Podcast: Do Cell Phones Cause Anxiety?
Do you constantly refresh your social media feed? Are you checking your notifications more often than you’d like to admit? In today’s Psych Central Podcast, Gabe and psychologist Robert Duff have an enlightening discussion on how the information age has affected our mental health — but only if we let it. Dr. Duff explains how the overuse of social media is often driven by a fear of missing out and even a false sense of productivity.
So how can we work with the modern world rather than be controlled by it? Join us to hear specific tips on how to make social media the servant, not the master, of your reality.
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Guest information for ‘Robert Duff- Social Media Anxiety’ Podcast Episode
Robert Duff is a licensed clinical psychologist from Southern California. He is the author of the popular Hardcore Self Help book series and his most recent book, Does My Mom Have Dementia?. He also hosts a weekly podcast where he answers listener mental health questions and interviews interesting guests. When he’s not working as a neuropsychologist in private practice or creating content for his “Duff the Psych” persona, Robert can usually be found sharing a few glasses of wine with his wife or playing video games.
About The Psych Central Podcast Host
Gabe Howard is an award-winning writer and speaker who lives with bipolar disorder. He is the author of the popular book, Mental Illness is an Asshole and other Observations, available from Amazon; signed copies are also available directly from the author. To learn more about Gabe, please visit his website, gabehoward.com.
Computer Generated Transcript for ‘Robert Duff- Social Media Anxiety’ Episode
Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript has been computer generated and therefore may contain inaccuracies and grammar errors. Thank you.
Announcer: You’re listening to the Psych Central Podcast, where guest experts in the field of psychology and mental health share thought-provoking information using plain, everyday language. Here’s your host, Gabe Howard.
Gabe Howard: Welcome to this week’s episode of The Psych Central Podcast. Calling into the show today, we have Dr. Robert Duff. Robert is a licensed clinical psychologist and is the author of the popular Hardcore Self Help book series. He’s also a fellow podcast, hosting the Hard Core Self Help Podcast, a weekly show where he answers listeners’ mental health questions and interviews interesting guests. Dr. Duff, welcome to the show.
Dr. Robert Duff: Thank you so much for having me.
Gabe Howard: Today, we’re going to discuss anxiety and the modern age and more specifically, how things like technology and social media impact our anxiety and stress levels. I think that most people don’t realize that our modern world is causing us stress in other ways than just work, relationships and children.
Dr. Robert Duff: Yeah, I think at the very least, it’s different. I wouldn’t say better or worse, but certainly the Internet and definitely social media, I think, are kind of some of the biggest changes to society and the way that we interact since the industrial revolution or the printing press or something like that. So absolutely, it’s different.
Gabe Howard: It seems like if you read back through history, every new thing was going to be the end of the world. And I remember reading about the printing press and how the printing press was going to destroy the world as we know it. And it was fascinating to read because, of course, we all love the printing press. We think that the printing press is one of the greatest revolutions in the world. And yet at the time, it was very much maligned as being a bad thing. Which leads me to my question. Is that this. Are people just saying, oh, no, social media and technology is the downfall of the world and it’s sort of, you know, the sky is falling syndrome.
Dr. Robert Duff: I think that people can fall on either side of it. Sometimes people think that it’s a very, very, very negative thing. For me, I’m like, well, it doesn’t matter either way, it is what it is. And it’s sort of growing up in this period of time. I think that one of our major, for lack of a better term, developmental tasks is to figure out how to manage all this stuff, because there’s just a lot. The jump up from the printing press gives you access to information that you never had before. And this is that like times a gazillion. So there’s just a lot in knowing what to do with that, how to manage that. I think it’s a really, really, really important thing.
Gabe Howard: Social media is just the, it gets blamed for everything, it seems nowadays. What role does social media play in anxiety in 2020?
