Welcome to the game, the lead podcast. This is the first of a three part series wrapped around the topic of how we can reduce stress and gain a higher level of resilience, both for ourselves, but also for our teams. I'd like to start this episode with a practical example, maybe, you know, or have experienced the following situation. You're in a meeting might be a meeting with high stakes, some pressure, some difficult questions. And of course, you know, you act your best in the meeting. However, when you leave it and then five minutes, 10 minutes, maybe 20 minutes go past, you have a feeling and a thought like, ah, why didn't I say that? Oh, why didn't I just explain it this way? That would have been much easier if you've ever experienced that this podcast could be something for you because that's the level of seven or eight, maybe even nine out of 10 on the maximum amounts of stress we can experience. Do we notice it? No, usually not. In this part of the three-part series, we're going to have a look at what stress is and what implications it has on teams and corporate productivity. If we have stress or if we work with ourselves and our teams to remove stress. And the second part, we're going to deal with strength of mind and look at what we as individuals can do to reduce and ideally remove stress from our business life and then how we can help team members do the same. In the third part, we're looking at how we can be proactive in generating teams that naturally do not stress as much. And ideally if we do it really well, completely remove stress from business life. Let's jump in. The first thing we need to understand with stress is it as an option, pressure and stress are two different things. Pressure comes from the outside. It can be a senior manager leaning on you, pressuring you. It can be team members being resistant, which generates a pressure can be peers. Anything that's challenging in an organization can be pressure. And stress is one option. We have to react to it. Other options are of course, a solution orientation, relaxed, no structured thinking. However, our brain tends to play us some tricks, especially the subconscious mind here and likes to react to it with stress. It's like a biological natural default behavior to anything that is pressuring us. And why is that? What, what actually happens there? Well, stress is nothing more, nothing less than a fight and flight reaction. It is a reaction of our mind and our brain with aim of our survival. And if we understand that we can understand why the different things happen under stress, stress activates exactly the same systems in our body that are there for our survival. So the same ones that let's say in the stone age, we're responsible for our survival when having to deal with things like saber tooth tigers. And if we can understand how the body reacted to saber tooth tigers like real dangerous to our life, um, we understand exactly how it reacts to pressure in the business world today. So let's imagine you're sat there in the stone age, in your cave, having a nice lunch and along comes the tiger. Who'd like to eat lunch too, potentially you. So what would we need to do in that situation? Well, we're going to need to fight and flight, right? So we're going to need to get out of the situation as quickly as possible. Now, where do we need energy to be able to get out of that situation where, you know, arms and legs. So the body instantly switches two processes. Number one, it raises the heart rates quite considerably, potentially. Maybe you've been in a business meeting and notice the heart's beating. And number two adjusts. Our blood pressure went to release this blood pressure in arms and legs, making the vessels have a larger diameter, higher volume and squashes them together in other parts of the body. So you've got more blood in arms and legs pumping faster. Now the body is made to do that. It's just not made to do that hundreds of times a day, which can quickly happen. I mean, all you need to have happen is wake up in the morning, see an email with two red exclamation marks on it and think, oh dear, what? Now, maybe from a very important person come to work. There may be, there was an incident you need to go to post motor meetings or have intense meetings with customers. And all of those can be continuously releasing stress reactions, and we can have hundreds of them, thousands of them throughout the day, without even noticing them. That's the dangerous bit we hardly ever notice it. So that would mean that hundreds and thousands of times a day, our blood pressure is being changed and our heart rate is being changed. And you can imagine a blood vessel a little bit like a garden hose. That's them being squashed together and released just a lot more than it's meant to. And if you do that, you squash and release a garden hose or any rubber hose for years that there's going to become poorest. And the same happens with our blood vessels over time. And that means that we get like little cracks at them. Let's take this a step further. So we don't just need blood in the arms and legs. There needs to be energy in the blood. We've got two main energy sources that get activated here. That's fat and sugar. Talk about the fats. So our body releases more fats into the bloodstream, which then circulates and doesn't get used because we don't use much energy when we're stressed. And now certainly not as much as if we would be running away and like fighting a tiger. So the fat stays there and doesn't get used. And then you have the combination of the two. You've got the cracks in the blood vessels, the fat in the blood, and, uh, the higher fat level in the blood then ends up getting clogged in the little cracks in the blood vessels and builds up over time and leads to cardiovascular diseases. There is even an entire area of medicine called psycho neuro cardiology, which deals with this phenomenon. They apply strength of mind, techniques to patients that have produced premature cardiovascular diseases and help them become healthy again. Yeah, because if you remove that stress, then this process doesn't keep happening and it gives the body a chance to recuperate and they can become medicine free, uh, after a while of practicing exactly what we're going to work on in the next podcast. So the sugar in the blood, the second thing that happens well, it raises our blood sugar and blood sugar needs to be reduced. Or we, you know, in the long run, you get some very negative effects from that. So the body then produces insulin to reduce the blood sugar and insulin gland in the stomach is made to do that. Just not hundreds of times a day, maybe even thousands of times a day without noticing it. So it can wear out quicker. And that can lead to diabetes type two, which is also called old person, diabetes in Germany, which is normal at a higher ages, but not very normal at younger ages, 30, 40, 50, there is an entire area of medicine that deals with this. It's called synchro neuro immunology. And they teach patients that have developed premature diabetes type two, how to control their stress level. The aim is that they become independent from medication and they're very successful at it. So reducing stress is also a great protection against premature cardiovascular disease, premature diabetes, very