In this fast-paced world where doing more is highly encouraged and there is no enough room to rest, stress and wellbeing naturally became quite an important topic on the agenda. But what is it and what are key misconceptions about it?
In this episode, I invited the topic expert Sander Gremmen who is the owner of the company Crystal Clarity. The company supports people to reduce stress with the help of technology. And, as Sander says:
“We want people to care as much about their body battery as they care about their phone battery”.
Notes of the podcast:
- What is wellbeing and why everyone talk about it now?
- What is wellbeing at work?
- How wellbeing is it different from stress? Or is it the same thing just a different side of the coin?
- What is stress?
- What are the biggest misconceptions about stress at work?
- Everyone’s unique response to stress and what is causing stress.
- How do you know what is draining you and what is not, especially when we have so many misconceptions about what is stress to us?
- How do we know we recovered and what do we need to recover?
- What is a recovery? What is the difference between rest & recovery and what are good recovery tips?
- The difference between bad stress and good stress.
- What is your best tip to manage stress?
- What are the trends and the future of wellbeing at work?
- What is your best tip to make the world a better place?
Wellbeing and stress
Hello and welcome to business lounge podcast. Episode Five. Today with my guests Sunder Hammond, we will tackle the question about wellbeing and distress, including main tips and misconceptions about stress and well being management is such an essential part being a business owner or working in a corporate role. It doesn’t matter. This is one of the key foundational parts to be successful. So hello and welcome sander. Oh, it’s so nice to have you here today.
Thank you very much.
So Sunder What is your job and how did you get it?
My company name is Crystal clarity. And what we do we measure people’s body with technology. What are we measuring exactly is heart rate variability that gives us insight in activity in autonomic nervous system. And that shows us when people are stressed and when people are recovering. I started my company one half years ago, we quickly focused on well being energy management, stress management, that is something that I also did before for companies and I was always focused on quiet the mind and have more rest in the body. I also am a martial artists for around 24 years. Wow. So they will learn how to breathe, how to deal with pressure. I also saw the distinctions between what is causing stress how you can be relaxed even if there is pressure, not that I’m using any physical activities when I’m coaching or training people, but I can explain exactly what it’s about. So that’s how I got into this.
Oh, that’s why you look so calm all the time when I see you.
Yeah, the outside. I’m very cool.
So Sunder, let’s tackle that big topic and big buzzword called well being, which is so popular nowadays. And it’s so popular in the companies. It’s so much on the agenda, what is it and why everyone talks about it now?
Yeah, it’s an interesting topic, because there are many different views about it. Also many models that describe it slightly differently. But in the end, it’s all about the same thing. It’s about our body. How much stress do we experience, it’s about our mental well being, psychological stress, but also emotional stress. And that occurs in many different areas of our lives. So well being for me, if I would describe it, it’s about happiness. It’s about being healthy and have enough energy to do the things that you love to do.
So let’s talk specifically what is well being at work. What does that mean? And what does it define?
Well being at work for me is that people feel happy at work and To be happy, you need to have some freedom to do the things that you really love to do. So there’s a huge responsibility for the employee, but also for the employer. It’s really about the right person on the right spot. At the other hand, it’s also about health. There are many jobs, where people also can get back problems, for example. So also taking care of the employees that they that they are healthy enough. And for me, it’s also about energy management. And nowadays in a modern work life, we don’t have any moments where you really recover. And we have a lot of symptoms that people have too much chronic stress. And that is what we also see in our measurements. And that’s what we also want to to change so that people have a better balance between stress and energy that is draining and recovery and energy that is recovering process. Yeah, it’s it’s like a, like a smartphone, you always want to make sure that your your smartphone is working. And that’s why we always do our best to find a spot to charge our iPhone on time. And what we do we want to do exactly the same thing with the body. Always make sure that you charge it on time.
Yeah, it’s such a glare comparison. So how is it different with a stress? Or is it the same thing, just different side of the coin.
