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IMPROVING MENTAL HEALTH, THERAPIES & METAPHYSICS

November 10, 2022

S03 - E08

Julie Korioth discusses mental health. Julie has a unique product designed to help people who are struggling. Julie and RSnake talk about tricks that improve mental wellbeing, the difference between feeling like you have no value and not caring if you do, ketamine, dopamine resistance, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and so much more. They also talk about purpose, and even touch on metaphysics as it relates to mental health.

Photo of Julie Korioth
GUEST(S): 

Julie Korioth

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

Robert Hansen

Today I sat down with Julie Korioth to discuss mental health. This is an area I spent quite a bit of time and I felt that Julie had a unique product designed to help people who are struggling.


We talked about tricks and improvement to well-being, the difference between feeling like you have no value and not caring if you do, ketamine, dopamine resistance, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and so much more. We also talk about purpose and even touch on metaphysics as it relates to mental health.


Without further delay, please enjoy my conversation with Julie Korioth. Hello, and welcome to the RSnake Show. Today, I have Julie Korioth. How are you?


Julie Korioth

I'm good. How are you?


Robert Hansen

Good to see you.


Julie Korioth

Great to see you.


Robert Hansen

We are going to be talking about mental health today. This is one of the few topics that I've been asked not to do, ironically, one of the very few. I thought that you'd find that interesting. Because I think people feel like there's such an inundation of mental health these days, that they're getting crushed by it.


But I think what you're doing is really interesting. So I think it's worth doing. I have not done a segment on mental health. I think this is a great time to do it with you. So naysayers be damned, we're going to do it.


Julie Korioth

Thank you. It's interesting because where we used to never talk about mental health, it was completely taboo, now, society is more open to speaking about it. I think that might be one of the silver linings of the pandemic is that people are talking about it.


But it is more than I've ever seen or heard and I have been hearing that maybe some people don't feel like certain companies are being authentic and some are. Because this comes out of my own personal journey, it definitely is authentic.


Robert Hanse


Well, I'm very excited to hear about it. We're recording this a couple days after Halloween. Did you do anything fun for Halloween? I think that's worth doing real quick.


Julie Korioth

I have to tell you. This is the first year I didn't go with one of my kids trick or treating. I think that's part of being an entrepreneur is you have to start giving up.


I had so much work to get caught up on and they're both older. So one was trick or treating with one group of friends and my daughter was with her mom and her friends and I was sending emails. Entrepreneur.


Robert Hansen

That's the way to do it. I went as Rip from Yellowstone so I had a full beard and a hat. I'll put up a picture, which is why my beard is all trimmed down right now for the people who are watching. They're like, what has happened with your beard?


Chris


Robert, I thought you were like Starsky and Hutch or something.


Robert Hansen

No. My majestic beard is gone, my beard of power.


Julie Korioth

How long will it take your beard to grow?


Robert Hansen

Usually about a week and a half, two weeks, something like that, to get fully back to where it is.


Julie Korioth

Not too long.


Robert Hansen

No, it will be back quick. I'm going to Amsterdam next week, it'll be back. So don't stress. How did you get interested in mental health? What's your backstory here?


Julie Korioth

Well, I have struggled with mental health since as far back as I can remember. When I was in kindergarten, I would have these strange feelings in my body. I didn't know what was going on. I immediately started associating it with that there was something wrong with me.


Now, knowing what anxiety is, and having these panic attacks and whatnot, that's what those feelings were. I also learned that, as a society, people want to be around the person who's smiling and who isn't sad. So I learned very quickly to mask everything that I was going through.


It was in those few early formative years that I was going through things and didn't understand it, and never understood it because it wasn't talked about back then at all, at all. My high school years, I started to get really depressed. I would try and hide it, just be at home and then I would try and fake it when I was out in front of my friends. I tried to do cheerleading and all these things, but I was suffering.


I was interested in mental health from quite a young age. I wanted to go and get my undergrad in psychology. I didn't do it. I ended up getting my undergrad in teaching because it was still very taboo to try to talk about it to people. It's like, what are you talking about?


But then I ended up getting my Master's in Counseling. That was so informative, and I loved every minute of it. I do feel like it's my true calling.


Robert Hansen

You came over the other day and you showed me this box. I immediately gravitated towards it. I'm like, this is a great idea. You describe it as the battle box but for mental health. It's like you get these subscription boxes in the mail, and instead of being filled with toys for your kids, or whatever, it's filled with mental health stuff. How did you come about this idea?


Julie Korioth

I went on to have kids, and then six years ago, I got a divorce. That divorce, opened this Pandora's box, and I was very lost for quite some time. I couldn't put together all of the resources that were out there. I was researching and there was so much, and I felt very overwhelmed.


So when I started this company, three years ago, it was mainly more about people's stories and wanting to hear more. I personally wanted to stop feeling so alone. I thought if I could get other people to share their journey and the resources that they use, then maybe that could start to form a connectedness amongst people who are struggling with mental health.


Then it was interesting. My daughter got a box in the mail of clothes, and she was excited about it. I started thinking about this one box I would get every month that would have a few small items of face care in it. It would bring me joy during a time in my life where I was feeling down.


That's when I realized that if we can start putting different items together to support people who either... mental health can be such a wide range of issues people are going through. It might be a moment in time and they're feeling a little down, or they might be in the thick of it or whatnot. But either way, we know that there are certain resources and items out there that can support people.


So that's when I realized that this would be great if we could put this together and do it monthly and start off with a general mental health box. But eventually, we'll move on to anxiety, eating disorders, divorce, there are so many different situations.


Robert Hansen

You should remember Spock. Speaking from experience here. Can we open it up? Can we actually see?


Julie Korioth

This particular box, what I don't have in here that is really important is one of our advisors is a licensed psychotherapist. We're going to start providing letters to people that provide messaging and resources, like different breathing techniques and why these items are important and how to use them.


Robert Hansen

It's great. Let's take a look.


Julie Korioth

Okay, here we go. This is one of my favorites. It's an emotional barometer. A lot of times our emotions lead us. So if we're feeling anxiety, that emotion can take us to places. Or if we're feeling a lot of love, that can take us places. This explains the different emotions. It's a company out of the UK and I think that they're so cool.


Robert Hansen

So it's designed to be propped up so you can show people your mood and then cards explain what these different feelings are and what they mean, or what to do about it. That's great.


Julie Korioth

Yeah, absolutely.


Robert Hansen

And this is going to change every single month?


Julie Korioth

It'll change every single month. The idea around this is not that this box is going to be the box that changes your life forever. The idea is that we're trying to add to people's lives.


Robert Hansen

You never know. You hit the right combination, and someone might unlock critical insight.


Julie Korioth

No, thank you. That's so real. It could be that there was one person who finds out about journaling that they've never journaled in their life and starting a journal takes them out of their thoughts.


Robert Hansen

Or forces them to confront their thoughts. Emotional well-being is so multifaceted. I don't think you can do something as simple as throw a box at somebody and say they're going to get healthy or that it's going to do nothing. It could do all kinds of things and it's additive. Then gradually, they find that one nugget that just...


Julie Korioth

It's so true, it's additive. What we want to be is a resource for them to say, "Try these different things in here. They might all work, one of them may work, one of them may work for a friend of yours. They may be needing one of the items in there."


But it really can. It's about bringing new ideas every month and resources to keep adding. The thing is, as we know, with our physical health, it's important to work out at least five times a week if you can. We know that, and we know that you're going to have bone loss if you don't try to do some weights here and there. We know these things.


People, for the most part, they try. If they can only get to the gym once a week, that's better than nothing, or some workout every day. We know these things are a fact. The same thing with your mental health. Even if you can do a few things a week to keep this going, this is meant to be a lifelong journey.


It's not one box or two boxes or it's not never keeping up with your mental health. We always want to try, if we can, even if it's for a few minutes a day, once a week do the best you can.


Robert Hansen

This seems to me like something that, even if I don't feel like I'm personally in need, I might just buy the box and just have it in the house. So that whoever might be feeling something and who is hiding those feelings from me, because there are a lot of boys in the house and they may be struggling through things and they're unwilling to talk about it because that's sort of how it, or girls, same thing and they hide their emotions or what they're really feeling. Or sometimes they'll tell you one thing, and it's really something else.


But if you just have this stuff around, they might just pull it out and go, "Oh, that's interesting." They might get something from it. It's sort of like this mental prophylactic that you just keep around. I would like to make sure that everyone is thinking about their mental health on a regular cadence. Maybe not every minute of every day.


But it is a cool thing. It's a little fidget spinner that says something nice to your affirmations or whatever it is just to get people thinking in that direction.


Julie Korioth

It's so true. If we just have these things around, it helps others open up the conversation if they are going through something. Because they know that you care. It's hard to talk about your mental health. I hid it from people for so long because I felt so ashamed even as I got older. Now I know that that's just not the case.


People do care. They want to be there to support you. A lot of times, friends don't know how, and this is an easy way to say, "Hey, I got this cool toolkit box of mental health things. Let's look at it."


Robert Hansen

Let's open it together. I like the idea of conversation starters. Like, just ask me a question about whatever, or I'll ask you a question about the thing. It engages in this regular conversation. I think any type of conversation that you make more routinized and you just plan out, we're going to have this conversation, this is going to happen. Every time this box comes, we'll all just do it together.


It's fun, and we learn things about each other. It turns out you're really sad about this thing this kid said at school or your boss treated you badly. Let's talk about that.


Julie Korioth

It's true. That's really why I started this. I wanted to change the conversation around mental health. At first, it started with stories and just saying, "Hey, let's talk about it." It doesn't have to feel scripted in ways that we don't know what to say. It's just about talking about anything. We can do that with mental health too.


Robert Hansen

Let's take one more look at one more thing here. We don't have to spend the entire time looking at one thing. There are quite a few things in here.


Julie Korioth

I know there are. This is called the happy light. It's known to help with seasonal depression or even it doesn't have to be seasonal. If you're having sadness whenever it's the middle of the day and you don't know why and you want to go lay down, it's good to go lay down and then put this light in your face. It's known to help


Robert Hansen

Especially in like Sweden and Norway where they don't get enough vitamin D. It's very important. That's well-documented, seasonal depression.


Julie Korioth

You know what's interesting about vitamin D? Let me share a short story with you because I do think it's important. It was about five years ago in the middle of the summer. I'm out in the sun all the time with my kids at the pool. I took my son to the doctor for his yearly checkup because his birthday is August 8\. The doctor called me back and said, "Leo needs to come in right away. He's extremely low on vitamin D."


I'm like, "There's no way he's low on vitamin D. We are around the Sun every day." I'm not a person that lathers them with sunscreen. I put it in certain areas, but like his legs and things, he's definitely getting sun exposure. I say that because, a lot of times, we don't know that we're vitamin D deficient.


He was feeling down and feeling low. He needed a supplement. We started supplementing it with vitamin D and his mood started changing. Anyway, I just think it's interesting that you bring that up.


Robert Hansen

That's really important. People say it's oftentimes tied to your gut, or tied to various vitamin deficiencies. Anything that is going to change your biochemistry is naturally going to make you feel one way or another. So it stands to reason that something as simple as light might make a huge difference in people's lives.


Julie Korioth

It's true. I'll just go through a couple more. One of the things that you were talking about is to share with others. If you have friends come over, y'all can talk about the 1,000 unique questions about me. A lot of times we get...


Robert Hansen

That's fantastic. I just brought that up as a random example. I didn't know that it was there.


Julie Korioth

That's why I was like, I have to share this because we get wrapped up in the fact that I'm a single mom, I'm an entrepreneur, and that's all I am. Well, no, that's not all I am. So we can get wrapped up in the idea that we are our depression or we are our anxiety or these things.


But if you go through and talk about some different things with friends and do books like this, it helps you see that you're so much more.


Robert Hansen

And that you're human. A lot of people like to be robots. That's just that's not how it is.


Julie Korioth

No, not at all. So there's journaling, and then these... I'm not going to throw this at you, but they're really cool. It's something else you could do with friends.


Robert Hansen

Learn how to juggle while you're at it. When will this all come out? When can people actually start using this?


