Book Review: Stressaholic by Heidi Hanna

Hi my name is Holly and I’m addicted to stress. Or so I recently learned while reading New York Times bestselling author, Heidi Hanna’s newest book. In Stressaholic, Hanna explores what stress is, what it does to our brains and our bodies and how we can become so addicted to stress that we believe we are thriving when in reality we are wreaking havoc on our every system by operating at full throttle on ‘survival mode’ and causing unnecessary damage to ourselves and those around us and in turn limiting our ability to learn, grow or produce our best work. I am not afraid to admit, I used to be one of these people. I would wait too close to deadlines and I would let everything pile up, the mail, assignments, bills, chores…you name it because I was under the impression that I worked better under stress, I strived in the pinch. Ever since I could remember I was always overextended and hyper involved. I belonged to probably 30 student groups between high school and college, a member of a sorority, I (almost) always made time to work out, tried to see friends, had a job (or two), and finished school. I thought I was getting the biggest bang for my buck and taking advantage of every opportunity. Well…maybe, maybe not. In reality I was barely getting by. Sure I still met deadlines, and I still had good enough grades but what toll was it taking on me? What was happening inside? I was running on empty. I was gaining weight, I was unhappy, sure I felt important and needed but at what cost? I was addicted to my stress. It was what gave me “energy” (or so I thought), it was the propellant that got me from one scheduled minute to the next. I’ve since learned that that isn’t really true at all. Essentially I was running on a sort of primal fear, my brain was perceiving danger and firing accordingly. I was wearing myself ragged because I was powered by stress not rest, not repair or any of the other motivators Hanna discusses. Like many of us, I was “neurochemically dependent on sources of stress to provide us with the stimulation we need to maneuver through life.” (xx)

Luckily for me, college was a few years ago and I’ve gotten much better about taking time for myself. Because of these experiences and the fallout I learned how to deal and recognize what a body needs to truly be happy and healthy but in a time of great personal change and responsibility in my own life, Heidi Hanna’s book couldn’t have come at a better time. I believe this 161 page owner’s manual, if you will, will be a helpful tool in my next period of high demand while I take on an internship opportunity and continue to write and maintain my full-time job. Now I know I can do it because relaxed, organized people who have a ‘full tank of energy and a positive attitude’ know that they have enough; enough time, enough patients, enough support, and enough energy to find time to get work done and take care of themselves.

From the very beginning you can tell that to Hanna this is personal, this is her recovery too, she isn’t another hack just trying to sell you something. Hanna is trying to help you because once upon a time, she was the one that needed this kind of help and as she says, like any other addiction, recovery is a lifelong battle. Stress is Hanna’s demon and she walks you through five steps to take back your life and assert yourself into a place where you finally can take a breath, feel good, and do what you need to do to be the best and most efficient you. Hanna shares many stories from her past and her personal struggles with stress as well as her own personal coping style that help the reader feel not so alone in her journey to a healthier relationship with stress and really, themselves in general. During the introduction Hanna explains that there are two main adjustments that must be made in order to “break free from stress addiction. First, we need to recalibrate our operating system by replenishing necessary energy at the most basic levels: chemical and cellular. We must then reprogram our lifestyle by rewiring our habits of thought and behavior.” (xx) It certainly doesn’t sound easy ‘recalibrate your cells’ but as you read on it becomes clearer that the basic root of the idea is that you must stop. Take a deep breath and do it often. You need to demand time for yourself, you need to believe you are worth it and you deserve to live a life fueled by positive energy, good food, healthy relationships, fulfilling work…you must change your mindset from always searching for more; like you don’t have enough of the things you need because that is what causes stress. People respond much better to someone who knows how to take care of themselves inside and out. If you’re on the fence about whether you have the time or the desire to take hold and change your life for the better, remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish, it is critical. “…We are better able to serve our friends, families, clients, and communities when we are healthier and happier. It is essential that we be responsible for the energy we bring to each moment.” (50)

In order to become that healthier and happier you, you must make a commitment to openly completing the five steps of recovery: Rest, Repair, Rebuild, Rethink, and Redesign. One of the great things about this book is that not only does Hanna walk you through why each step is important but she also tells you how to execute it. Each step comes with options and ideas you can try to find what works best for you. To go along with the steps, Hanna incudes ‘stepping stones’ to help you with your success, these are each a meditation that you can either read and perform yourself or you can visit her website for a guided version. Imbedded throughout the text, Hanna also includes helpful links to websites and smartphone applications you can download to keep tools you need right at your fingertips. Don’t forget to look in the back of the book as well, there is an entire section devoted to further reading and more information on many of the topics covered earlier in the book.

In her chapter on Repair, Hanna includes something I think is so important and often times underrated in the fight against addiction; she includes a section on diet. And no, not the kind where she is trying to get you to lose weight for vanity sake or because excess weight is another thing causing your body stress but she gives suggestions for the kinds of foods that power your brain and send the right chemicals through your system to keep you focused and relaxed. She explains, “If you eat healthy, real foods most of the time, you are getting greater return on investment with regard to quality nutrients.” (93) Plus dark chocolate and red wine are suggestions so how can you go wrong?

