we understand that stressful circumstances are calling us to actualize more of our potential. She helps clients live into their positive potential and guides them in creatively working with stress. As we transform our stress, we likewise transform ourselves.

As a woman between two cultures (like me), Priyanka is a wonderful resource for those who want to transform the stress of acculturation.

Stress is a part of life. There are so many kinds - financial stress, work stress, relationship stress, health stress, family stress and so on. Our relationship with stress often goes unexamined. If we embrace stress as an opportunity, we can expand through it instead of collapse under it. Listen to this episode if you’re ready to do just that!

In this Episode

  • Sources of stress and what it means to take a holistic approach when working with stress [01:16]

  • Going beyond talk therapy and incorporating Eastern wisdom, mindfulness meditation and yogic breathing into therapy [4:02]

  • Stress lives in your mindset and in your body [06:14]

  • Working with your body and physical experience to rework your relationship to stress [07:25]

  • Fixing vs transforming your stress [08:48]

  • The upside of hard wired stress responses [09:40]

  • Managing work related stressors by focusing on core values and listening to the language of stress [11:33]

  • How Priyanka helps clients transform work-life balance [17:33]

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