Dr. Robert Duff: There’s good and bad and neutral, you know, it is what it is. I think that one of the good things about it is that you have unprecedented access to connecting with people and finding resources. If you’re to go on Twitter say, and say, hey, I’m having extreme anxiety. Can somebody help me out? And a bunch of people are going to come and they’re going to send you resources. That’s how a lot of people find my books and stuff like that, for instance. So there’s, it’s a great way to connect with people. It’s a great way to find resources. It also, though, feeds into sort of the compulsive nature of anxiety. Anxiety, you tend to get this sense of unease like you want to know the answer. Whether that’s is the situation dangerous or what’s going on in the world or how does this person feel about me? You really, really, really want to know the answer to that. And social media gives you a way to either get those answers or at least fulfill some of that compulsive desire to do that. So, when you want to know what’s going on in the world, all you have to do is refresh your social feed. And you see the news there these days. A lot of people, myself included, don’t even turn on the TV or go to CNN.com when we want to get news.
Dr. Robert Duff: I just go to Twitter and see what’s trending. And that’s going to help me understand in the immediate right now sense what’s going on, which is a good thing and a bad thing. I always tell people your knowledge of what’s happening in this moment, especially if it’s something like a natural disaster, a shooting, a political event, things like that. Your knowledge of it does not change the fact that it’s happening at all. But there’s this, with how much information is available, there’s just this weird guilt that sort of sets in where if you don’t know what’s happening in that exact moment, you feel bad about that or disconnected somehow. And so, you know, by refreshing your feed, by checking those things, it relieves some of that. They release some of that tension, which is going to lead you to do that more and more and more. So it can become a thing that’s just so absent minded. You’re constantly either checking notifications, which is a whole different story, or just refreshing social feeds, trying to see what’s going on. And that can certainly play into anxiety, especially if it’s an issue that you already have.
Gabe Howard: It’s fascinating that you talked about refreshing the social feed to learn what’s going on, to release anxiety on one hand. I completely agree with you. I have done it. I have sat there on my phone when something a big event has happened. And I’ve just hit refresh, refresh, refresh, you know, going through like four different Web sites going on, like you said, Twitter or Facebook to see what other people are saying or what other people are posting. And in that moment, I feel less anxious because after all, I’m up to date.
Dr. Robert Duff: Right. Right.
Gabe Howard: But then again, I’m completely enmeshed in it.
Dr. Robert Duff: Right.
Gabe Howard: I’m not doing anything else. I’m not focused on anything else. I’m letting other things like work, family, friendships, joy go, because I’m just, I’m so engrossed in this story. And then I often learn, whether it be days, weeks or months later that some of the information I got was just false. There’s so much pressure to have the scoop that people say the police questioned Gabe Howard. He’s a suspect. And in the meantime, Gabe Howard was the Jimmy John’s delivery guy. And now the whole world believes that the poor Jimmy John’s delivery guy is involved. Which I imagine creates even more anxiety.
Dr. Robert Duff: Yeah.
Gabe Howard: How does that all flow together?
Dr. Robert Duff: The other thing to think about with this is how it doesn’t allow you to turn off with anxiety. A lot of people. Their brain is already going to be searching for signs of danger. Answers to things. It’s going to be sort of always on. And it’s an active effort to try to get that to slow down, to rest, to recuperate. Sustained anxiety over time is really exhausting. And then you integrate something like this where you’re getting the immediate information that’s constantly changing. So you have to keep up with it. I can recall just recently, somewhat recently, I live in the area of California that has all the wildfires, these really big fires that have happened. And one of them that was closest to us happened while my wife was asleep. But I was still awake and I had to really make the choice of, OK, do I wake her up and let her know what’s happening? Just because she needs to know with the knowledge that that’s going to keep her up all night because she’s going to be doing that refresh and continuing
Gabe Howard: Right.
