The Finding My Psych Podcast

The Finding My Psych Podcast

Data is Making Us Anxious and Depressed (Thoughts & Recommendations)

July 16, 2022

“We are more invisible and even more seen.”

How many runs did you do this month?

Data is Making us Anxious

I love data. However, as someone who grew up as a member of the Gen-X generation, I have the advantage of remembering what it was like not to have a computer, cell phone, or wearable tracking your every move. While I obsess over the information coming at me, especially as a runner, I also recognize the darker side of data, especially as it relates to anxiety and mood.

In today’s episode, I share my own experience growing up in the 90s without the tech of today. I also review the anecdotal impacts of our current information bombardment and data obsession. In the end, we must first acknowledge how information and data is making us anxious and depressed. We then must find a way to manage what is coming at us rather than unplug.

Episode Outline

Welcome to Episode 072: Data is Making Us Anxious and Depressed

  1. What We Do:
    • Behavioural Medicine and Health Psychology
    • Providing easily accessible content designed to help you design your own transformative experience.

  2. Today:
    • Are we better off in the information age?
    • Today I review my thoughts on what life has been like since the early 90s regarding our access to data, whether or not is is helpful, and psychological impact

Since The 90s

  1. I went to university when there were no cell phones.
  2. In grad school, pagers became a thing.
  3. I remember in 1995/96 the launching of the World Wide Web.
  4. I have been data hungry every since:
    • News
    • Weather
    • Usage Statistics (Internet Use)
    • Polar in 2001 – Running Distance and Time
    • Today: Garmin Connect, Garmin Watches, Apple Watch – Data Rich
    • Personalized News Feeds
    • Advertising (Based on Web Activity)
    • Social Media (Likes, Dislikes, Followers)

Anecdotal Impact

  1. We are more anxious.
  2. We are more depressed.
  3. We have all the tools we need without the discernment.
  4. We are more invisible and even more seen.
  5. We have greater access to personal metrics, thus causing us to worry.
  6. We have data to tell us about our day, thus determining our day (weather).
  7. News media gets paid via clicks and encouraged to publish what causes us to pause.
    • This is usually what causes us be feel anger, or at best, anxious.


  1. We cannot fight the advancement of tech.
    • The funding model of the internet is here to stay.

  2. We can tell tech what we want.
    • Demanding Privacy
    • Don’t Sell Data

  3. iPhone: Use your Notification and Focus Settings.
    • Improving this fall.

  4. Runners: Simplify the data you collect. The obsession destroys motivation.
  5. Call out news media for click bate, and anxiety/fear promoting titles.
  6. Limit time on tech – Get outside regardless of what the weather app tells you.
    • Weather app should inform how you dress, not determine your mood or activity.

  7. Recognize that we are human first and tech is there to support us, not hinder us.
    • Take control back!

  8. What about you? What do you suggest?

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