Julie Korioth

We are going to be doing a soft launch of it come November 14\. We'll have it open to friends and family so I'll send you a link. We are going to do our official launch during South By.


So we have the subscription model. We also are working with different organizations to create specialty boxes. So we're working with colleges for athletes, and then first responders.


Robert Hansen

Those first responders that's like PTSD, and having watched their brother get killed in some battle somewhere or that kind of thing.


Julie Korioth

Well, first responders are so unappreciated in general. Here in Austin, they've asked for a pay raise, and they got $0.17\. These are people that are out on the streets dealing with crime, fire, cars. Every day, they're dealing with things that I can't imagine dealing with.


So there are small ways to show people that you appreciate them. That's why we really wanted to put this together for first responders in our community and outside of our community as this grows out there.


Robert Hansen

I think this is worth jumping into my story a little bit because this is why I care. Like, why would I bother spending any time on this at all?


So insecurity, everyone is very protective of what they're working on. You're not allowed to arbitrarily start talking about what you're doing to third parties because it's all behind NDAs. It's very sensitive information. A lot of times it contains private information, people's personal stuff locked in a vault that you can't just talk about.


Sometimes you're working with celebrities or politicians and you literally can't say what happened today. It's as if the entire day is just gone. The more I researched this, the more I realized we are very similar in security to mob bosses and spies. We all sort of have the same kind of job where we can't talk about it with anybody. And if anything ever goes wrong, it goes really wrong.


So you end up always being hyper-vigilant and like looking over your shoulder and making sure that you're not being followed — literally not like figuratively — literally followed. There's a lot of spies in my industry. So gradually, over time, I had a lot of death threats. Most of them were just BS, but a few of them were quite credible. Like people were trying to figure out where I was located and that kind of thing.


It's kind of not a big deal because obviously nothing ever happened. Here I stand before you and victorious. But I did notice that something was happening with my mood. I noticed that I was getting worse and worse and worse. I couldn't quite put my finger on what was happening.


On a whim, I took some self-assessments of various different things just to see where my head was at. One of the assessments I took, again, self-assessment, so not clinically diagnosed, I had PTSD, but it was almost off the charts. Like a 28 out of 30\. It was almost off the page kind of thing.


That's when I started taking this a lot more seriously. I'd better start really thinking about mental health. One thing I didn't like about most mental health stuff, it was very loosey-goosey. It was more like affirmations? And it's like, what's the definitive proof that that's going to work? How does it work biochemically?


As a scientist, as much as anything, I wanted to know how this actually is going to affect me if I do it once a day versus twice a day, or if I do it just once a month. What is this doing to me biochemically? I couldn't really find good data. So I ended up doing tons and tons of research, trying to figure out stuff that's real versus stuff that's not real.


It turns out, there's a lot of stuff that is real but it's so buried amongst a bunch of noise about people saying, This is the cure of your happiness. Or if you go on a world trip, you'll be happy, or more life experiences, you'll be happy. How do you quantify that happiness? What does that look like?


So I started going down all kinds of different things that I found that I thought actually did work and had good scientific bases for why they worked. One of my favorite things that I do every single day, at the same time every day is something I call three good things. I would like to do it with you for the audience's sake.


In the last 24 hours, so since six o'clock last night, name three specific things that happened. Three good things. Go.


Julie Korioth

Okay. I have a team that are so passionately working on this and seeing them working together with me, I feel so honored to be surrounded by them.


Robert Hansen

Specifically, though?


Julie Korioth

Oh, like this specific event? Okay. Them sending me an email of the layout of working with... They sent me an email of what we're going to put together for social media. And because I am not an expert in that and I shy away from it, it makes me feel taken care of that they are able to put all that together.


Robert Hansen

That's one.


Julie Korioth

Two, my every morning hugs from my children. It sets my day, and I love it. Then three is being asked to be here with you.


Robert Hansen

Oh, that's great. If you do this exercise with people who have never done it before, oftentimes they'll go, "Ahh." It's sort of like static. You can tell their brain is trying to reach back in time and trying to find, like, what did I do today. And they'll spend a lot of time trying to remember what even happened that day.


The reason for it is their brain isn't optimized for happiness. Their brain isn't optimized for this test that they know is coming. If you do this every day, you can organize your brain to say everything is a filter. Was this a positive thing or was it a negative thing? Well, it's a positive thing. Okay. Was it more positive than the other two or three things I thought were pretty good today? Yeah, it was better than one of them at least. Okay, well, it makes the list.


So now, every single thing goes to a sort of filtering, where your brain has to categorize it as good or very good. So a bad email comes in, you're like, well, obviously, that's not going to make one of my three good things, but you don't classify it as bad. You just don't classify it as good.


So it actually works really well. You do it with kids. You do it with adults and you go around the table. We do this thing like, 1, 2, 3, not it. Whoever is last wins. It's a sort of fun game to keep it lively and keep it moving as well. It works extremely well.


Another similar thing I do every day, if I can help it, at least when we have a bigger group when it's more than two of us. We'll do a type of grace, a nondenominational grace that says what you're thankful for. Just one thing that you're thankful for. It doesn't have to be related to that day. Just something that is on your mind that you're thankful for us.


That, again, forces your brain to think, Okay, I'm going to have to think about something I'm grateful for and something that's been good about my life that I can look back on. It's not all bad. I could have had a terrible day, but three things did happen. They might have been small, but I woke up on time. That's a good thing. Or I got a great glass of wine that actually is really tasty wine, or whatever the thing is. It could be very minor. But whatever that thing is, you start categorizing it in a positive way.


Julie Korioth

Well, thanks for sharing your story. I can imagine the PTSD around these things that you are going through that are pretty powerful to have your life threatened.


Robert Hansen

It's not fun.


Julie Korioth

That would terrify me. I know that. But it sounds like you started doing some research and figuring out ways to help you get out of thinking about those specific things that are happening. I commend you for that.


Robert Hansen

What I find is that I am smart enough to trick myself. It is a fun task to try to do that to myself. One of my favorites is something called minefield of joy. I will create little booby traps for myself where I will not remember that I have done this because enough time has elapsed. And I'm usually in the middle of doing something, and then something will pop up on my screen. It'll be like some joke that I know is funny or interesting, or whatever. I'll say to myself, "Thanks past Robert, that's funny. I get the joke you were trying to leave for me."


I'll put it in the middle of a document that I know I'm going to have to reread much later on. Then I'll find this little funny comment that I made to myself. I'm like, "Oh, that's really funny." I remove it because it shouldn't be in there, but it's some way to kind of trick myself. A lot of calendar stuff or highly delayed emails coming to myself.


Another variant of that is, I don't do this one as much because it's a huge time waste if you do it wrong. But I'll go down a list of all these people that I haven't talked to in quite a while. I'll find one of them that I have some sort of sparked memory, something that was good, ideally. Something that was not necessarily impactful, just a good memory. I'll send them a well-thought-out email that basically says, Hey, by the way, I was thinking about you. Remember that time that blah, blah, blah, blah, blah? With no other context.


No other like, Hey, I want to get a meeting with you or anything like that. Nothing business related. Just arbitrary, weird. So I send this email, and I'll forget that this has happened. Usually, it'll be a day later or something, I'll get a phone call from this person and they want to talk for hours because people are looking for this kind of connection at all times.


If someone, out of the blue, sends in this email that says, Hey, I'm thinking about you, there's this funny thing that happened, they'll gush back to you about their life and what they're doing. It's been a while since we've talked, and hey, I should tell you all this stuff. I love it. It's hours of time. You have to be very careful with this one.


Julie Korioth

Yeah, definitely making sure that you take time out of your week to make sure that you're going to focus on the person you sent the email to.


Robert Hansen

That can backfire really badly.


Julie Korioth

When it comes to gratitude, one of the things I do with my kids is we do the three things that we're grateful for. We try to do everything every day. Then, what you were talking about with the affirmations, I was skeptical of those, too. I found that there were times in my life that it wasn't working. They didn't mean anything to me.


But I still kept doing them in hopes that one day I'd figure it out. Surely this is all going to make sense. And even when I was in a dark time, I would still do the three things I'm grateful for. It didn't feel authentic. I didn't feel grateful but I did it to try to do anything to get me into that headspace.


Robert Hansen

There is such a thing as being counterproductive and doing the wrong thing. So I'm always very hesitant to let my brain spend too much time on something that I can't find any verifiable proof that it does work. That's me personally.


Julie Korioth

I did find, though, that sticking with it, and then incorporating meditation.


Robert Hansen

That, on the other hand, I think does work well.


Julie Korioth

And when I started incorporating that meditation, it started taking me to a place of more peace. That's when I would try and do my gratitude and feel more centered, and also the affirmations. I started expressing gratitude with affirmation. So, even if it wasn't happening yet, even if my company hadn't had any funding at this point, I would say to myself, I'm so grateful that my company is funded and that I'm able to have employees and that we're able to truly help people with their mental health. I would say that.


That started to produce some energy inside me that I was grateful even though I didn't have anyone. We were dry. There's nothing. I'm funding it. So that was something I started putting together that started being a little of a game-changer, I'd say, for me.


Robert Hansen

I'm always wary of these things. But if you start doing multiple, then now you have sort of variable confusion, potentially. Which means that one of those things might be working, the other one may not. But in combination, they might actually do something. So it's difficult to know whether it works or doesn't work in that context.


Julie Korioth

I think you have to do what works best for you because we're all bio individuals. Certain foods may work for me and not for you. Affirmations may work for me and not for you. And that's what I love about the boxes is that you'll get different items. You can see what it is that works for you.


Robert Hansen

One thing I definitely think is true and real and unfortunate is there's a company called Dopamine Labs. I don't know if you've ever heard of this. Basically, they had two products. One is very similar to a product that's now built into iOS, where it basically says, you've been using this app for too long. It's called Screen Time. So that was the good side.


The bad side is, effectively, they had this little API that you hooked into video games or something. So you'd be playing the video game and then you're getting tired, and they can tell you're getting tired and you haven't won anything in a while. Then it'll be like, Hey, you've been playing for a while, you should probably have this award.


It's usually a chest or something. So you don't know what's inside of it. But it's like, oh, there's going to be something inside this. So you click and you get a dopamine hit. And there could be basically nothing in the box, but you get the sensation that there could be. That sparks you and makes you want to wake up and now you're playing the game again.


So they are measuring that boredom and a point at which you needed the dopamine hit. Really crazy. As soon as I started paying attention to that and a similar thing called Dark Patterns, which is humans cannot see certain things or cannot tell that certain things are there, especially when they get used to patterns.


If you then have an opposing pattern, like something that's a link that isn't underlined and is a different color text, it looks like it's sort of background information, your eyes literally will not be able to see it. You'll just gloss over it. Unless you're actively trying to look at it, you won't be able to see it.


So things like that. Once I realized that that was happening so often, and things like emails or slot machines and things like social media with slot machines, and all these things were all designed to get those dopamine hits, I started taking a very different and much more dim view of all the apps on my phone.


Julie Korioth

So did you start deleting them?


Robert Hansen

Some definitely went in the trash can, others I kept, but I turned on the other Dopamine Labs products, which doesn't work anymore. But now they've replaced it with Screen Time and iOS. You can basically say, I don't want to use any social apps for more than half an hour a day or an hour today or whatever. After that, it'll say okay, well, your time is up. Do you want more time?


Now I have to resist the urge to say yes to that. But if I'm working, it makes sense. I'm in the middle of doing something. But if I'm not, if it's me doom-scrolling and trying to get to the end of Facebook or something, it's time to put that away.


Julie Korioth

Do you find yourself doom-scrolling? And do you feel like this gives you a certain dopamine hit?


Robert Hansen

For sure. But I tend to have very focused feeds on things I'm actually interested in. Certain political things I'm following, certain technology things I know are coming out. So it's not as bad as I think the average person is. But I'm not going to claim that I'm immune to it by any stretch.


So having that extra hint in the back of my head going, Hey, what are you doing? You've been looking at the Internet for an hour. I'm like, wow, that has been an entire hour? I can't believe that time. I felt like it was 10 minutes or something. Now I've wasted an hour doing something that has no value. So at minimum, switch to the thing that I'm actually using social for, the whole reason I have it at all, or stop looking at it, and get about your day.