A stress is a part of well being in the body, everything is connected with each other. For example, alcohol addiction is causing stress because alcohol is creating a stress hormone. But a game addiction, for example, doesn’t always have to create stress. Maybe what we can see is well people are gaming too much. They get irritated, but maybe they aren’t. But what people have that are addicted to gaming for example, they do it late in the evening and that’s why their sleep parents are disturbed and that is affecting Then next workday. So it’s a part of well being, I would not call it exactly the same.
So can you elaborate more? What is stress?
Stress is a physical reaction in the body. We have stress hormones in a stress hormones release in certain conditions. But stress is in reaction in the autumn autonomic nervous system. We also call it the gas pedal. It’s the moment that we are focusing our spending energy on something. And that’s why stress is not a bad thing, because we need stress to focus to give a presentation to solve complex problems.
So what are key and main misconceptions about stress at work, in your opinion?
Well, the main misconception is that stress is related to work. There is an assumption in life that we drain energy at work and that we gain energy when we learn in our private life. But it’s actually not true. If we look at if we measure We see that private life is as draining as their working life. And sometimes even more, sometimes even more, especially when you have children, especially if young children, for example, and you, you don’t get too much sleep because of them. And sleep is has a huge influence on us. Besides that, also what we drink and eat has a lot of influence on us. So there are many different things that can influence us. And people think stress is related to work and that’s not true. So to give an example, when two people have exactly the same job, this exactly the same working conditions, but Person A had a very nice sleep last night and Person B woke up many times had broken night. The next day, they are in the same circumstances with the same task Person A can feel excellent and doesn’t feel any work. Pressure is just in the flow and Person B can experience a lot of work. pressure. So that’s also why work pressure is very subjective. There’s not a real thing. So everything is influencing us. And there’s no one cause. Another misconception is, people think that stress is bad. But stress is only bad when we have for too long time, or we have too much high peaks, without any recovery breaks. But actually, stress is a very normal response in the body, we need stress to wake up. We need stress to focus, we need stress to understand somebody. It’s just a function that we have to perform. And of course, we need stress to survive. Only those circumstances were very important in the past, but we don’t have them right now. But still the same reaction in the body is still in our current life, but not because of real fear. But because we create stories in our minds that are causing stress, for example,
yeah, the beers are not chasing us anymore. No, no. Our mind does right.
Oh, mine does it For example, I sometimes talk with people and they say, Well, I don’t want to share a thing that I they’re bothered about at work with my manager. And then I ask them, Why yes, because I’m afraid that my manager will be irritated by it, then awesome. But how do you notice because the only reason that people think that will happen is because they created a story in their mind that that will happen, and it gives a bad feeling. So people really have to learn to trust the feeling. But it’s about following your intuition. That’s a good thing. But following your emotion is not a wise thing to do. So in that case, I would say to the participants, if you feel that you create a story in your head and creates an emotion, that it doesn’t feel good, then it’s actually a good thing to do. If there’s a deep intuitive feeling, then it’s maybe not a good thing to do. But the chance is very small, and it’s circumstance like this, that I just described.
So in other words, you say everything that requires somebody kind of activity, it requires a certain level of stress, like even to focus or to move.
It depends. It depends. Not everybody is reacting in the same way. And it’s very interesting. For example, some people are reading a book and they recover. Some people are reading exactly the same book, and they are draining energy. It’s the same with with social media, I saw one of my own measurements that I was recovering during scrolling on Facebook, for example. But for most people that is very draining, we don’t know exactly what makes the difference, but we know that there are differences and that is something that is measurable.
So how do you know like, what is draining you or and what is not? Especially when you say that we sometimes have misconception? What is stress to us?
Yeah, well, we help people to really measure the body to first make them aware. We use some technology that people wear on their body for a few days and after that, we would have a smartwatch and we just tried To measure what is causing stress, and what are the moments that people are recovering, we make people aware of that. And the moment that they are aware of it, I asked them to let go of the technology and learn to feel it and just use technology for well as a guiding mechanism just to point out, okay, what do I feel and what does the technology show me, but at a certain moment, I want people just to feel what is happening in their body, that is something that we are completely disconnected from, because we have quite mental jobs. So our focus is mainly focused on our head and not so much on the body.