Dr. Robert Duff: To look, continuing to get that. Or do I wait till there’s a need to know part of the information? Because really, for all practical purposes, it wasn’t affecting us yet at that point and the information was only going to be more solid later on. But you really, really, really, really want to know. And the anxiety is going to fuel that because it’s going to say, hey, I’m trying to keep you safe. The best thing you can do here is gather all this information, try to figure out every aspect of it, and then also avoid things that would actually make a difference or maybe make you involved somehow. So it definitely plays into it. But at the very least, I think we need to pay attention to how it affects us. And one of my biggest sort of takeaways for people is that you need to start building some self awareness about how social media plays out for you, for different people, it’s going to have a different level of impact. For me, it may not be quite as big as somebody like. Like I said, my wife, she’s somebody that openly struggles with anxiety. It has a big effect on her. And so knowing when to invite that in, when to not invite that in, I think that’s a skill that we all sort of need to build at this point.
Gabe Howard: I’m thinking of my own social media use, and I got sucked in by everything, I had the notifications on, so when something happened, there was a ding. I had the emails that came in. And this is the thing that I’m most ashamed of. I wanted to earn all of the badges. Social media does a really good job of telling you that you’re a top poster, you’re a top fan. You’ve made one
Dr. Robert Duff: Verified.
Gabe Howard: Update a day every day for 100 days or. Yeah. Verified is a big one. I wanted to earn, and I’m using that word earn. I wanted to earn them all. But I’ve since learned, as comes with, you know, maturity and age and better understanding that I wasn’t earning anything. It was a false reward. I think many people are stuck in this trap where they think they’re accomplishing something. But in reality, you’re not accomplishing anything.
Dr. Robert Duff: Yeah, definitely. And the checking nature of social media with anxiety, you’re taking away that unease of not knowing what’s going on. But then on top of that, there’s also positive reinforcement. You’re getting hearts. You’re getting likes. You’re getting badges, you’re getting these things. And they are just quick little hits of essentially dopamine that are reinforcing you for that behavior. And it’s built that way. That’s why Facebook is such a huge monster that can charge so much for ads and make so much money because everything is just built on that. It’s like Vegas. You know, you have this positive reinforcement. You have the light, you have the ding, you have the money payout. You have all these things that kind of keep you going and keep you going. And so I think that’s definitely important to recognize that it’s designed to make you compulsive. That doesn’t mean it’s a terrible thing in and of itself. But just like when you walk into a store, you see all the ads and promotions and things like that, you’ve got to at least know that they’re trying to sell you and that’s going to at least help you take things with a grain of salt.
Gabe Howard: I do think that people understand that the stores, the televisions are trying to sell you. Do you think that people understand that Facebook and other social media sites are trying to sell you? Do you think that people understand that they are are consumer of these products? And do you think that that understanding or lack of understanding contributes to anxiety?
Dr. Robert Duff: That’s an interesting question. I think that one thing that Facebook and the social media platforms do really well as they get to know you, you give them permission to give them a lot of your information. And so things start to become very tailored to you. You know, you hear the stories about, oh, I was talking over dinner about getting a new vacuum. Suddenly I see ads for new vacuums. So, I mean, I think that people do know that they’re being sold to. However, it is worked in a very sort of contextual way where sometimes you don’t even notice it. But I have kind of mixed feelings about, I’m getting a little bit off topic with this. But the idea of sort of your social media feed becoming a bit of a bubble, that’s very tailored toward you. It depends on what you’re using it for. But for some people, maybe social media plays a great role in broadening your perspective for other people. I think there’s nothing necessarily wrong with controlling what you see there for ads or for different types of posts. You can block. You can say, I don’t want to see this type of content. You can sort of curate your social media feed to be something that works for you instead of against you. Somebody who has, say, depression. They might want to intentionally remove some of the things that are maybe a little bit more pessimistic. They may want to bring in things that are a lot more that’s sort of positive content. That’s going to help them at least have a tiny boost throughout their day that will inspire them. And I don’t think that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that. I think a lot of people feel like there is. So they feel like, oh, well, I can’t just, like, make myself in my own little bubble because then I’m not seeing what’s going on on the other side. It’s a tool. It’s a tool that you can use however you want to. But it’s something that you do have some degree of control over.