Julie Korioth

That's fascinating. Apps and technology, phones, I get so overwhelmed by it. Sometimes I feel like I live in the Flintstones era. I'd be fine without it but I need to live in this day and age. There's only one app that I use consistently, and that's Duolingo. With social media, I've always kind of stayed away from it. I am working on engaging more for work.


Robert Hansen

You have people for that, come on.


Julie Korioth

I do. But it scares me because I felt like when I started engaging at a certain time in my life, it was hard for me when I got a divorce. Then I would see all these pictures of families, and then I would start to compare myself and have all these bad feelings about myself. So I wasn't on social media for a very long time because of that, for my mental health.


In some ways, it's amazing because you're hearing more about mental health, and it is able to help people find their areas of expertise. You're able to learn these bits of information and such a pastime. I think that's amazing. But I still get so overwhelmed by it. I just stay clear.


Robert Hansen

I don't blame you. It is overwhelming and a lot is happening at all times. I do pay very close attention to certain groups because they tend to be a wellspring of negative things coming from them. I want to be ahead of those negative things. Which sounds pretty bad. I mean, that sounds like I'm scrolling. But I'm specific about what I'm looking at.


Julie Korioth

I don't think it sounds bad at all. In fact, especially for people like me who have children who are not that aware, I actually want to start learning more about what you're talking about so I can be ahead of the game for them. Not so much for me because I'm not interested in it. But for them, it is important to be ahead of the game.


Robert Hansen

Absolutely. Another app that I found that I thought was clever, was an app called SuperBetter, which I actually enjoyed. I played with it for a couple of weeks to see what it was and how it worked. I'm going to butcher some of the things that they told you to do. But one that stood out to me and I really enjoyed was a glass of water challenge or something.


It's like three times a day, you drink water as fast as you possibly can, hilariously fast, like all over your face, get it down as quickly as possible. You're always competing with yourself. Oh, that wasn't very good. I could have done that better. I could have chugged that whole thing really quickly.


It does two things at once. It forces you to drink water, which is great. People, especially in today's culture, don't drink very much water and they need to drink more. Hydration is great for you and great for your brain chemistry. But also it gamifies it. It makes it fun to do this thing.


They figured out a way to take something that's very mundane and boring, and everyone does it and they don't have any particular joy in it. It's just a task. They turned it into a fun, enjoyable thing. And to this day, if I have a big glass of water, without even thinking about it, in the back of my head, I'm like, I'm going to chug this thing quickly to see if I still got it, which I think is fun. If you can figure out ways to make the mundane a little bit more interesting, a little more fun, it kind of takes some of the boredom out of life.


Julie Korioth

It's so true. There's this lady that we had on Speak as One. Her name is Gemma Correll. Look her up. She's a cartoonist and she's brilliant. Her cartoons are out of her own mental health journey, which is a fascinating story. But they're so clever and so fun. You look at them and you're like, that's me. And you can laugh about it. It's, like you said, making it a little more lighthearted about everything. Not so serious.


Robert Hansen

I went through a divorce handful of years ago, similar to you. It kind of hit me out of nowhere, so I was not prepared for it. I felt very numb. It's the first time I've ever disassociated my entire life. I actually felt, weirdly, like I was a ghost and no one could see me. That was a very strange sensation. That only lasted a couple of days but it was a very strange couple of days. I was walking around sort of numb to everything that was happening.


I was staying with a couple of friends and we were going back to their place. There was this woman who was apparently moving out of her apartment. She's like, "I've got all this stuff. If you want to come over and take the stuff." My friends were like, "Come on. This is great. You don't have stuff, she has stuff." I'm like, "Where am I going to put it? I'm going to put it in my car? I don't understand what you're even talking about."


But they dragged me up there. Her house is an absolute disaster zone and the only thing she had was some dishes and this teal green couch that was completely covered in stains. A really gross sex couch. Just disgusting. They're like, "Come on, Robert." I'm like, "Ah, no. I am good." It's like 14 different shades. They're trying to get me to get it. I didn't want it.


Anyway, they ended up with this teal green six couch, and they're like, "It'll be great." I'm like, "Whatever, you can have it. I don't want it.


Maybe a week or two later, I'd ordered a couch online and it finally arrived. It was a big hassle to get it into my place. The whole thing is moving stuff. I opened it up and it's teal, and it's green. I was so furious that this happened. I'd spent all this time and energy thinking I don't want this thing and I ended up with almost the exact same couch, very similar.


Then I started laughing because life had given me this bizarre, weird joke. It'd been a multi-week joke at this point. I've been thinking about it and laughing about it because it was so gross. They had it in their house for like a week or two trying to get rid of it. Then they had this teal sex couch in their house. It was all gross.


Julie Korioth

It's life definitely telling you you aren't a ghost.


Robert Hansen

So I think if you take a look at your life a little less serious, and allow yourself to be amused by how messed up things get sometimes, yeah, it happens. I could have had a huge stink and try to get them to take this couch back. Can you imagine how much of a pain that would have been? I'm like, You know what, I'm keeping it. This is going in my house.


Julie Korioth

At least IT doesn't have stains on it.


Robert Hansen

That is true. There's about 1,000 less stains. But I think humor is definitely lacking in a lot of people's self-realize where they stand in the world. They take themselves incredibly seriously. Things are going bad. Yeah, they're going bad, but come on, life is still good. We still have fun stuff happening in the world.


You can still resurrect this thing and make something fun out of it. This will be a great joke someday. Start writing it down. You're going to be on improv in a couple of years. You'll be laughing about this.


Julie Korioth

It's so interesting and it's true. Sometimes it takes time to get through those moments that feel like they've taken over your life. For me, it was like a good solid three years. I did not see the light. But you keep going, you keep trying, and you get help. Ask for help from your friends. Find these fun apps that you're talking about.


Robert Hansen

I think meditation is something you mentioned that is worth spending a little bit of time on.


Julie Korioth

I did a three-day silent retreat.


Robert Hansen

Wow, how was that?


Julie Korioth

It was beautiful.


Robert Hansen

What was your major takeaway?


Julie Korioth

I really learned about silence. I learned peace. I've meditated for so long off and on, but I try to do it five times a week. Now I do it every day since the retreat. But I'd never tapped into that true peace; that sense of silence that almost feels like it's expanding. I'd never known what that was like. It was pure bliss.


Robert Hansen

That's great. I have very little time in my day. So I have to power-meditate if I'm going to do it.


Julie Korioth

I say you only need 12 minutes.


Robert Hansen

Yeah. What I realized in doing it, which I don't do nearly as much as you do, I can tell already. It's very occasionally for me. But when I do it, I think the major thing I get out of it is that life is like an ocean. If you step back and you look at it, it's actually, even in very crazy weather from orbit, it's nice and blue. It's normal and solid, and it looks like a singular mass.


Down at the waves, though, that is enormous and scary, and you'll die. If you let yourself emotionally be at that wave, you're going to get tumbled around. The highs and lows, you're going to feel it, you're going to feel it. That's the mannequin, the depressive. You're never going to be okay if you're sitting at the wave level.


But if you step back a little bit, and you're more at the ocean level, or the pond level even, you're back a little bit from it, you're able to see a little bit more about what's going on in the context of the waves and how much they matter. Yeah, they're battering up the seashore. It's not great to be right at sea shore, but you don't have to be. You could sort of be above it all and build yourself a bigger boat and weather those storms.


Julie Korioth

It's interesting that you say that. I wrote a poem about that because there was a time I felt like I was being thrown up to shore, just being battered down by waves every day. I also thought that I could do it alone. Sometimes it's okay to let the lifeguards/people come in and help you get up to those points that you're talking about.


We have a tendency, if we break an arm, or if we have some sort of weird growth, we're going to go to the doctor. We're going to have a cast. We're going to go through some treatment, some rehab to get that arm working better. But when we go through times when we're feeling battered up, even if it's five or six days, it's okay to tell someone about that.


Because if you let it go too long, that's when things can get worse for people. So I love what you're saying about this. I also think it's okay to say, hey, I need the lifeguard or I need the doctor to come in and help a little bit.


Robert Hansen

I also think that people, when things go wrong, they spend a lot of time thinking about what's wrong, instead of thinking about how much is actually going well. Like, I'm not working today, I got laid off or something. That's a bad day. That's a legitimately bad day. But you still have your health. You still have your family who loves you and your pets that love you. You're going to find another job because you've done all the right things.


It's just a layoff, it's a temporary setback. You'll recover from this. I like to say that just because there's one thing wrong, it doesn't mean there are two things wrong. Just because one area of your life is bad doesn't mean everything about your life is bad. It doesn't mean you can trickle down this negative attitude towards everything else in your life. If you think about things a little bit more holistically at the ocean level, you can recover.


Julie Korioth

I agree with you. Not everybody was taught that. If you're raised in a home where everything is negative, more than likely, you're going to pick up those habits and things that you've seen or the way you were raised. But that doesn't mean you can't change your mindset.


I think that that's what life is about. It's learning to change your mindset, change your story. When we can learn about ways of doing that, it helps people. Some people, I think, have a hard time with that because they don't know any different. They don't see that. They have always lived in this scope of things are bad.


Robert Hansen

Where they have bad family or bad friends, a lot of people are very toxic. The sooner you can get out from your toxic friends and family, the better. You create your little band of people and those are your family. Those are the people you need to be spending your time with. Because if they're not supporting you and your goals and finding ways to lift you up, you're definitely leaving a lot of value that you could be extracting from your friend group on the table.


Julie Korioth

That's so true.


Robert Hansen

I also like to celebrate failure with them. I wanted to do this on a more regular basis; I'm too busy to do it. I've always liked the idea of having a small group of people go around the horn like, how did you mess up this week? Give me the worst thing that you did? Like how you totally said the wrong thing, did the wrong thing, weren't in the right place at the right time. Like how you miss a meeting when you shouldn't have missed the meeting.


Just to get everyone comfortable with the fact that this happens. You're not unique because you messed up. That's not a special thing. This happens all day long. Everyone's always messing up.


Julie Korioth

I love that. My kids go to a school that's called Alpha. They talked about that and the parent-teacher night. We celebrate failure here. When kids are supposed to have practice or homework, we're not going to grade on stuff like that. You know why? Because that's when you're supposed to not do that great. That's when you're trying to figure it out and learn.


They embrace failure so much. If your kids don't make the grade, that's okay. Let's figure out a new way to solve this problem. They embrace failure so much. When I first heard this because we had been more of a traditional school, I was like, What are they talking about? This is making me nervous as a parent.


Then finally, by the end, I was like, oh, yeah, we should celebrate failure. I've never thought about it that way. Because it helps you grow. I mean, think about anything in life that's helped you grow and get to the next step, it usually comes out of what we consider failure.


Robert Hansen

Another thing I found along my travels — this is a diversion. I wasn't directly looking for this when I found it. I found it on a pickup podcast of all things. I was doing some research because Mystery, who is this pickup guy in Austin, had a TV show. I felt it was sort of predatory. So I wanted to learn a lot more about it to figure out what's happening and the psychology behind it.


So I found this group that I thought was identical to what I was actually trying to research. It turns out they're the exact opposite. They're not like that at all. They're super nice people. I accidentally found some great people trying to do good things. They ended up rebranding themselves as the Art of Charm.


But their whole point was, you should make friends with everybody around you. Just make friends with everybody. I'm like, that can't work. There's no way. Just start smiling. Just make friends with everybody. People will naturally hang out with you because you're nice. That was their broad point. I'm like, That is such sage advice, randomly. It has nothing to do with getting laid. It has everything to do with being a good person.


It actually changed how I thought about things. I knew that I wasn't doing that. I knew I was treating people a lot more transactionally. Can I get them to buy my service? As soon as I started treating people a lot more like I wanted to be treated and friendly with everybody, it didn't matter whether they worked for me, or they drove a cab, or whatever. Any interaction I had with anybody, I was extremely nice to everybody all the time.