Right. So we don’t know how to manage our body and where to listen to the signals of the body.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Yeah. So you mentioned that recovery thing is very important thing. Yes. How do we know that we recovered? And what do we need to recover? If it’s as well, different from everyone gets even more complicated, right?
It’s very important to make a distinction between arrests and recording. worry. For example, many people tell me Yeah, when, when I’m watching Netflix, I’m recovering. But actually what they mean they are resting. So in their mind, it’s called. But what we see is that when people are watching the screen, most of the time, it’s stressful and not so much a recovery moments. The same with going to the gym. People say when I workout, I feel that I release my stress. Well, in a way, I understand it, because you might get very peaceful. But at the same time, when you are exercising, you need stress. It are actually very high levels of stress that you use when you’re exercising because you want to perform. But that’s a way to strengthen your body to deal with stress. So that’s why going to the gym is a good thing. It’s helped you, your body to become stronger and deal with stressors that you experience in your life.
Yeah. So what is recovery? Like? Can you give examples of what is recovery so we understand what you mean and Difference between rest.
Yeah, well examples of recovery. Also this depends on on each person because everybody is reacting differently. But for most people meditation is a very good thing to do to recover, but not for all people. The same for walking in nature. Reading a book, spending time with your children like quality time, cuddling, physical touch is a very good way to relieve stress and to recover. So cuddling, having sex are great things to do at work, taking regular breaks. So don’t work for for four or six hours in a row. Work for what works for you. There are many different methods but work for 40 minutes or 50 minutes and take a break and a break should be without your smartphone without talking to colleagues about work, but just walk outside do a breathing exercise for example, or talk with your colleagues about To find things that are ways to recover, what also works very well at work is to manage your breath. I think that’s the most important thing. Learn how to brief most participants. I ask, What What is it? What is the deep breath, and they are pointing to the navel. But that’s not really a deep breath. Of course, I understand that your lungs are around that area. But when you lungs are completely filled, they put down your organs. And that’s why if you have a really big deep breath, you feel it very low in your belly. So I learned people to breathe and especially at what times they need to grieve, and also to manage their their energy.
So interesting. So how do you know that you recovered? Because in this fast paced world, as you say, we don’t have brakes at all, and it doesn’t seem that world is built for us to encourage the brakes. So people probably don’t have a habit to know that they recover to recharge. So how do you know that and maybe some tips there. I
actually should put it the other way around, probably would not notice it when you are recovered, because you are just performing and you feel that you can focus that you can deal with emotions, you just in a flow, you’re just doing what you want to do. When you don’t manage your energy. When you don’t recover at a certain moment, you better we will be come to low your body battery. And at that time, your executive functions of the brain will get less energy, that means that it will perform less and autonomic brain will get much more energy because it’s in a survival mode. And what you will experience if you are in that state is that it’s more difficult to deal with emotions. It’s more difficult to focus to focus on the group benefits instead of my own benefits. It’s very important when you’re collaborating with people so we will be less productive by there are studies that shown that we Answer questions 50% less accurate. Wow. So it’s it’s a single study, we should not take too serious because it’s just one study, but it’s it’s a study that is aligned with many other studies about our executive functions when we experiencing stress, and they all show the same results that there’s a correlation between them. Interesting. Yes.
So you talked about bad stress and good stress. Can you explain a bit better was the difference between them.
And that stress, also called chronic stress is a high level of stress that continues for many hours or minutes. Good stress, when we look at our measurements, it will create a peak, but it also will go down quite quickly. Uh, once I did a measurement on myself, and I discovered I was doing a certain type of work that I truly didn’t like. So it created a lot of It high peaks of energy, I was a little bit annoyed by it. I was not looking at my stress results at that moment. At the end of the day, I came home. And I looked at my stress results. And that was the very clear explanation why I was so exhausted. Because after that specific task, my energy levels are my stress levels. Were still high, even though I did I did completely normal work and I normally like to do so it’s affecting a lot of other things during the day. So that that is an example of that stress. What I also call that stress is when do we have a continuous pace of stress without any recovery breaks? Because that will affect your your mood and your sleep, for example, but also your cognitive functions and immune system and your immune system? Yes, yeah.