Gabe Howard: I know that you talk a lot about fake productivity or false productivity. It’s this idea where you think you’re accomplishing something but you’re not. Can you explain what fake productivity is?
Dr. Robert Duff: So for me, the way that I see this the most is with not necessarily social media, but like apps. There are gazillions of apps out there and they’re all trying to be the perfect tool for this thing, whether it’s a to do list or a calendar app or tracking your period or exercise, whatever it is. There’s a million options for each of those things. And one thing that a lot of people do is fall down this rabbit hole of searching for the perfect tool. Oh, this one doesn’t have this feature. OK. Let’s keep looking. OK. This one has a lot of great features, but not quite. This one was too expensive. And you keep going. Keep going, keep going. Keep going. And at the end of the day, whatever the tool is supposed to help you with, you did nothing related to that thing. You don’t have your to do list made. Your calendar isn’t updated. So you kind of spent a bunch of time going down this rabbit hole of trying to be sold on the perfect tool and didn’t actually do anything with it. And for people who have anxiety. So with anxiety, the thing I would say is that avoidance is the fuel of anxiety. Anxiety tells you to avoid something so that it can keep you safe. And then when you do avoid that thing, it gets bigger and more present. So you avoid more and more and more and then suddenly you’re having a really hard time. And I think that one sort of insidious thing that can happen is that we turn this search for the perfect tool into a form of avoidance. If you’re just planning and looking for the right thing and doing all this top level stuff, you don’t actually have to take action because action is scary. And so you can use that as a form of avoidance and just kind of keep doing this over and over again.
Gabe Howard: But you’re not actually achieving anything. And at some point you realize this. It really does seem like this self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m anxious because I’m productive. Now I’m anxious because I’m realizing I’m not productive. But I can be productive by doing what is effectively nothing. But if I don’t do it, I become anxious. But if I do do it, I become anxious. I just I’m having, like, a really hard time getting out of the feedback loop of what do I do so that I am productive, well-informed. And I don’t have this sudden fear that I don’t fit into society and that I’m just one of these curmudgeonly people on my porch saying social media is going to kill us all. This whole conversation is making me anxious because I honestly don’t know what to do.
Dr. Robert Duff: Yeah, I mean, that’s anxiety itself, though, right? Whether it’s social media or anything else, I think that the thing that the Internet does and social media does is provide like a big sort of magnifying glass or megaphone for those things that are already tendencies you have. The answer is really trying to build self-awareness of your patterns. Right. And especially understanding the way that your patterns interact with these new tools that are available. The best way I think to do that is talking with people, trusted loved ones, your therapist, whoever. Also journaling. That’s like a form of self therapy and sort of self monitoring. OK. Write down at the end of the day, what did I do today and how did it affect me? I spent six hours diving down this rabbit hole of trying to find the perfect tools and all my apps are set up pretty and all these things, but I haven’t done anything. And now I feel bad about that. And I feel anxious that I wasted time and I have less time tomorrow to do all these things, write those things out so you can at least understand your patterns and use that information to adjust your approach. I’m a big fan of using both online and offline things open in front of my face right now. I have an Evernote document with some notes from when you asked me questions beforehand for this interview, I’ll also have my Google Keep, which has like my whole to do list. But I’ve also got a stupid little index card in front of me. If I think of something and I don’t have time to get to the to do list, I’m just going to write it down there.
Gabe Howard: We’ll be right back after these messages.
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Gabe Howard: And we’re back discussing anxiety in the digital age with Dr. Robert Duff. I certainly don’t think that the solution here is to cancel all of your social media, never read the news, never get on email, never prepare. Like you talked about the extremes. How does one make sure that they’re staying in the middle? Because I imagine that that moderation, that middle, that average is where the least amount of anxiety comes in.