A bizarre side effect happened. I wasn't trying to get laid, I was already married. But the cool part about it is I made a lot of friends, and my mood increased dramatically and my health increased, and I could tell the amount of cortisol in my system.


We have this little thing in the middle of our brain called the amygdala. If it's exposed to a lot of stress hormones, cortisol, you're going to have bad depression, you're going to have anxiety, you're going to have PTSD, all these things.


So if you can stave that off by having a lot of friends who are always brightening your mood, and trying to get in touch with you like, "Hey, you want to go do this thing?" It's going to naturally stave off a lot of that stress hormone and make you feel a lot more normal.


And, frankly, they're going to check in on you. This is one of the reasons I think that we've gone away from the nuclear family a little bit. I never liked the idea of a nuclear family, to begin with. I've always thought there should be the concept of a nuclear family plus the grandparents.


Because if you think about it, if one of the parents is off doing something, and the other one is sick, what's happening? Are the kids going to die? No, it's usually grandparents or an aunt or somebody nearby who's going to take care of those kids.


But similarly, you have friends. You have a group of friends who love you and they're going to take care of your kids for you while you're off doing whatever you need to do. If you don't have that friend group, if you're truly treating yourself as if we're an atomic family of two people and two kids and that's what a family structure looks like, I think you're actually lacking a lot of the foundational structure of what makes a happy culture and society.


Julie Korioth

Did you grow up having your parents and your grandparents around you? I did, too. We were all close. We saw our grandparents every weekend and it meant a lot to me. I try to do that with my kids as well but I feel like it's more challenging than when we were growing up. We weren't involved in all these activities and things like football or cheerleading.


Now you have all these extra side sports, and kids are doing all of them. One thing that was kind of nice about COVID was being able to sit and connect. I felt like it was easier to connect with people when you have this downtime, and trying to put all that together in this nuclear family what you're talking about. And making sure that you keep the grandparents around and keeping that austere is hard for me to do. Are you able to do it now with your family?


Robert Hansen

Yeah, I have a relatively good relationship with everybody. I'm strengthening my friends' group every day, trying to find more reasons to reach out to them. Like, "I haven't talked to you in a week or so. What's going on? You're quiet, what's going on?" "Oh, sorry, man, I'm busy." "Okay, great. Let's go grab a drink or something." Or let's hang out, come on over tomorrow.


Just forcing my friend group to stay friendly at all times, talking to them, and finding reasons to reach out for whatever. It's your birthday or your birthday is coming up, what do you want to do? We should come and hang out. Let's talk about it, or whatever, any old excuse. It doesn't matter what it is.


Julie Korioth

I love that you're talking about this because it's something I'm struggling with right now. Being an entrepreneur and being a single mom, I was talking to my friend about this today. We get to talk on the phone, which is wonderful but we don't get to see each other. Our kids are the same age, but they're at different schools. She's like, "I love our time that we even get to talk on the phone." She's like, "This means so much to me."


Robert Hansen

Or just call them on the way home or whatever. Find some way. I know how hard being an entrepreneur is, trust me. I totally get it. But you’ve got to find those moments. It's late, and I'm tired. I'm going to go to bed, but I want to call and tell you I love you. You'll brighten their mood, your own mood, and it'll make it so much easier for you to fall asleep because you've done something good.


Julie Korioth

And even trying to figure it out once a week. It could be once a week. I think that is trying to figure out times and your day that you can implement the things you care about; friends, family, working out, how you can implement them in your day to where it makes sense. Because then that brings you joy.


Robert Hansen

In the old days, you would make a family business. You would just incorporate them somehow, and your company and that's how you'd see them. We've definitely moved away from that age.


Another thing that I do quite often is I re-frame rage. People will come at me with something that they want me to be upset about. Like, read this article, and the article will have something in it, like a very gotcha sort of tagline. Like so-and-so said, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and they're raging mad. I'm supposed to feel mad because they're mad.


All I can do is say, "A person I don't know has feelings that I don't care about." Then I re-framed it. I'm like, "Well, I don't care that they had these feelings."


So it doesn't impact my brain anymore. It takes a lot of the emotion out of these interactions. Or, such-and-such politician doesn't care about so-and-so. I'm like, it's probably not even true. They probably do care about it but you have chosen to cherry-pick something they've said and are attributing your feelings to what they said.


So I will say it another way. Some journalist wants me to care about some politicians' lack of something that they think they should have done. I don't care about what some journalist thinks. So if you rephrase all these things in your head, it's a quick way to sort of disarm social media's impact, I think.


Julie Korioth

I think that, once again, is another reason I kind of stayed away from it. Because it is easy, I think, to get triggered on social media by some of these things, especially if you're passionate about certain areas of politics, and you see some person saying this. It's become so juvenile, honestly, to watch the news and to see them picking on this person and that person in this news station and that news station.


It doesn't feel like it's thoughtful or researched, well-thought-out news. It is, obviously. They do their research and things like that. But also, they add this, to me, it seems like a high school way of speaking about it all. I would love one good news station to watch, just that old boring nightly news.


Robert Hansen

Me too. Journalism, I like to say, is a dead profession or has perished. I think there are still some good journalists out there. But their business models are so perverse that it's hard for them to function as good journalists.


Julie Korioth

You're finding ways to take away the rage...What did you call it?


Robert Hansen

Redefining the rage


Julie Korioth

Because they can hit your hot spots.


Robert Hansen

They sure can and they're trying. That's their entire goal.


Julie Korioth

Then it's crazy to think that they're controlling you and your rage. So to try and bring that down to your center and not let it take you over as it really...


Robert Hansen

Unfortunately, it's even worse than I'm describing. Facebook did a mood manipulation study maybe in the 2008 time frame. It wasn't a very big study. I think it was 200,000 people or something, which is not small, it's still large. I actually have seen this code, so I know exactly how it works.


But effectively, they had a keyword list. These are pro keywords, these are negative keywords. They would basically try to detect, if they gave you negative content, are you going to suddenly become upset? Or positive content, are you suddenly going to become happier at least in your interactions online? It's absolutely yes.


So it's a little scary that they're doing this type of analysis on people without even informing them that that's happening. But indeed, that is absolutely something that the engine might be doing accidentally. Because these things are black boxes and they don't care about people. They're trying to get more people doing more engagement. So if they're optimizing for engagement, and it turns out, we're heavily engaging in negative content.


Julie Korioth

And why are they trying to get people engaged? To make money.


Robert Hansen

Of course, very perverse incentives. So even if I could rephrase everything that comes my way, I'm going to keep getting this negative content because it's trying to target me with something I will be upset about, and share and interact with and have a comment about/


In a similar vein of rephrasing things, another thing I like to do is paraphrase what someone is saying to me. This is a bit of a cheat code to life if you get right. It's one of those things that takes a little bit of practice. Sometimes it takes a lot of practice, depending on what we're talking about. Someone will say something to me, and the very first thing I say to myself is, what did they say? It's very important to remember the actual words that they said, not what I think they said. What are the actual words they said?


Because it's so easy to, in your brain, rephrase things quickly. Like, "They said I'm a real jerk." When they actually said, "Hey, man, your coffee cup is over here." They didn't say anything about being a jerk. But I interpreted it in that way.


So, first, you have to get the actual words. Next, is, what are they trying to accomplish? What are they trying to get you to do by the words that they say? Well, they want me to move my coffee cup. Okay. That's what's happening here. Then the third thing is, what are they trying to accomplish by bothering to have this conversation with you in the first place?


And usually, that comes down to a handful of things. They like you and they would like to have you back. They dislike you and they want you to fix something so that they will like you. Or they like you, but they know you don't like them, and they're trying to fix that, or some variants thereof. But if you can quickly do this very rapidly, you'll figure out what people want. When you know what they really want, you can kind of shortcut it.


It's like, well, I know you don't care about this coffee cup. I know you don't care that it was here or here. I know that's not what's going on here. Let's go have coffee together somewhere, not this coffee. You'll very quickly get to what's really happening under the hood.


This is a great way to diagnose when people are upset or sad or whatever. You'll hear them say something. I remember this friend of mine was like, "I want to have all this plastic surgery done." I'm like, What did they say? Well, they said plastic surgery. What are they trying to get me to do? They want me to say yes to it. They want me to give them affirmations to this point. But what are they trying to do? They're trying to say that they feel very ugly. They want me to say you're not.


I'm like, "This has nothing to do with your looks at all. If you do this surgery, you're not going to be happier with your looks. Because this isn't about your looks. This is about the fact that you're upset about your job right now. We need to fix the actual problem, which is that your job is killing you. Let's get you out of that job. Let's go do the hard work and actually make you happy somewhere else, completely independent of this." They never talked about surgery ever again. That was the last time.


Julie Korioth

Wow. Two things out of this: one, as humans, we're meaning-making machines. So you're making meaning out of nothing and you're listening. You're listening to what people are saying. I think a lot of times when people are sitting and engaging with each other, they're not actually listening. They're making meaning out of it before people are even finished with what they're saying. So this allows you to listen on a level that is having a conversation that is meaningful.


Robert Hansen

It takes practice, though. It really is not easy.


Julie Korioth

That's okay. Try once a day.


Robert Hansen

Yeah, especially that one comment that stood out. When someone said that one comment, you're like, that was really caustic, or that was really nice, but it came out of nowhere. There's usually a couple of extra layers of meaning in what happened there. Now it's your job to sit there and diagnose, what did they say, firstly? Because if you get the words wrong, it's going to be hard to get the meaning.


But don't paraphrase. Actually, get the exact wording and even maybe the exact intonation. Then you work your way down the list. Don't add extra meaning ahead of time. They don't think you're a jerk, and they hate you. They might also think that, but they probably are thinking they wish that you would be better in XYZ way. They're trying to fix you and you're just unfixable from their perspective.


One of the things that's bothered me for a while now is, speaking of ad engines and stuff that we're talking about a minute ago, I've noticed that there are a lot of companies out there that try to monetize happiness. They do it in ways that are so insanely obvious that it's not true, that it seems silly that it's even a thing. The Happy Meal is the one that comes to my mind.


Obviously, your children are not going to suddenly be happy. They might temporarily be out of your hair and enjoy their toys, or whatever. But it's not like that's suddenly going to make them grow up to be a happy person. So it's that monetization of happiness that I'm very cognizant of. Whenever I see an ad, I try to tune it out as much as possible because I don't want their very sophisticated marketing people, and they're very smart, to try to impact my brain in the way that they knowingly will try.


Julie Korioth

Well, happiness, to me, is a kind of unattainable place to even be. Because for the longest time, I thought, I want to be happy, want to be happy. Instead of trying to find peace and joy, and live life to the fullest. But this idea of reaching this happy state, I think, can feel overwhelming for people. Being more content with life and appreciating those moments of joy and the conversations that you have with friends, that is what I started to learn, for me personally, brings more fulfillment than this idea of happiness.


Robert Hansen

What about triggers? How do you feel about things that can make you sad? Or whenever you think about this one thing, it's like, "It's such a bummer that this happened. Like someone dying or some bad event that happened in your childhood. How do you manage those triggers?


Julie Korioth

I used to not manage them very well. I mean, I would instantly react if I was triggered. That's why I do everything that I possibly can to work on my mental health every day. That includes meditation, journaling, and everything that I have here, I do.


I find that being able to take a step back now when I'm triggered and think through things, kind of like how you're talking about thinking through a conversation you're having with somebody and not trying to make meaning out of it. Really stepping back and...


Robert Hansen

Thinking about how you think about things.


Julie Korioth

Yeah, exactly.


Robert Hansen

That's what meditation is.


Julie Korioth

Well, it's changing the story in my head because, usually, we get triggered by something that is tied to an event. Thinking about that event or that time in life, instead of saying, if something happened when I was younger with my parents, now I say they did the best they could with the tools and resources that they had and the way they were raised. Instead of going down the path that I would have normally gone down.


Or having employees and learning their personalities and making sure that I'm taking care of them and knowing that people have your back. So with triggers now, I take a pause. There are some days I do it better than others. There's usually one time a month where it's like it doesn't matter, my hormones are raging. Everybody kind of needs to be out of the house.


Robert Hansen

The moon's up.