What is your best tip to manage the stress?
My best tip to manage the stress is is to really look at your daily will and especially How you are managing your energy. For example, a lot of people have a busy day with a lot of meetings, they come home, they quickly eat, they maybe have children where they have to take care of and maybe after they want to go to the gym just to get some peace in their mind to relax, but all those activities are stress for even though that going to the gym is positive stress, it is stress. So it is draining your battery. So for me it would be learning how do I manage my energy during the day and that differently for everybody? What is also included? How are we dealing with with our technology, for example, how we are dealing with a human interaction because we are in a modern life and we don’t relate so much to each other anymore Like we used to. And we know that conversations physical touch has a lot of effect on our body. in a positive way,
yeah. So what do you think? What are the trends and the future of well being at work?
I think that we will have to explore what what the line is between work and private life. I already see that right now, because for a employer, it’s very important that employees are healthy and vital and happy. But our mental well being issues for examples like addiction, anxiety, adepts, that is influencing an employee. And as an employer, you want to help the employee because if you help them, they will become more productive. They will be less sick, but most importantly, you have a happy employee engagement. Yeah, and a great one. So that’s great. So I never doubt about the intention, but it’s a big bucks because as an employee, do you want to share those things with your employer and if you share it are people able to Do we have that information because people make all kinds of assumptions what that means. So I think that we will explore that boundary about how far can employ a go to to help the employee, I think we found a solution for that, to find a mix to let the employee explore themselves, what is influencing them, give them direction to take action on it. And we create the sense of urgency by showing the data, why it’s important to act even though if they don’t share with us that they have depth for example, based on data, we can still show them what is causing stress. And if they don’t show it with me, they can still see Oh, wait a minute. That was the moment that I was stressing out about a bill for example. Or if you have a game addiction, or debt was the moment that when I was gaming, and this is the effect on my sleep, so I don’t have to notice a coach. So there’s one thing about finding the boundary of a thing that I think will happen in the future is that we will use more technology. Now a lot of startups that are creating technology to improve well being the will be shifted between, between those that those technologies that really serve people and technologies that if we will use them, we will become more robotic actually, because they are also technologies that are in development that people can put on the body that gives certain vibrational signals to relax the body. But is that what we want is that I don’t believe in that direction. I think the the most human thing that we can do is teach people how to recover and relax.
self awareness, self awareness. Exactly.
Yes. So what is your best tip to make the world a better place?
Yet the best tips to make the world a better place is about becoming more aware of yourself. We already talked about well being that’s becoming more aware about what is going on in your in your brain, what is going on in your body, but it’s also about awareness about who am I and how do we like to build I think that will be one of the most amazing Things that we should learn,
and how will that make the world a better place?
Well, what I noticed is that when people are less stressful, for example, and when people know themselves better at a deeper level, they can deal better with different situations. So they will not be come very stressful when somebody is shouting at them, for example, they will just relax. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have an emotional reaction only that emotional reaction will not last for a very long time. So they will be very aware of their own behavior. What we also see is when people are more relaxed, their executive brain gets more energy. And that’s why we are better at self reflection, for example, and I think self reflection is one of the most important things to have. Because that moment of that ability gives us the opportunity to learn and also to reflect on our own behavior.
Yeah, and then you make better choices and you create better things and you relate with people Basically,
exactly, exactly. Yes.
So thank you for being here. Thank you for sharing your story and your knowledge with us how people can find you.
People can find me on my website, www.crystalclarity.nl people can find me on LinkedIn. I’m showing a lot of content on LinkedIn. That is Sunder Herman. I’m always open to getting messages and to answer people’s questions.
I hope this conversation helps you to define better what well being or stress is for you, or at least to get next steps towards that because to create a better world, first you need to know and realize what kind of world you want to live in.