Dr. Robert Duff: Yeah, I think a lot of it is about sort of setting limits for yourself and having some boundaries with yourself at this point. I think it’s really unrealistic to tell people to say, OK, you’re only allowed to do these actions at this time, like you’re only allowed to engage with social media at this time. That’s kind of pushing against a really strong beast, unless social media isn’t even a big thing for you. There’s plenty people out there with like, oh, well, I don’t have a Facebook it’s not a big deal, but insert whatever it is, checking email, checking the news, what have you. It’s easier, though, to block out times that are sacred, times that you’re not doing that. Actively disconnecting from the world. And I think that’s really important in terms of like especially things like sleep, being able to sleep and turn off for the night. Massively important when you’re dealing with mental health issues, both in terms of memory and learning the skills that you’re trying to work on and build and just giving enough energy to get back out there and fight a little bit of the uphill battle that you’ve been fighting. So I’m a big fan of sort of book ending the day is what I call it. So the beginning of the day, first half hour or so, last hour of the day, disconnecting from the world, putting the phone away. And I really am a big fan of not even having your phone in the bedroom because so many people, last thing they see before they close their eyes is their phone, email or social media feed.
Dr. Robert Duff: Then they close their eyes. If they wake up in the middle of the night, drink water, they’re going to be checking their social media feed again or their email. They wake up in the morning. What’s the first thing they see? They pull that out again. And really, I think that there are very, very, very few instances where that’s going to be a great thing. It could be neutral. It could not affect you very much. And there’s a pretty significant chance that it’s going to derail you. If you’re gonna see something that pisses you off, something that scares you, something that you forgot about for work or whatever, you know, the last thing you need is to wake up in the middle of the night and see a work email. OK, bye bye sleep. So I’m a big fan of in the morning, kind of taking some time before you even pull out your phone. Make yourself some coffee. Take a few deep breaths. Write some thoughts down if you have them. Do whatever you want to do with that and then pull that out. And at the end of the night, focus inward, do some journaling. Like I said, you can do some stretching or foam rolling or deep breathing or just enjoy an off line activity like we used to do in the olden days and try to come down a little bit and disconnect from the world so that you can drift off into restorative sleep, not having your brain running a million miles per hour.
Gabe Howard: When I am in a hotel, when I travel, I keep my phone next to me because it’s my alarm clock and every single time I get up to go to the bathroom, because that phone is sitting next to my bed, I check it. Now, fortunately, 90% of the time, there’s nothing on there. But 10% of the time there’s something, there’s something. And I’m up the rest of the night. And I think that people need to realize this. Now, what do you say to the people who are going to immediately fire back, well, I have to. I have to keep the phone next to my bed because I have teenage children who are out or my spouse works nights and might need to call. I am the emergency contact for my mother or of course, my personal favorite, it’s my alarm clock and there’s just no way around that.
Dr. Robert Duff: Yeah, those are all very anxious responses, right? You know, oh, my God, what if this what if that. There are ways around that. They still make alarm clocks.
Gabe Howard: Yeah.
Dr. Robert Duff: I have one. It’s really annoying. I have to put it on the other side of the room. So actually physically get up and walk over there. Otherwise, I’ll just turn over and hit it with my hand. So, you know.
Gabe Howard: We may be soulmates. I’ve just, yes, I do the exact same thing.