Julie Korioth

Exactly, the full moon.


Robert Hansen

For me, the one trigger that I've identified that is absolutely a trigger for sure is if I'm eating alone, and typically at night. That is not a good place for me to be. I should be with somebody or at least on the phone with somebody and they have to listen to me chew. I don't care. Some way to not be alone when I'm eating at night.


Unfortunately, in my job, I travel quite a bit. So I'll be in this foreign land, and for whatever reason, it's a weird time of day to like to hook up with somebody or they can't meet because they're in some other meeting. I don't know the people very well and I don't have a hangout or whatever because I'm new to that city or town or country even. So I'm in a weird situation where I'm forced to eat alone. I do not like that sensation.


I don't mind breakfast alone, for some reason. It doesn't matter. Lunch is fine. But dinner, I always feel like there should be someone else around. It's a trigger. I know, it makes me upset and I don't like it. So I try to avoid it. I try to figure out some way. Come on, you've got to have dinner with me.


Julie Korioth

You mean dinner alone, like even going to a restaurant by yourself. You don't enjoy it?


Robert Hansen

I generally try to make friends with the waitstaff. I mean, whatever I can do to not be completely sitting there by myself alone at dinner.


Julie Korioth

Do you mind me asking where that comes from? Have you kind of thought about that?


Robert Hansen

I suspect growing up an only child probably had a lot to do with it. I spent a lot of time alone. It's not like these days when kids are never alone and they always have somebody around. I was very alone. I'm a latchkey kid, and I would say, probably four or five nights a week, I'd feed myself. Late in the evening, my parents would be home.


But I never liked that. I always wanted there to be somebody around. It doesn't matter who the person is. I know that about myself so I try to avoid that situation. Or if I'm going to eat alone, I eat in my hotel room. I get room service or something. I try not to be out. It's something I'm aware of.


Julie Korioth

Sharing that, for me, especially after my divorce, I stopped drinking almost four years ago because when the kids would go to bed or when they weren't there, it was such a lonely, terrifying place for me. Wine became my new husband.


It was like I needed somebody there but there weren't any people there. So I was drinking in ways that I hadn't drunk before. It took me a couple of years, but finally, I had to divorce alcohol.


Robert Hansen

No more mommy juice.


Julie Korioth

But yeah, those triggers. We all have coping mechanisms, and they're okay. Some of them might be alcohol and food and they can cause us to feel uncomfortable. I think the more that we can have some self-compassion around it, and not make it a bad thing, and that this is how I'm feeling right now, and that's okay, it's just a part of me, I think that they tend to subside and not and not take over.


That's one thing I've learned. When I have those triggers, sometimes I handle them better than others and sometimes I don't. I'm like, Hey, you're all right. You're doing the best you can.


Robert Hansen

A sort of similar concept is I try not to let other people control my mood if possible. The same way with drugs and alcohol, that's somebody else controlling my mood. But people too, I don't like the idea of being someone else's puppet. I like having my own way of thinking about things.


If I let somebody else get me upset, either because of their writing or because of something they said, effectively, I'm giving them control. I've seceded all of my own autonomy to them and their whims and their decisions about how I should feel. I do not like that at all. So I do a lot to curb their ability to control me.


Julie Korioth

I do, too. I do the same thing. It was easy for me to allow people to control me for a very long time because I was such a people pleaser. So I wanted to please them. If that meant that they could control me, I'd be like, okay, all right. And because I cared. I do care and I wanted to not only please, but I care about people.


I would definitely let them cross boundaries. I allowed it. I take full responsibility for it now. But being able to detach from letting people control you and caring about what they think has been the most freedom I've experienced.


Robert Hansen

I bet. At one point, I had considered writing a book on this general set of topics. I played around quite a bit with the idea. I was going to call it Accounting for Happiness; sort of the boring task of getting yourself happy. Like, truly boring accounting or like mathematical accounting of happiness.


My number one problem is I have no certifications. There's no credibility whatsoever. So I, at minimum, have to leverage things that are other people's work and consolidate it instead of my own research. However, I did do my own research. It's not like I wasn't also experimenting on myself in a number of different ways with diet and exercise and a bunch of other things.


One of the things I found was this document I found somewhere slicing and dicing different levels of happiness, different things you could be happy about. Family and friends would be one category or your finances another category. I think there are like 15,16 different subcategories. I decided to rank all of those things in terms of how happy I was and how much I thought those things impacted my happiness, from one to 10.


I think the lowest thing got a 6, highest got a 10. There were a number of things I thought directly impacted my happiness. One of the things that was very low, I think, was community. To me, community in this context meant charity, like helping other people, as opposed to, let's say, being an American or something like that.


To me, as I put a six next to this number, I was thinking, Well, I don't want to go over to a bunch of homeless people and to give them money out of my pocket. That type of charity, which is part of the community, I don't personally get any happiness out of that. I feel basically neutral when that happens. I also, over time, was tracking how happy I was. Every single day, I was taking a snapshot when I was doing this research. I was marking one through 10, how happy I was on all these different dimensions.


One day, I was extremely happy. I'm like, okay, great. This is a good opportunity because it's on the high baseline as opposed to a depressive baseline. I guess I'd never had a seriously happy day like this. So I went back and did a sort of regression analysis on all the things then saw that I should not be as happy as I am like. The math doesn't make sense.


I should be as happy as maybe like eight or maybe a nine max or something. Because there are not enough of the other things that were highly ranked that had gotten a 10 that day. It's not like I'm particularly happy with my family. I didn't even talk to them that day. So it's not like they were contributing to my overall happiness.


But the one thing that was contributing was that sense of community. I'm like, What is going on? To me, that shouldn't. The number was only six, but it was outsized. It should have been a 10, but it wasn't. It was a six. There's something wrong about my perception of what community actually is. I'm not understanding what it is.


It turns out what had happened is that was the very same day that I had finally learned something called Content Security Policy, which is something I've been working on for many years. It's in your phone and everybody's phone and every computer on the planet that makes them much more secure. It had finally reached the internet. So I had finally impacted a billion people. It had taken years of talking to people and it finally happened.


I realized, that's the kind of charity that moves me. It's not helping the one person on the ground. I'm almost neutral about that. But when I know that I can have an enormous impact on people who don't know me, and I got nothing from it, there was no money to be made. It was not like I was doing it as a consultant or anything, I felt like it was the right thing to do. I knew it would help people.


I suddenly realized how much that actually mattered to me. It does matter to me to help people. I don't need the direct feedback loop from that person to go, "Thank you for helping me out in the gutter," or whatever. I was able to help people on a much more broad scale.


I would love to help people out of the gutter. Absolutely. But I would like to do it at a much more macroscopic level. I don't like the individual one-on-one interactions because I don't feel like it's helping enough. That's my problem. When I'm helping the community, I don't feel like what I'm doing is enough to make me happy.


So learning these kinds of things about yourself, I think, is critical to deciding where you should be spending your time. I'll be honest, the RSnake Show is largely based on the idea that I'm going to be helping a lot of people, ideally, with conversations like this.


Julie Korioth

Well, and it sounds like what you're talking about earlier with your friends and feeling connected and impacting people. That you are working towards creating this happiness in your life that is sustainable. Because you are doing things like the show and connecting with your friends on a regular basis. You know that eating alone is not going to bring you joy, so how do you engage with the people that are there or find somebody?


I really admire the work that you're doing. Because for the longest time, we were taught, or at least I was, if you put yourself first, that's being selfish. No, if you put yourself first you're actually creating a healthier community around you. You're better for your children. You're better for your friends. You're better for other people. So I am an advocate of taking care of you first. Do these things that you're doing because they do bring you joy, and then you're going to spread that energy all around you.


Robert Hansen

Absolutely. The reason I didn't write the book was actually almost as interesting as anything else I've talked about so far. I was on an airplane flying back from Los Angeles, I believe. I happened to listen to this one song by Grimes. It was a very interesting song. It's called Kill V. Maim, a great name. It happens to be the very same song that Elon Musk listened to when he decided he wanted to take her on a date.


So it forced me, for the very first time, to actually think about the relationship because I don't care about celebrity relationships, I'll be honest. They're no longer together, I don't believe, so this is well in the past. But I'm like, Why did Elon go for Grimes? I don't quite understand it.


I mean, Elon probably can meet anybody he wants. Why is somebody who has this enormous career, and super busy, and traveling all the time? She's a musician, and a producer, and she's doing all this stuff, she's traveling. It doesn't make sense. He's also very busy running multiple companies. It's just not a great fit. You'd think he wants somebody who can dedicate themselves to him and follow him around when he's traveling or whatever it takes to be more part of his life.


Then I was remembering something else that he did where he was smoking pot on TV. Then he had this joke online, where he was saying, "My stock is going to go to 420." It was a marijuana reference. Which is all funny, but it's not the kind of funny that a typical CEO of multiple publicly traded companies, or at least one publicly traded company would be doing. That's when I realized that I don't think he was in a good mental space. I think that he was kind of imploding at the time.


I think he might be much healthier these days. I don't know. But the signals that I was getting, he reminded me a lot of these other very wealthy people that I know. They're surrounded by sycophants and they have all these fans who have something to say about everything they're doing and all this sort of way of thinking about the world that isn't healthy. Because you're basically forced to look at everybody as are they on my side or not on my side? Are they going to agree with me or disagree with me?


You are not in a healthy place because of the people around you. And I've run across this before with some of my other friends, and I saw them doing something very similar. It occurred to me, what I was writing a book about wasn't a book about the type of depression that relates to somebody feeling like they have no worth. That is one type of depression. It's a very common type of depression. But there's another type of depression, which is not caring about how much worth you have.


So I believe that I'm a very worthwhile human being and that I can provide a lot of value to society. If I don't care about that, that is a very dangerous place for somebody to be. So what I was actually reading a book about was success. And I realized I had to stop writing the book because that was not my original intention. I was not trying to write that book.


But it was a useful thing for me to go down the path of realizing how different types of depression can impact different kinds of people. I don't think that I was prepared for the kind of success that I got early on in life. I thought, somehow being known in the security industry and being sort of a pinnacle in my world would somehow give me something, or it would provide some gift back to me in terms of happiness or something. It turned out to be completely the opposite.


Julie Korioth

Well, because you weren't finding your worth in your work.


Robert Hansen

Negative, I was finding plenty of worth in it. The problem was, I didn't care anymore.


Julie Korioth

Why didn't you care?


Robert Hansen

Because I felt, at the time, not anymore, like people were abusing the gift that I was giving them. It felt like no matter how much I gave, people wanted to suck more out of me. So, at some point, I felt like society was a vampire, and my lowly body could not provide it with enough blood. So I stopped caring. Like, you can have it, this is it.


I get the impression, when I see extremely famous people who've gone through similar kinds of dramatic — not to say that my level of popularity is anything close to some of these other people. That is not my claim. But in my world, I had reached the very top. There was nowhere to go from where I was.


These people are in a very similar position where they've reached these pinnacles. I think it's very dangerous to be in that position if you feel like you're not actually getting something back. That was my problem. I wasn't taking anything back for myself.


Julie Korioth

What would you have taken back?


Robert Hansen

That's a very good question. At the time, I'm not sure I have a good answer for that because I hadn't planned for that eventuality. I hadn't gone into it with the understanding that I was going to need to take a lot more time for myself. I was going to need to hide my feelings a lot more, not in the sense of hiding my highs and lows, but to hide what I like about things. Like, this is for me, this is a little bit of joy here, save some jokes for myself and don't have to share everything, don't have to overshare my life. Get off social.


These are things that you don't know until you know. Then, all of a sudden, you want your privacy back, but you can't get it. That's the problem I think a lot of very successful people have. They suddenly realize they don't have privacy anymore. They can't go back. They can't go back to just going to a normal restaurant or a small canteen where people don't know their names. Once that has been uncovered there, that's where they're for the rest of their lives.


Julie Korioth

I got a very sand molecular taste whenever I was in the music industry with my ex-husband. You have people calling you and wanting tickets and wanting to do this and that. Then when you get divorced from that world, then you find out who your friends are.


Robert Hansen

Divorced in the most literal sense in this case?


