“We must also never view social media platforms as a substitute for a genuine personal connection with someone”
I had the pleasure of interviewing David Brudö, co-founder and CEO at Remente, and an undoubted productivity guru. Despite being the entrepreneur behind a number of successful business that have sprung out of Sweden in recent years, things haven’t always been so easy for Brudö. He has battled depression and come out the other end determined to use what he learned about his own mental health to help others having created the app for personal and professional development, Remente.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your backstory?
I went from being a dreadlocked skateboarding socialist in my teens to working as a substitute teacher, a breakdance instructor and then on to study commercial law, before finding my true calling as an entrepreneur. After completing my law degree, I’ve done nothing but work in startups. I view entrepreneurship as about being a rebel and breaking boundaries, and I think most of us do it, not for the money but rather to make a change, do good, and build beautiful things that people love.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Some years ago, I found myself on the verge of burning out, struggling to determine my priorities and balance my own life with the demands placed on me by work. It was then that I began to notice just how big the issue of mental wellbeing was not only in Sweden but also globally, with mental health concerns being cited as the most common reason for sick leave. I also found that while professional help was available, there wasn’t a resource solely dedicated to preventative measures and to maintaining the wellness of the mind. During my journey towards recovery, I was fortunate enough to meet some really smart people, who had undergone similar experiences and, together, we realised that the issue we needed to address was not only impacting individuals, but also businesses and society as a whole. As a result of these observations, Remente was born to provide individuals with a way to exercise their mental strength and wellbeing, with a calm and soothing space away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
Apart from family and my all important downtime, Remente takes up the majority of my days now, and it’s really exciting to see the impact the team has had on a number people across the globe — without even directly talking to or meeting them. At our core, we are a wellness and self improvement app but we also get a number of testimonials from people with diagnosed mental or physical health conditions who have benefited from using Remente. Going forward, we are looking into ways of demonstrating and evidencing how the app can be used to safely help people with medical conditions.
Between work and personal life, the average adult spends nearly 11 hours looking at a screen per day. How does our increasing screen time affect our mental, physical, and emotional health?
One of the effects a digital overload has on our mental health is increased stress levels. As we multitask, switching from emails to podcasts to messaging, our bodies produce more of the stress hormone — cortisol, as well as adrenaline, which can overstimulate our brains and even disrupt our thinking. As well as a growing body of research suggesting that mobile phones have a negative impact on our attention span, increased screen time has also been found to have a profound effect on our ability to open up and communicate with others. This is especially worrying for younger, digitally native generations who have only ever known a way of life centered around technology.
Can you share your top five ways people can improve mental wellness and create a healthy relationship with technology?
- Try to cut back on using technology where you don’t really need it, a great place to start is with your smartphone. But don’t expect to go cold turkey straight away, it’s fine to do this gradually.
- Set yourself clear goals, for example check your phone for only five minutes, three times a day and keep it away at other times.
- Leave your phone at home when you go out for to socialize or go grocery shopping. This will help change your habits in small doses. It’s scary at first but very liberating!
- Remove apps and notifications that might distract you. So long as I had the Facebook app on my phone, I had to use it but once it was removed my need for Facebook, that I felt took more energy than what it gave, completely disappeared. If I decide to use Facebook now, it is on my terms, and having to log in via a web browser — rather than being grated instant access at the click of a button — is tedious, so I almost never do it.
- Tell a friend or partner to hide your phone and just get on with life. Keep it on silent and don’t check it unless you need to use it.
Between social media distractions, messaging apps, and the fact that Americans receive 45.9 push notifications each day, Americans check their phones 80 times per day. How can people, especially younger generations, create a healthier relationship with social media?
Depending on how active you are on social media and how much of your life you choose to display, sharing your details with someone opens up a big part of your life — your friendships, family life, photographs and history. Opening up your social networks gives people an insight into who you are, which can definitely be a good thing. But, in order to maintain a healthy relationship with social media, it’s always important to remember that many of us will carefully filter and curate what we display online, often wanting to appear more ‘perfect’ than we are.
We must also never view social media platforms as a substitute for a genuine personal connection with someone as, by leaving all communications online, we risk losing out on so much of the fun that can be had through direct, face-to-face interaction. What’s more, due to the way content is created online, we run the risk of losing sight of updates from friends that we speak to less often simply because the majority of our interaction may have been offline, hence the need to balance both.
80% of smartphone users check their phones before they brush their teeth in the morning. What effect does starting the day this way have on people? Is there a better morning routine you suggest?
Our morning routine is what sets us up for the day, it helps to stimulate our brains for a productive day ahead. Scrolling through our phones as soon as we wake up can have a negative impact on this, interrupting our state of flow and even leaving us feeling inadequate before the day has even started. I would advise beginning the day with three to five small activities in the morning that can be easily implemented, and sticking with this for a few weeks until they turn into habit.
One of the best things to do is think about what makes you feel happy and energised, and then go from there. If it’s physical activity, then maybe you start going to the gym or for a run in the morning. Alternatively, if you feel like starting the day with reflecting, then perhaps you should start journaling. If these sound slightly overwhelming then your activities could be as simple as drinking a glass of water, reading the news, or even just stretching to wake up the body. If you do feel that you need to check your phone, why not put a time limit on this and weave it into other activities to ensure your morning is well spent.
Can you please give us your favorite life lesson quote?
“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” It’s said to be a Japanese proverb and, for me, very much captures life, entrepreneurship and how I tend to approach everything I do.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
That’s actually what we are trying to do with Remente already. Despite the pitfalls and distractions new technology and digital devices bring, they are beautiful tools for democratization, making wellness information, practices and insights available to everyone, not just the few with vast amounts of time, money and patience. We know it’s impossible to supply a life coach or therapist to everyone who needs them, and so we created the Remente app in an attempt to grant everyone access to the tools they need to improve and maintain their mental wellbeing, regardless of who or where they are in the world.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
I am most active on Instagram and can be found on www.instagram.com/davidbrudo.