Dr. Robert Duff: I’ve always had to because my brain will create a scenario where there’s like a nuclear launch happening and I have to hit this button to stop it. And that’s the alarm clock. And so my brain will troll me and it just won’t work. So I have to actually physically get up. But, yeah, they make real alarm clocks, you know, and then in terms of the other concerns about what if there’s an emergency, et cetera, there’s a variety of ways around that. There are things like maybe you have your Apple Watch in the room if you have Apple products, but not your phone. Or you keep it outside the room, but you keep it on do not disturb and you can sort of have your specifications. So if somebody calls you, it’ll ring loudly. I mean, that’s outside the room, but you’ll still be able to hear it. There’s a variety of ways to do it. If you have teenage kids that are out for the night, maybe that’s the night you make an exception and you try to be responsible with it. As responsible as you can, not keep it right next to the bed. But that’s your kind of exception for the week and the rest of the week, you’re not going to have it in there. So you could do a lot with it. And those are usually just sort of knee-jerk reactions. I get that sort of knee-jerk reaction from people a lot, too, when I’m talking about setting limits on social media, even taking breaks from social media, things like this, they say, well, it’s my job. I need to be on it. There’s definitely usually a little more wiggle room than you think there as well.
Gabe Howard: I really feel like this all does boil down to making healthy choices and sticking to them and I really think this is a good analogy that people who say that they don’t have time to exercise and the people that say that they have to be on social media. But, of course, one of the things that you can do to exercise is park at the back of the parking lot and walk forward. You can take the steps instead of the elevator so you can turn off social media during dinner.
Dr. Robert Duff: Right.
Gabe Howard: Do you believe that finding those tiny little things? Because in the grand scheme, those are small things. But it sounds like you’re saying those will pay big dividends when it comes to lessening our anxiety.
Dr. Robert Duff: I feel like just exercising control over it is a good practice, right? Intentionally putting it away sometimes, intentionally having it out sometimes. If you’re feeling that discomfort, much like if you walk out the door and you realize your phone Psych in your pocket, you get this sense of discomfort these days like, oh, God, something’s wrong. A lot of people feel that way. If they’re not able to immediately check their phone at dinner and they’re feeling a buzz in their pocket or whatever you have, that that sense of discomfort. So learning how to sort of modulate that and do it intentionally, you know, I’m going to put my phone away or I’m going to log off or not check these things for this period of time, at least gives you the flexibility to say, OK, sometimes I’m on, sometimes I’m off. And that’s a practice I think, that people need to need to do. You know, we have all these coping skills, mindfulness, you know, all these different things that that we use in the mental health field. I think that this is just simply another one of those things, sort of like technological flexibility or something. The ability to just decide when you’re on and when you’re off. And that’s a hard thing to do when the structure is designed to make you on all the time. But you need to wrest some control back from that. Otherwise you’re gonna be worn out.
Gabe Howard: I hear a lot of what you’re saying, and I completely agree with it, and I know that making more intentional decisions about our social media and about our use of technology will make us feel better. But do you think that there is a role in that when we’re staring at our phones? There’s often people in the room and those people are our friends, our families, our loved ones. And they maybe don’t feel so good about it. And they’re probably giving us pushback, whether straight up, put your phone down or passive aggressive, well, I’m not going to tell you. You care more about your phone or whatever. Do you think that keeping them happy also lowers your anxiety? And I know keeping them happy is kind of a weird way to say it, but in the beginning, I got a lot of negative pushback from my friends and family, which also made me more anxious. And when I got better control over my phone and social media use, a lot of that went away. Which, of course, made me less anxious.
Dr. Robert Duff: Yeah, I think so. I mean, and also you’re making the assumption that the other person isn’t also on their phone.
Gabe Howard: Sure.
Dr. Robert Duff: And then suddenly you are just both disconnected, sort of doing parallel life next to each other. Communication is something that is still really important, you know, and you could be communicating with people online. I think that’s valid. But you also need to communicate with people in person. And when couples are having trouble in my clinical practice, a lot of things sometimes I ask, do you guys eat dinner together? Like, do you sit across each other and eat dinner? And often the answer is no. We sit side by side or on our phones, whatever the case may be. And it’s like, OK, well, then you’re robbing yourself of the chance to practice communicating with one another and getting that support from one another. And yeah, I think that definitely accessing the supports that you have and then treating them well is it’s really important. That it’s a whole piece of the puzzle, along with all the other things you might do to help relieve your anxiety. So I definitely agree with you there.