Julie Korioth

Yes. Divorced. I had a lot of my self-worth wrapped up there in that industry and what we were doing. I cared about it very much. So it was really heartbreaking for me and almost a naive way to know that people only cared about one thing. I had to learn that the hard way.


But once again, then you find out who your friends are and then you go and you choose friends who are going to be the ones who support you and have your back.


Robert Hansen

And also tell you when you're dead wrong and help you not fail. That's the problem with a lot of these very successful people. They surround themselves with Yes people.


Julie Korioth

Oh my gosh, 100%. Not necessarily from myself being that successful, but we were around a lot of people that were successful in that way. It was amazing to see that people wanted to give them whatever they wanted. They didn't care. A lot of the things that they were getting were harming them.


Robert Hansen

Absolutely. There's a question I like to ask arbitrarily of people who are doing this type of thing. What do you think happiness is worth? When I ask some people, they say, every dollar I have. Some people will say if I had to pay it off every day of my life for the rest of my life, I would. What do you think if you could bottle it up and have it? Is it something that you would even try to buy if you could?


Julie Korioth

That's an interesting question. I don't believe in... hold on, let me think about this for a second. I don't want to feel like I'm buying.


Robert Hansen

Well, for instance, one of the problems with this question is there is such a thing as bottled-up happiness, and it's probably heroin or something, where you could shoot it and be happy for a while, for a very short amount of time. Then your life goes to hell. So what is it worth? Maybe worth your life.


Julie Korioth

Well, yeah, that was what I was about to say. I don't want to believe that you always have to buy things. But honestly, I've spent a lot of money to work on my mental health. I mean, people don't want to believe this because of the way I smile and I present myself. Now I am genuinely a joyful, happy person.


Robert Hansen

You would tell me if you weren't, right?


Julie Korioth

I would because I don't need to fake it anymore. But when I did, I spent a lot of my life faking it. I have spent a lot of money cultivating happiness and joy and trying to rewire my entire brain. I didn't even know what fun was. I could pretend, but I didn't know. So yeah I think it is worth a lot. If you feel like there's times in your life where...


I got to a point where I didn't have suicidal ideation, but I didn't know how to live. I didn't want to be alive. I'm thankful that I am and that I have had the resources to start my journey towards creating this life that I have now, which I'm so honored to be living and being a part of. So yeah, I guess I do pay a lot.


Robert Hansen

I know Mr. Debiec in the next room here was recently in Los Angeles, on Ayahuasca.


Chris Debiec


was in Bend, Oregon, to be clear, and it's called Ayahuasca.


Robert Hansen

I screw that all up. He feels like it's made a big difference for him. There are things like DMT, magic mushrooms, Ketamine, which you can actually get over the counter. In fact , we had Dr. Sheila Newsom in the podcast.


Julie Korioth

Sheila has been to my home and I've done ketamine treatments.


Robert Hansen

Well, I'm curious. How was that?


Julie Korioth

It changed my life. I would say, for me personally, more so than the Ayahuasca, which I'm probably saying wrong. Like I said, I've done it all. I went to a 30-day trauma treatment program, which was the huge step that I needed to get me out of my depressive thinking and trauma, my panic attacks and PTSD, and you name it. Then I tried Ayahuasca and DMT and they were helpful. But I will say it was ketamine that was another huge step for me.


I'd say, for me, it was the 30-day program. There was a time in life I realized going once a week to therapy was going to take years for me to get out of this headspace of not wanting to live. Then ketamine was not one that I just... here's the thing, you can get it over the counter. I suggest people go to a doctor like Dr. Sheila Newsom and find out her information. Make sure you're going to a professional and doing it the right way.


Robert Hansen

I meant over the counter as in prescription in this case, but I said it all wrong. I messed up that whole thing.


Julie Korioth

I know what you mean by that, but still, even some of the prescriptions are not as... There's a difference when you're getting injected in your leg and into the muscle, than when you're taking... You want to make sure that people describe exactly how to use this and what you need to do before. There's a cleansing part of it. There's some journaling that she recommends and then what you do afterwards. It's a process.


So if you get a prescription or you order it online, you may not know these things and don't know how it's going to affect you or how it can take you to the level that you need it to.


Robert Hansen

Dosing and all that stuff, I would always want that to be regulated by someone who actually knows what they're doing.


Julie Korioth

Yeah, absolutely.


Robert Hansen

Another thing along those lines is transcranial magnetic resonance. I don't know if you've heard of this one. I first learned about this through a Navy SEAL friend of mine who's recently passed, unfortunately. A great guy. He had had some insane physical PTSD, not the emotional kind. You have enough trauma to your brain and it stops functioning the way that normal brains function.


Obviously, he's not going to tell me all these crazy things that happened to him. For example, when I went to the doctor and they asked if I'd ever had any concussions, he said, "Well, this one particular day, I was the range safety officer for this one particular type of explosive. And every time it goes off, it gives you a concussion. We had over 150 in one day alone. So yeah, I've had 150 concussions in one day alone. Yes, I've had concussions."


When you think about it in that context, obviously, his brain is going to work a lot different than yours or mine might. One of the things he found was Transcranial Magnetic Resonance. We basically put your head in this thing and it monitors the frequencies of your brain and tries to figure out what a normal brain looks like. It basically puts a lot of magnetic energy through your brain at a certain frequency. And gradually, your brain kind of gets back in line with the same frequency that it used to have.


They have a lot of interesting experimental science on this where it's actually been able to cure. This is early days, so who knows if this is going to end up being true. But it seems like it cures a lot of depression. It seems like it cures a lot of PTSD. It seems like it stops people from doing certain types of drugs, like they don't want to anymore, including alcohol.


Another SEAL, I think he was Greenbrae, he was wanting to kill himself all the time. One of the governors got involved because they're kind of a small community, and said, "We need to do anything we can to save this guy because this is a terrible situation." So they sent him down. He did this thing. You can tell he's not 100%, he's not back to where he was. But apparently, when he went back and set them down on the bar, he just didn't want to have it anymore.


It wasn't like he was disgusted by it. He was turning his nose up at it. He's like, I don't have any craving at all for it. It's gone. The whole sense of wanting is gone. So there might be some interesting technology along those lines, even if that's not it.


Julie Korioth

Yeah, but I'd love to learn more about it.


Robert Hansen

That's very cool. So you mentioned you had panic attacks. Can you describe what those were like and that sensation? How do you know you're having one?


Julie Korioth

So I will say, I usually would have more heavy anxiety. The panic attacks came on after my divorce. I'll give you one example. I was going to pick my daughter up from school and there was no alcohol or anything involved. I was just picking her up. And that's the thing, sometimes I felt like it would be a sucker punch. It was coming out of nowhere. I didn't know exactly what was causing it.


I'm driving her the same route I always go, and all of a sudden, I can't breathe. I pull over. I start crying. I'm hyperventilating. Then a friend of mine called and I immediately answered it. I didn't even know where it was. I went from driving to pulling over knowing that I'm having a panic. That was the first one I remember that was out of this world.


Then my friend luckily was on the phone and helped me get my bearings and get settled. I was breathing. Luckily, she was really young so she won't remember that.


It just happened. It's very scary. Sometimes when people talk about going and being athletic and what helps your mental health is working out, I would do everything. I'm very much, like I said, a people pleaser, and I like to follow what they say to do. So I'm like, Okay, I’ve got to get out on the trail. I’ve got to walk. I mean, some days it was so hard for me to put on yoga pants that I would be crying. But then I get myself out there and walk, and all of a sudden, I have a panic attack on the trail. I'm hiding behind a tree and I'm crying and can't believe what my life has turned into and why.


There were a lot of unhealed traumas that I never had dealt with. I wasn't being good about moving forward in life. I would dissociate. I would dissociate-move-on. Even when I was married, our therapist would say you need to go to a trauma specialist. I'm like, "Why do I need to go through that? I'm fine." Then I'd have a massive event, like a divorce that triggered everything and brought up so much.


It very much felt like a sucker punch, never knowing why it was happening. And trying to learn to get through them. When I stopped drinking, I will say that the panic attacks went away. I still was having a hard time with my mental health. I started isolating after I stopped drinking because I was like, Well, who do I hang out with now? Everyone drinks. I wasn't in the headspace and I started getting a lot of social anxiety.


It all ended up with a lot of help. I was able to work through all that. I mean, just look at my life. It's amazing. I feel grateful to be alive every day. I have the tools and the resources. So I stopped drinking and I stopped having panic attacks. Then, like I said, I went to trauma treatment for 30 days.


What's insane about that is that I got back on March 15, 2020, and as a single mom, I never would have imagined I would be with my kids more than I was with them. It was 24/7. In a good amount of time because we do have the first and third weekend when they go to their dad.


Robert Hansen

But at least you did it with a clear headspace.


Julie Korioth

I mean, seriously, it saved me. I was able to come back and enjoy being with my kids. Not that I didn't before, but I didn't have all this anxiety around it. I was able to be more clear. I got the help I needed.


Robert Hansen

Another thing that I've found to be somewhat useful, I think, is to try to have a boring day, which I know sounds...


Julie Korioth

It sounds awful.


Robert Hansen

I know, it does sound awful. But in my world, that's pretty tough because everything's always changing. Everyone is always freaking out. A lot of red alerts; all hands on deck because something new is happening. Everything is a firefight.


There are also a lot of things you can do to make your day boring. You can make it so that you don't have access to social media at all, for instance. You're just sitting there doing your work and some boring music playing and doing the rote tasks that you do all day. If you do programming work like I do, I'll try to do some of that, bore myself doing that.


Write some boring emails, make them a little too long, whatever, intentionally bore myself so that, at the end of the day, when I'm done, I am 100% present and on. So now when I come out of it, and there's people talking to me and we're going to go have dinner or some somebody coming over, I am super present because that's the first interesting thing that's happened all day as much as possible.


Obviously, there's a lot of drama with the security industry. But as much as possible, trying to limit the amount of dopamine I'm getting throughout the day. Then I come out the other end and I'm like, you want to talk? You want to do something? Let's go because my weekends are much more fulfilling and interesting. I have no desire at all to be a recluse, or if I do, it's with somebody else.


Julie Korioth

It's interesting to see how the pandemic forced people into this isolation to be more of a recluse. That, I think, is why we're also hearing more about mental health. I mean, it played out, fortunately, especially for people who are extroverts and need that. It had to be challenging on them. I feel like I'm more of an introverted extrovert. I enjoy both.


Robert Hansen

There's some pretty good research for why this boredom thing makes sense. It's officially called the Coolidge effect. It stems from this funny anecdote of President Coolidge and his wife visiting a chicken farm. She asked the guy running the farm, "How often does the rooster have sex?" And he's like, "Well, like 12 times a day or 15 times a day." She's like, "Well, you should tell Mr. Coolidge that."


Then the President goes to the same guy he's like, "Is it with the same hand every single time?" He's like, "No, a different hen every time." "You tell Mrs. Coolidge that." That's the funny anecdote.


But it basically is, if you're doing the same thing over and over and over again, you don't get that dopamine hit. You don't have that sensation where everything is new and everything is interesting. You're relaxed. Then when something is interesting, and you finally do encounter some new stimuli, that is intentional, and it's not because you scrolled a little bit further down Facebook, and you found, finally, that interesting article that upsets you. But because your friend has something interesting to talk about today, and they're doing something interesting, and life is interesting in some interesting way. That's a better way to live your life.


Julie Korioth

Yeah. There's a lot of research around it. They recommend teaching kids to be bored. Take away the phone and let them sit there and look out the window.


Robert Hansen

I think that's a great idea. They get really annoyed with you, but it's really good for them.


Julie Korioth

I remember doing a lot of that growing up. Like you, I was a latchkey kid and I would go home and luckily MTV came about. That was fun.


Robert Hansen

I had two channels. It was very boring.


Julie Korioth

I was like, wow, MTV. Okay, now life is a little more interesting after school. But yeah, being that bored and being alone is not fun.


Robert Hansen

Being sick was no fun when I was a kid because you had like days of your lives and general hospital and whatever. And there's two channels and there was no upside in being at home sick.