There is so much information in this book and it is presented in a very accessible way, but for me the part that struck the most was Step 5: Redesign. This is where I believe the heart of the book lies. Step 5 is where you take what you have learned and you firmly cement it in your life, this is where your power comes from. Hanna writes, “If we wait to make changed to our personal routine until life makes it easier for us, then it’s never going to happen. We must therefore take responsibility for doing the best we can despite our circumstances.” (140) In this step you put it all together, and by doing this for yourself you are allowing others to do the same and encouraging a shift in the way people live and work. She helps you establish personal BEATs, or Boundaries, Expectations, Attitude, and Time to help you “…create a healthy rhythm that supports our energy replenishment strategies to keep our tank full, our brain out of conservation mode, and our system strong enough to be resilient to stress.” (143)

Once you have ‘filled your tank’, a metaphor Hanna often uses, you can use your overflow to help your friends, your family, your clients, and your community better. It may sound like a dream but you may be able get there (or get closer) with the right attitude, personal commitment, a willingness to try, and this book. Between Heidi Hanna’s steps, meditations, mantras, and exercises I am sure you will find something you will relate to, to help streamline and enhance your life by giving you new tools and strategies to help you cope with and learn from your stresses.

Share small business news, blogs and social media tips with Project Eve’s community of small business owners and entrepreneurs today. Our contributors come from a wide range of backgrounds; so whether you are a small business owner, social media strategist, financial adviser, serial entrepreneur, or write an amateur blog we urge you to contribute a blog to our 500,000+ community today. For more information, please refer to our Content Submissions Guidelines.

Add a Blog


  1. Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I in finding It really helpful & it helped me out a lot. I am hoping to give one thing back and help others such as you aided me.

  2. Good day! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading through your articles. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same subjects? Thank you so much!

  3. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me and my neighbor were just preparing to do a little research on this. We got a grab a book from our area library but I think I learned more from this post. I’m very glad to see such excellent info being shared freely out there.

  4. Thanks for the various tips contributed on this site. I have realized that many insurance agencies offer buyers generous special discounts if they opt to insure a few cars together. A significant number of households currently have several motor vehicles these days, particularly people with old teenage kids still living at home, and also the savings upon policies might soon mount up. So it pays to look for a great deal.

  5. Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking the time and actual effort to make a top notch article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.

  6. Hmmm, yup no doubt Google is best in support of blogging but currently word press is also pleasant as a blogging as its Search engine optimization is nice defined already.

  7. whoah this blog is fantastic i love reading your articles. Keep up the great work! You know, a lot of people are hunting around for this information, you can aid them greatly.

  8. certainly like your web-site but you need to check the spelling on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very troublesome to tell the truth nevertheless I will surely come back again.

  9. I like what you guys are up to. Such smart work and reporting! Carry on with the excellent works guys. I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my website. :)

  10. I will right away grasp your rss feed as I can’t to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Kindly allow me realize in order that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

  11. Thanks for every other informative site. The place else may I get that kind of information written in such an ideal method? I have a project that I am simply now operating on, and I’ve been on the glance out for such information.

  12. Exceptional post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Kudos!

  13. There are actually a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a nice level to deliver up. I offer the ideas above as general inspiration however clearly there are questions like the one you bring up where an important thing might be working in trustworthy good faith. I don?t know if best practices have emerged round things like that, however I am sure that your job is clearly identified as a good game. Both girls and boys really feel the impact of only a moment’s pleasure, for the rest of their lives.

  14. I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out proper here. The comic strip is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish. nevertheless, you command get bought an nervousness over that you want be handing over the following. ill surely come further previously once more since precisely the same nearly very incessantly within case you shield this hike.

  15. Hello there, You’ve done an excellent job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they’ll be benefited from this website.

  16. Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your content seem to be running off the screen in Firefox. I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know. The design and style look great though! Hope you get the problem fixed soon. Thanks

  17. Thanks for the something totally new you have revealed in your writing. One thing I would really like to discuss is that FSBO associations are built over time. By bringing out yourself to owners the first weekend their FSBO is usually announced, prior to the masses start off calling on Monday, you make a good relationship. By giving them instruments, educational elements, free accounts, and forms, you become a good ally. By using a personal fascination with them as well as their circumstance, you generate a solid relationship that, many times, pays off if the owners decide to go with an adviser they know in addition to trust – preferably you actually.

  18. Thanks for your helpful article. Other thing is that mesothelioma is generally due to the breathing of materials from mesothelioma, which is a carcinogenic material. It really is commonly found among individuals in the building industry who may have long contact with asbestos. It can also be caused by living in asbestos protected buildings for an extended time of time, Genetics plays an important role, and some folks are more vulnerable to the risk when compared with others.

  19. If you are ready to watch humorous videos on the net then I suggest you to pay a quick visit this website, it carries genuinely thus comic not only movies but also additional data.

  20. My developer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the costs. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on a variety of websites for about a year and am worried about switching to another platform. I have heard good things about Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it? Any help would be really appreciated!

  21. Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your site? My blog site is in the exact same niche as yours and my visitors would definitely benefit from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Thanks a lot!

  22. You can definitely see your skills in the work you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. All the time go after your heart.

  23. My spouse and i have been very peaceful that Edward managed to finish up his inquiry out of the ideas he acquired through the web page. It is now and again perplexing to just find yourself giving away information and facts which usually some other people could have been making money from. We remember we need the website owner to be grateful to for that. All of the explanations you’ve made, the straightforward web site menu, the relationships your site assist to instill – it is all fabulous, and it’s assisting our son and us understand that topic is exciting, which is very indispensable. Many thanks for all!

  24. Great – I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your site. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs and related information ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, website theme . a tones way for your client to communicate. Nice task..


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here