valuable thing to protect ourselves from now. Let's look at an other phenomenon. Maybe you know this from yourself or you've seen it in others. What happens to many people when they go on holiday? Well, in the first couple of days, some of us get sick. The question of course is why does that happen? And the answer is, is stress as a main cause for that. And why does that happen? Well, all we need to think is from a logic perspective, if there's a saber tooth tiger, they're trying to eat you, what's more important, uh, dealing with a cough and a cold or running away while running away is going to be the main choice. The body knows that as well. So what it does is it puts the immune system into a special state, which yes, under stress will stop illnesses like coughs and colds and flus from breaking out mostly. However, it doesn't put the full effort in to kill them. So once we then go on holiday, you know, the first day, second day, third day, we get relaxed. Our body goes into a regeneration mode, reduces the immune system even further. And then these viruses or bacterial infections can break out. If that happens. It is a sign that there's been stress over weeks and months, uh, continuous stress at quite a high level. So that could be assigned to say, let's work on removing the stress cause it has great health benefits. Now let's get back to the first question of today, right? At the beginning of the podcast, we talked about being in a meeting with some pressure and the really good ideas come 5, 10, 20 minutes after the meeting. Now, why does that happen? Well, we get back to the same question. What would be more important if there's a saber tooth tiger there that's a real danger. Is it running away quickly or strong, logical reflective thinking, thinking through options, weighing pros and cons. Yeah. I think you can see where this is going now. Uh, it'd be much more important to very quickly take action to protect ourselves. So what the body does is it also reduces the blood flow to the frontal lobes of the brain, the areas of the brain that are representing higher cognitive thinking, reflective thinking, it basically reduces them quickly and it can even nearly switch them off completely. And we don't notice it, uh, within milliseconds, the capacity for logical structured creative thinking can go from a hundred percent down to 20, down to 10 and even get close to zero. The issue with this though, we don't notice it. So many people report even under stress that they feel alive and awake. And yes, of course they do because there's a lot of adrenaline and blood flow going on there. However, our full creative capacity goes down. So what are the implications of this knowledge for business? Well, in a very fast moving industry of FinTech and payment where maybe organizational structures aren't perfect processes. Aren't perfect. And of course, because things are getting developed very quickly. You're many mistakes happen and challenges happen that we're all happy to solve and work on. Um, it can lead to an entire workforce, a large parts of it continuously under pressure. And with that, most people react to pressure with stress and stress means that the cognitive capacity goes down considerably. So we can have an entire organization of people, um, acting all day long at maybe 2030, or even less percent of their actual cognitive capabilities. And what can that lead to? Well, it can lead to a considerable amount of mistakes being made more than they would with a hundred percent cognitive capacity, which then of course take additional time to solve, which then again, raises the pressure further. It can be a spiral that continues. So we end up spending and investing much time into resolving things that might not have happened in the first place. Second implication is communication. Now, if one person is stressed, then the communication tends to come from a fight and flight direction. It becomes more and more difficult to control our communication and interactions with others because the bits of the brain that would do that is at a very reduced function. So that means that our communication, the impulsive communication can be more dominant, stronger, maybe blaming showing lots of frustration in the more extreme cases. And that thing gets perceived by the other parties as dominant and frustrated. And if they're also under stress, then they react back from the same perspective from the fight and flight perspective. And we can quickly end up in lengthy confrontational discussions about responsibilities, about how to do something. It can quickly end up in long. Yes, but conversations where both parties keep finding reasons that their ideas should be done and others should be not, which don't really move things forward. So it can be quite an intense time waster there as well. Creativity. Well, in order to innovate, move forward and be ahead of the competition. Creativity is of course, something very valuable to us under stress and pressure. Creativity goes down quite considerably, usually unnoticed though. Many people say they have their best ideas under stress and pressure. That however is a false perception. There are plenty of studies that show that people who are stressed and under pressure, uh, considerably less creative, especially at problem solving. And finally health as stress has a very large impact on many of our systems in the body and makes it basically deteriorate quicker, uh, that can lead to lots of different issues later on in, and the fact that people, when they stress themselves, especially before going on holiday, uh, can then end up being sick on holiday, which means holiday isn't as relaxing and regenerating as it should be. Um, it can lead to a continuous spiral of ever-growing stress. And that leads us to the final for most people, most worrying part about stress, the burnout. Uh, if that happens, then it is a long lengthy process to regenerate and get back to a normal strength of mind that I really wanted to protect everyone in the world from ideally, I hope this inspires you to help protect your team and yourself from that. Because for all leaders that choose to take this path, reduce their own stress, raise their own productivity, improve their health, and then do the same for the team. So they become less and less stressed, more and more and more productive. Then the positive implications are also big. You can have a team that's, uh, you know, grows more together and has a sense of belonging because they are mentally strong and stress resistance. It can be fascinating and cool to be part of a team like that. So people stay longer. It unlocks innovation and creativity, stronger problem solving quicker problem solving. And of course the time savings due to the reduced mistakes and the improved communication, both in the team and with other teams can be considerable. I hope this inspires you to deal with this topic in more, maybe research for more for yourself and work out how to remove stress from your team and become one of those high performing teams that just don't do the stress thing in the next two podcasts. We're going to look at what we can do in those situations. So how exactly can we in the middle of a very intense day notice, stop and remove stress for ourselves, and then how we can enable a team to do the same.