Julie Korioth

Come on, you don't miss Days of Your Life?


Robert Hansen

Then you get sick for a while and you kind of get into the characters, like what is happening? Because what else are you going to do just sitting there being sick? So exercise, what do you feel about exercise? You said five days a week is what you recommend.


Julie Korioth

Like I said, people are bio individuals. I believe in exercise. It does help me. It helps me sleep better. I am not consistent. There are times in my life when it can be five times a week. Yeah, absolutely. The last two months, not at all, I've been struggling to get three. So I do the best I can. I have a lot going on right now. I try to prioritize it. So if I can get it three times a week, I'm feeling good.


I have somebody that's helping hold me accountable. When it comes to exercise, and you hear all these podcasts, and everybody's talking about how you need to do it in the morning and morning is when you get everything done, well, also sleep is important for me. So I was telling myself, I had to get it done in the morning, and I couldn't do it. So I changed that philosophy for me personally.


In the mornings, I always do meditation, and that's important. Then get the kids up and we're doing that thing. Now, I've decided to start doing it at three o'clock in the afternoon, 25 minutes before I go get the kids. Because I take the kids to school and I work all day, it's a nice little break. That's the time I can get it in and I can do it. Instead of thinking I have to be the person who does it in the morning.


Robert Hansen

If you were going to say you did it late at night, I'd say it's probably not a great idea. It interrupts your sleep cycle.


Julie Korioth

I know that and I can't do it late at night. Listen, once we're done for the night, I am done. We'll see if this new routine works, I'll keep you posted. I would like to be able to do it five times a week. I sleep better because of it, even if it's doing some jumping jacks.


Robert Hansen

Sleep is so important and underrated. And not a mood manipulation version of this conversation, also, we did this experiment back when I was running a consulting company. We would, in some cases, give people an assessment and have them do it immediately, myself included. I was part of this. Then, in other cases, we would have them surf around the website and not attack it for the first day and the second day, then we attack it to see how much better we did.


And hands down, in every case, we did better that second time. Because it's something about sleeping on this information and allowing your body to absorb it, you wake up with all these questions. I wonder if it would do this? I wonder if I could do that? You're actually excited to try because you've been thinking about this thing for 24 hours now or whatever it's been. It was a wildly better way.


After that, we made a firm rule that we were never ever going to do a single-day assessment ever again. It had to be two days. We knew we would do better on the second day. But I think that's got to be true in all kinds of other facets of life.


Like you're in an argument, should you react right then and there? Or should you give yourself time? Give yourself time to think about it because probably it's not as bad as you think it is. Why are you letting this person get you this riled up? Give yourself some grace, allow yourself some time to think about it.


Julie Korioth

Going back to the panic attacks, I wasn't sleeping at those times in my life. I was still in so much fear around where life had taken me. Knowing now how good I feel that I sleep, that's why I almost put it over working out if I had to choose because it's so important for me. And everyone, not just for me. It's important for everyone


Robert Hansen

Agreed, I'll even try to sneak a nap in if I miss some sleep. I'll try to find some time to let my brain heal.


Julie Korioth

Yeah. That absolutely produces better and more productive work for the rest of the day, instead of trying to sit there and work through it.


Robert Hansen

It's not even like I'm not thinking about my job when I'm sleeping. I know I do because I wake up with fresh ideas. I'm like, I could do this and this and this. Clearly, my brain is crunching on stuff.


Julie Korioth

Oh my gosh. So is mine. Sometimes it drives me nuts.


Robert Hansen

Maybe that's not great. Either way, I know that I'm doing a lot of calculus in the middle of the night. Diet: there are a lot of interesting diets out there. Some are all about protein intake, carnivore diets. Some are all fruits and veggies and no saturated fats.


Julie Korioth

I know about them all. I have my health coaching license from Integrative Nutrition out of New York. I've studied them all. I've probably eaten every one of them. Diet is extremely important. Once again, we're bio individuals so what works for me may not work for other people.


I recently tried the keto diet because I felt like, at 45, my hormones were seeming a little bit off. I was reading a book about a doctor that recommended it so I tried it. I'm telling you this because, mid-summer, I would come home.


At first, I thought it was the heat. We've been dealing with 110 degrees here in Austin every day. Like it's the heat, This is why I'm so exhausted. But it was this crazy form of exhaustion where, all of a sudden, I would feel like I'm about to fall down. I went and got some blood work done. Anyway, I was anemic and my liver was not functioning at an optimum level, which I'm like, well, I don't drink. What's the problem?


But come to find out that if you're having that heavy intake of protein and fats, it actually can cause your liver to... I mean, what was happening to me was crazy. It wasn't just that I was dying from exhaustion, which explains the anemia. My ankles were swelling up like I was pregnant, which only happened when I was pregnant. I was getting swollen. From what I've read, if you have a slow liver and these things are happening, it can be because you're having too much protein and fat.


Robert Hansen

There's a psychobiotic diet. Have you heard of this one?


Julie Korioth

Oh, no. Do I need to try it?


Robert Hansen

Well, I don't know. The thinking is there are certain types of things that you can consume that better regulate how your gut bacteria work and effectively makes you more likely to be in a better mood. It's not like you have a brain in your stomach, but people like to describe it that way.


Julie Korioth

But you have neurons in your stomach?


Robert Hansen

Yeah, you do. It doesn't work quite the way your brain does. So the science isn't quite up there. But there is some benefit to having it. Part of it is a lot of fermented things like Kombucha is, for instance, that help with gut bacteria. Maybe there's something to that.


The other part of this is, a lot of people's self-image is definitely wrapped up in their happiness. If whatever they're eating isn't promoting their self-image, that can have a deleterious effect on their overall sense of self, whether it be true to body dysmorphia, or they're trying to lose a couple of pounds before the big picture day or whatever.


Julie Korioth

Yeah, it's true. I actually have what is an eating disorder, but let's call it disordered eating. I've worked really hard to change the way I think about food. When I think about food, now I try to think of what I'm eating going to bring me joy instead of focusing on my body. It's hard for me to do because I've lived most of my life only focusing on ways that... and beating myself up, beating up my body and thinking I'm not this or that or whatever.


Now I try to re-frame that. I eat a lot more fruits and vegetables. Not totally plant-based by any means. But once I started incorporating that and not doing so much of that, it really helped me. I think that eating for your mind is...Everything I do right now I try to do for my mind.


Robert Hansen

That's great. What about pets? There's a lot of research that they add oxytocin, and they increase your mood, stabilize you and lower your heart rate, all kinds of things.


Julie Korioth

They absolutely do. When we got a divorce, I have kids, and we have a dog. I live in a condo downtown. My ex ended up not taking the dog when the kids would go with him. I was like, What's going on here? Isn't he supposed to go with you?


Thank goodness Kona stayed with me. I mean, it was my support. Thank goodness, he got me out of the house. Absolutely, when you're going through something to have that dog or cat or something there that you need to take care of, take care of something that helps you get out of your head.


Robert Hansen

Absolutely. Again, everything could be going wrong in your day, everything has just upended and is terrible. Your pet comes over and wants to lay down on you. I mean, already your day is 50% better. And if they look up to you and they love you, that's not nothing. That's something.


Julie Korioth

They're so intuitive. I could tell that, once I started healing, there were times Kona still worried about me. I could see it in my dog. I'm like, Wow, they're so intuitive and loving and caring animals that want to be loved and want to love you.


Robert Hansen

It is something to have the love of an animal. You'll get that for free. I don't care what anyone says, dogs and cats definitely do have a sense of you being a bad person. If you are mean to them or cruel to them, they will not love you the same way that they would if you're nice to them. So if you have managed to get the love of an animal like that, that really is something. You shouldn't discount how valuable that is.


A lot of people are like, Yeah, my dog loves me and like, No, your dog loves you. That's an animal who you've befriended and turned into something. I think it's very important actually. People don't spend enough time thinking about their animals.


Okay, family. We talked a little bit about the idea of there being possibly a bigger smallest unit than the nuclear family. Where do you put family as a general thing in terms of value? Is that something that people should spend a lot of time on? Or is that something that they should not worry about too much because family will be there, whether they're awful or not? How do you feel about that?


Julie Korioth

I'm a very loyal person and I believe in family. I would say, that's a personal decision for people in their life. But for me, as long as there's no boundaries being crossed, and we're treating each other in a loving, caring way, I love being around my family when we can make that happen. My kids, absolutely I do put them first and probably have less of a social life because of it.


They're growing up so fast. I'm like, I'm going to have this whole half of my life when they're not going to be around, and I can be so social. For now, I would rather be able to spend this time with them and cultivate this relationship with them, and then also teach them to cultivate this relationship with their grandparents. I'm still very good friends with my ex-husband's mom and sister. So I try to do it as much as I can. I feel like family is very important. They will have your back.


Robert Hansen

There's a very interesting piece of research that has been used a lot in depression research, brown rats, where they have some rats that are hanging out together and having a good time. Then they have cocaine in a little bottle, and they'll try it, and they'll never go back to it or very rarely will go back to it, recreationally only. Whereas one rat that's alone, totally isolated, will use it all day long.


So I think that's a pretty good explanation of why you can't ignore family and friends. You've got to do it. Yeah, I know. It's a pain. When I was going through the divorce, one of the other tactics I used, have you ever seen that movie, Yes Man? It's a terrible Jim Carrey movie. I do not recommend this movie. But what I took away from it was, I'm in this weird position where I don't want to go out. I don't want to talk to people. I don't want to befriend anyone. I'm depressed and I don't want to deal with anything right now.


But then I remembered that movie. I'm like, you know what, I'm going to try it for a couple of months, see what happens. So I started saying yes to literally anything random. I lived on Rainy Street at this time, which is the bar district in Austin. So people would call me at midnight, "Hey, are you still out?" I'm like, "What do you mean still out? It's midnight, I've been asleep for hours." They're like, "Come on out." I'll put my clothes on and go out bleary-eyed, and go hang out with them for a couple of hours.


Then it would be kind of fun, actually because they've been partying for hours. They're in a great mood and all liquefied. For me, it's my first drink of the night at midnight so I'm not ever going to get there. But it's fun anyway. They're having a great time. They want to tell me about what's going on. Then business people would call, "Hey, Robert, I've got this great idea. You want to see what I'm doing?" I did not want to do that but I'm like, "Yeah, let's see your new idea."


That's how I got involved in the Formula 4 team and that's how I ended up with my cat and all this stuff. People started asking me questions, and it's like, yeah. So very quickly, that burned itself out of my system. I was so overwhelmed and busy, but also, I had an amazing couple of months. It absolutely took me out of this tailspin. I had a great time. I met a lot of great people I wouldn't have met otherwise. It was unforgettable, and definitely something I would not want to repeat.


Julie Korioth

I think I'm going to try it for a weekend.


Robert Hansen

Just don't tell anybody you're doing it because then it's random. Then someone calls you like, "Hey, we're going to this music festival." "Oh, I don't want to do that but okay, let's do it." We're leaving in 20 minutes.


Julie Korioth

It's true. I think about some things that I've said no to over the last couple of years trying to come out of my own isolation in my head. And I don't regret things. There's a reason I didn't get it but I do try to embrace that now. If I can, I want to be there. It's like living life. It's fun.


Robert Hansen

I just said yes to everything. That was a long time.


Julie Korioth

People try to do 21-day diets or cleanses, and that feels like a long time. That was 60 days.


Robert Hansen

So many weird things happened. It's really fun. It would be fun to do a podcast of that and make everyone, before we come on the podcast, you do it for a week and then you do the podcast. That would be great. That would be absolutely hilarious. Just don't let anyone know that they're coming to the show. Otherwise, they’re going to take advantage of that poor individual and have them do all kinds of terrible things.


One thing I think has added a lot of value to my life, for instance, is struggle. I will find things I know are intellectually very difficult, like security, for instance, or astrophysics, or quantum physics. Like a friend of mine was starting a quantum physics company. I sat down, I buckled down, and I learned a lot about quantum physics.


Those things are all individually very difficult. In aggregate, they're impossible. You're not ever going to get good at any one of those things, let alone all three. Statistically speaking, it is very difficult. But it's something about the struggle and how difficult those things are that always got me out of bed. It was interesting.


