Keep Calm CBC Radio special on handling stress wins Gracie Award

Woo hoo! Today we learned that the CBC Radio network special that Manusha Janakiram and I produced last year on the science and business of handling stress has won a Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media.

The Gracies are quite an honour. The name comes from Gracie Allen, the legendary comedian and entertainer who worked alongside her husband, George Burns, and the awards “recognize individual achievement and exemplary programming created by, for and about women in all facets of media and entertainment.”

🎧Listen to Keep Calm

Credit: CBC Graphics and Shutterstock

Our show was about the modern obsession of calming down—how to do it, and whether the tools and technology we’re being sold to handle stress live up to the hype.

I got really interested in this a few years ago, when I realized I was quite good at ramping up to power through a stressful situation — a muscle you flex a lot as a reporter on deadline — and not so great at ramping back down.

At the start of the show, I tell the story of that moment, which involves being pregnant, in hospital, with instructions to relax and no idea how to do that.

If you do get a chance to listen, don’t miss ~4:35 where Manusha’s brilliant sound design brings the physiology of the stress response to life.

There are piano chords, lion growls, and a special audio treat for the runners 🏃🏾‍♀️

Strapped up to biofeedback sensors measuring my stress response at Moment Mediation in Vancouver. Credit: David Horemans/CBC

Women and stress

Now, our show wasn’t exclusively for or about women, but there’s no doubt stress plays a big role in the lives of women.

Surveys have shown women are more likely than men to report they’re under a great deal of stress, their stress is on the rise, and it’s hurting them physically and emotionally. Especially true, no surprise, for groups struggling to balance work and family.

And maybe because of that — or coincidence, I don’t know — when we went looking for strong, interesting, accomplished guests to talk about stress they were predominantly women. Medical experts, entrepreneurs, a badass cave diver … women. 

So grateful to our bosses — Alison Broddle, Shiral Tobin and Havoc Franklin — for this chance to make some radio, and it’s a thrill to have it honoured in this way.

Here are a few of the news stories that came out of the same project:

Credit: Jill Heinerth

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