Gabe Howard: I could talk to you about this all day because people seem to be more anxious than ever, people seem to be more disconnected than ever at a time that we should be more connected than ever. But the specific question that I want to ask you really involves a story with my grandfather. One morning, my grandfather comes downstairs, he is staying at my house, and he sees my wife and I sitting at the breakfast table and we’re both on our phones and and he says, oh, this is the problem with your generation. You’re staring at your phones. You’re not talking to one another. You know, in my day, we didn’t have this. We actually talked to each other. And for the rest of that day, I felt a little bad. I was like, oh, my God, this is my wife. I love her. And he’s right. I’m ignoring her. And then the next morning, I come downstairs and my grandmother and grandfather are sitting at the table and my grandfather’s reading the paper.
Dr. Robert Duff: Yep.
Gabe Howard: Yeah. And my grandmother is doing the crossword puzzle, completely ignoring each other.
Dr. Robert Duff: Yeah, yeah.
Gabe Howard: And I said, oh, this is the problem with your generation, completely ignoring each other for newsprint. It seems like it’s very much the same thing. We’ve seen couples sit at the breakfast table ignoring each other since the beginning of time, but it does seem like technology is way more intrusive than the morning newspaper routine. Can you talk about that for moment? Because again, I think it’s one of those excuses. Oh, I’m on my phone, but my grandfather was on his newspaper.
Dr. Robert Duff: Yeah, people have always found ways to sort of disconnect and go into their own world, and I don’t want to place a value judgment on any of this. If they’re happy. These things are only a problem when they’re a problem. Right? If you’re realizing that these things are creating a sense of disconnection in your relationship or creating a sense of anxiety or messing with your sleep, that’s what you need to do something about it. If not, and if you’re satisfied and happy, that’s fine. You know, certainly there are times where what my wife wants to do is sit next to me and be on her phone, not talk to me, because she wants me my presence. But she’s super introverted and just doesn’t want to people right then, you know?
Gabe Howard: I like that.
Dr. Robert Duff: And that’s OK. That’s OK. But when it crosses into interfering with things, that’s, I think, where you need to pay attention. And so this is just the next platform for that and things that you need to consider related to this platform. I do think that the intensity is higher. Right? You’re right. There’s a big difference between having a book or a crossword or newspaper, then having this endless stream of information. And the default is to have all these notifications on, which I don’t think you should have. Where it is just constantly pulling your attention out of the present moment. And I think that in addition to the relationship part, the sort of regular life part, I think that we need to reclaim our ability to do deep work and focus on something without being distracted by all these other things. And so that’s another part where I think that training, that skill of being a turn on and off really matters when you’re having a conversation with someone or when you’re writing a paper or when you’re working on some sort of brainstorming project, you should be able to start that and put the work in without having to be pulled away constantly by these other things. If you can’t do that and it’s kind of messing with your productivity or your relationship, that’s where you need to maybe take a close look at how these things are affecting you and what you can do about that.
Gabe Howard: Robert, thank you so very much. How do people find you, what’s your Web site? Where can they get your podcast? Where are your books? Let our listeners know exactly how to track you down.
Dr. Robert Duff: Sure. So my sort of online persona is it’s called Duff the Psych. So if, a good place to start is DuffthePsych.com/StartHere. That has sort of like my greatest hits. So it has, you know, information about my books, which are called The Hardcore Self Help books. I’ve one about anxiety, one about depression. It has some of my most popular podcast episodes, A TED talk that I did. All sorts of things like that. That’s sort of like a great starting place. And then if you want to reach out to me or connect on social media, I’m on basically all platforms @DuffthePsych.
Gabe Howard: Robert, thank you so much again for being here.
Dr. Robert Duff: Totally my pleasure. Thank you.
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