Every project I work on seems insurmountable. People call me crazy. In my previous company, I had multiple people tell me I can't do that. Yet I did it. We sold the company and it's great. Do you think it's worth having these goals that are way out there? Like, it's almost impossible. No one truly believes you're going to be able to do it.


Julie Korioth

Absolutely.


Robert Hansen

Like starting a company.


Julie Korioth

One thing you don't know about me is that I had a learning disability. Another reason I was going through what I went through is that I had 20 different visual processing disorders in my eyes, all under the 20th percentile. So I got to a point where I wasn't reading and comprehending, and I had no idea that I was dealing with this my whole life. I knew that I had a hard time reading. I knew that I had a hard time comprehending. But I always wanted to push myself and prove people wrong.


I'm like, "I'm going to go get my master's." I don't know how I did it, but I did. So I would always push myself to make sure that I felt like I was learning and even though it didn't seem like I was retaining it. When I started this, in my mind, I felt like I was a total imposter. Here I am this girl with a learning disability, and I don't have a business degree. I can't even retain the information that well. How am I going to do this?


I have an amazing mentor, but I still kept going. I still kept doing it. Then I found an amazing mentor. He was like, "No one knows what they're doing. Just do it. Every day, do whatever you can to build the company."


Robert Hansen

Some of the most successful people don't know that they can fail. They're butting their head up against it until it works.


Julie Korioth

Then I learned that so many successful people like Richard Branson have dyslexia.


Robert Hansen

I'm very dyslexic.


Julie Korioth

Okay, and that's not all of who I am. There's so much more to me. I had this learning disability for a reason. It actually makes me aware in other areas, and creative in other areas.


Robert Hansen

It might be a blessing.


Julie Korioth

Yeah, for sure. Looking back on it my entire life, I've always pushed myself to do things knowing that probably other people didn't think I was capable of doing it.


Robert Hansen

Congratulations. How about metaphysics? What do you think? Should people believe in a Buddha? God? Allah? Is this something that should be part and parcel to people's happiness?


Julie Korioth

I do not want to speak for people's happiness. What helps me is my faith. I believe that people should believe in what they want to believe in, whether that is Buddha or non-faith or whatever. For me, my faith is very important.


The reason I stopped drinking was for my children and because I heard God, through prayer, say, "When you stop drinking, your life will begin." It took me about a year to listen, I'm not always the best.


Robert Hansen

Can't read, can't listen.


Julie Korioth

I'm like, great. I've got a divorce, I'm a single mom, and you want me to stop drinking now? What do you want from me? This is what I want. But I ended up listening and that's when my life began.


The same thing with the treatment. I heard through prayers, "I've laid all this out for you. You need to go." I went. So I pray and I've also cussed at God during those dark times. But, for me, it was that faith and that relationship that got me through being able to say, I hate you right now. This is awful. Then knowing that relationship and that power is still there.


Robert Hansen

If someone isn't a believer, how can they structure their lives where they're still accountable to something higher, maybe a friend who has the keys to the car that they want or something?


Julie Korioth

Like my sponsor at AA, her higher power was like this butterfly. And I'm like, That's awesome. I do think people can create a way of feeling safe. It's what makes you feel safe. Finding those things that make you feel safe within and being able to have a conversation with a higher power or not have a conversation. It's such a personal preference.


Robert Hansen

We are watching society get a lot less religious. I think it's sub-50 % now in the United States who consider themselves actively part of a religion or something. That's a big decline in my lifetime. So I've got to ask, what is it being replaced with?


It's okay if something goes away. I'm totally okay with that. But then, what are they accountable to? What are these people doing now that is making them whole? Obviously, there are problems with religion. There are things that might push people away from organized religion in the traditional sense, where they don't believe that certain passages are written about them in a positive way. I get that.


But I also think that if it's not replaced with something very analogous to a higher power, if not exactly a higher power, then you're losing out on some bigger sense of the world, like a sense of purpose. Like, what is your purpose? Is it just to procreate and call it a day and that's it? Just the Selfish Gene? Is that it? This is possibly the most epistemological view of the world where you have genes that need to be passed down and that is it.


If that's the case, then why are we dilly-dallying? Once you have kids, why aren't you just standing and calling it a day?


I think that there's got to be something deeper that society holds on to; culture, religion, music, something that holds and binds us all together and makes us work towards a common upside. Maybe it's some simple KPIs like improving overall wealth and happiness or longevity, or the lowest amount of people in poverty, or some baseline, some higher purpose for why we're all working on what we're working on.


Julie Korioth

I think what society is missing right now is the acceptance of other people. We all want to try and control each other. I think that's probably why the Christian faith is, I didn't know those numbers, but why people are steering away from it. It is because, in my humble opinion, I think it became almost too controlling.


We're trying to tell you how to live instead of teaching people how to be kind to others, and to care, and to be accepting and saying, We accept who you are because that's what Jesus did. That's what the Bible is about and the New Testament is about. How do we create a community where we do exactly what you're saying? We care for each other.


You can't always get that, unfortunately. I do think that there are churches out there that are working on changing their message or creating new churches that are more open and a more open-minded way of viewing people.


Robert Hansen

I think that was about organized religion. I think a huge group of people are now what's called spiritual but not religious. You're seeing a rise of that where they're walking around with crystals or this sort of new age version of spirituality, whatever that means. They believe in energies and chakras and whatever else.


The dejure way of thinking about how they are in tune with the universe or whatever, which all of it, to me, seems like it's trying to do the same thing with just a new face on it.


Julie Korioth

Well, what do you think about people who believe in aliens?


Robert Hansen

Well, this is an enormous rabbit hole. I'll probably get some alien conspiracy theorists on here to fully go into this. It’s actually strangely a deep topic that I know a lot about. I do not believe in aliens but I do believe that there's a lot that drives people's superstition and about all kinds of things.


Alien is just another ghost. You can't see it. It's out there, but we can't see it. There's a lot of reasons people believe in ghosts and it drives a lot of things like religion. We all believe we're all sitting around the campfire and something happens.


Again, back to the epistemological origins of things, why did we shy away from shellfish or the Jewish religion shy away from shellfish? Well, there's probably a very good reason. They probably made people very ill because they didn't know how to cook it right. Why did they stay away from swine? Again, trichinosis. They probably didn't know how to cook it right?


It makes a lot of sense at the time. For them not knowing what illness was, it might as well have been God. It's God striking you down for eating this on unhealthy swine.


The same thing with not working on the seventh day. You need a rest day. If you have two slave owners, because there's a lot of slavery at the time, that controlled a mass group of people doing farming or something, and one never lets their slaves rest ever, and the other one lets them rest one day, well, God looks favorably upon them because they don't die of dehydration and exhaustion, and these do.


I think there's a lot that drives how we got here. We don't know what all those things are because we can't look back in time very well. But it also makes sense why people want there to be something above and beyond them. There might be something above and beyond them, but it's going to be really hard to prove it with some alien tapes. I'm going to give you that.


Julie Korioth

I asked you that because I have a friend of mine, and he said he doesn't believe in religion or a higher power. But he believes that there's aliens. He's like there's proof. That's the only reason I asked you. I was just curious.


Robert Hansen

I've been getting asked a lot of weird questions. The other day, I had somebody in my house installing some stuff. I'm like, "I need everything hardwired. I don't want anything wireless." I was thinking about interference issues with the wireless things. And he's like, "Do they affect you somehow?" He's trying to ask me if I believe that it's somehow infecting my brain or something. I'm like, this is a technical problem. So there's all kinds of things out there.


One last thing I wanted to talk about was suicide hotlines and also telehealth. There's a lot of things where there's this kind of burgeoning group of people who are trying to be on the other end of the line when you need something. What is your feeling on all that stuff?


Julie Korioth

Well, I think that anything we can do matters and there can't be enough. Mental health and suicide, it's a pandemic way. We have a big problem that 10 year olds to 25 year olds' second leading cause of death is by suicide. In my mind, I'm like, the more access to get mental health care or to call someone the better.


The telehealth stuff, it seems like they're doing their due diligence, and they have proper licensing. I think that they definitely have to be in the right state and things like that. It seems like they're doing their due diligence. And for a while there, I had some apprehension about it because I do think that there's something about being in person and going to your therapist. That said, some people don't have time and they may not go to therapy because they don't have time. If they're able to do it at their home, then maybe that works for them.


Whatever people can do to get help, the more access we have to things that are thoughtfully put together and helping and supporting people, I think, the better.


Robert Hansen

That's a great answer. What I have noticed is, at least the people I know who go through this tele psychologists, is that there's very little accountability in the system on both sides. So you don't do the homework, whatever, go to another doctor, I don't care, and vice versa. It's very difficult for someone to keep the same doctor over time. They get whoever they get, and then a couple of weeks later, they're like, "Okay, I'm transferring you off to somebody else," or, "My schedule is too busy now."


Then they end up having to repeat the same things over and over again. To the point where I don't think they are getting help. I think they're wasting time. I don't know how to solve that problem. I don't think there's a great way to do that. But maybe now that the pandemic is over and everyone's back at it, we look at that much more with a side eye. Unless it's extenuating circumstances where they cannot go, they probably should go in person and get some more accountability for themselves, but also the doctor.


Julie Korioth

You'll find that with a therapist in person, though. Sometimes people will stop going because they'd said, "Well, I went to one and then I went to the next one, and they didn't seem to vibe and they didn't care. They didn't call me." You're going to hear that.


I think in-person, telehealth, no matter what it is, it takes time to find the proper therapist. I think one thing with telehealth is it also takes time for companies to grow properly. You're going to have a lot of missteps. You're going to have therapists online. I'm hopeful that they're doing their due diligence to set this up to where there's more stability for people.


Robert Hansen

That lack of stability worries me because these are people who are already in crisis.


Julie Korioth

I agree, as long as they have somebody to call on because it does save lives. I 100% and more advocate for in person therapy, but that still takes time. I mean, I've had friends that decided to stop trying because they had to go find one or two. Then they were tired of telling their story, or they've had an experience where they felt like, Okay, I've been twice and things are better.


Unfortunately, I feel like therapy is still an area where people don't want to take the time to seek the proper help that they need and find that person you connect with. Because when you do, they could be with you forever. It takes time. But you're worth it. You're worth the time, your mental health is worth it.


Robert Hansen

That's a great answer. Any last thoughts you have for people who are out there and suffering and want some help? What would you recommend?


Julie Korioth

That's a good question. Well, as I was saying, it takes time. And three years, people may think of my story like, wow, it's taken you almost four years of healing. That's a long time. I'm not going to be able to get through that or whatever things you might be thinking. It's four years out of, I plan on living to be 100. So in the grand scheme of things, it's not that long.


If you can't find hope in yourself to do it for you, find somebody you can do it for. Like I had to do it for my kids. Otherwise, I don't think I would have gotten the help. If you don't have kids, there are people out there that care about you so much. Do it for them. But whatever you're going through, there's help out there. There's people that care and you're not alone. We have a bunch of stories around mental health on Speak as One.


Robert Hansen

Let's talk about that. So speakasone.com, is that what it is?


Julie Korioth

Yes, speakasone.com. Our website is going through some changes. So give us about one more week.


Robert Hansen

Well, it'll take a week for this to come out.


Julie Korioth

There we go. Perfect timing. Then our YouTube channel Speak as One and then our Instagram @speakasonecommunity.


Robert Hansen

Well, so they can expect this in about six months. Is that right?


Julie Korioth

Right. It might be before then. We're going to do a friends and family push, just to make sure we have all the kinks worked out so we could have it perfectly packaged and ready to go for you guys. So it might be before then, but the big launch will be during South By.


Robert Hansen

Do they sign up there and say I'm pre-ordering it or get on the list?


Julie Korioth

Absolutely, that will all be on our website.


Robert Hansen

Perfect. Okay. Well, Julie, it has been great. Thank you so much for coming. I really appreciate it.


Julie Korioth

I appreciate you. It's been great.


Robert Hansen

Thank you so much.


Julie Korioth

Thank you.


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