Considering the long hours we spend on our mobile devices, it’s hard to believe that advances in technology can translate into health benefits for our psyche. Whether in the middle of a crowded subway or a self-proclaimed breakdown, we can restore our confidence, find good company or explore a new self, all just by listening to a podcast.
Since the launch of Serial in 2014, the digital audio medium has been steadily growing, now with one-third of American subscribers searching for ways to explore the world around them, or within them. Gone are the days where we have to commit to an hour-format radio show. Podcasts can provide entertainment in all shapes and sizes, from four, five- to 30-minute episodes.
Podcasts: A Seeker’s Paradise
Mindfulness and personal growth are among some of the most popular podcasts. When you experience overwhelming stress, loneliness or chaos, now you can get quick access to teachers, leaders and motivators to guide you through it. “Some people are looking to feel relief from some type of stress, frustration or difficult thing in their lives; other people are just constant students of this kind of path, this consciousness, and they are just soaking it all in,” says Jess Lively from The Lively Show (a daily intention podcast).
Here are some of our favorite uplifting and entertaining podcasts (in no particular order):
10% Happier with Dan Harris
If you’re curious about meditation but have your doubts (or don’t have the time), 10% Happier with Dan Harris will give you a not-so-intimidating, funny yet soulful account of what it means to be mindful. Auxiliary to Harris’ best-selling book and 10% Happier: Meditation for Fidgety Sketics app, this podcast explores how to achieve realistic happiness while living in a modern world. In each episode, Harris asks guests like the Dalai Lama, Sharon Salzberg and George Mumford about finding joy amidst chaos.
By taking delight in the simple things, we’re left with gratitude and appreciation—which you’ll also feel after listening to this podcast. Each episode takes an object or living organism (there is an entire episode on mold) and uncovers the miracles behind it. The once unnoticeable becomes remarkable. By interviewing doctors and inventors, the funny hosts Adam Davidson and Adam McKay (producer of The Big Short) teach us that if you dig deep enough, you’ll find the beauty in details.
The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes
If you’re looking for discipline to achieve your wildest dreams, consider The School of Greatness. The show is hosted by a former pro football player who was once left injured without another skill set, but now lectures around the world on getting what you want. Howes asks influential leaders like Arianna Huffington, Maria Schriver, Tony Robbins and Russell Simmons to share their success stories and what’s important to them, and preaches that anything is possible with the right amount of hustle.
TED Radio Hour
If they can do it, you can do it. In each episode, innovators and mindfulness leaders share how they built their ideas into businesses, found the source of their happiness, and prove the impossible possible—despite the odds. TED Radio Hour, based off TED Talks and hosted by NPR’s Guy Raz, provides a thought-provoking and entertaining series of shows that will call you to think and create in new ways, reminding you that ordinary people (yes, you!) can be extraordinary. This would be a great listen for when you’re ready to take that risk on your brilliant idea.
Hidden in the unseen world around us are fascinating forces that influence human behavior. Invisibilia uses a mixture of storytelling and science to demonstrate how human experiences can be nothing short of a miracle. The show is hosted by three curious women: Lulu Miller, Hanna Roslin and Alix Spiegel. In each episode, they use a storytelling format to interview scientists, psychologists and unsung heros about the unbelievable (such as a blind man who taught himself to see). To top it off, all the stories have a happy ending.
The Lively Show
Appealing to millennial women, the positive and grounded Jess Lively’s program has everything from practical tips (how to pack like a minimalist) to in-depth discussions on gender transition and other human-interest topics. She hopes to inspire listeners with each show. “It’s kind of like they get the sprinkles on top of the doughnut through listening,” says Lively, who will feel like your best girlfriend in no time.
The Chalene Show
Life coach Chalene Johnson hits on confidence, goals, faith and fitness (she’s a fitness instructor herself) and all other important aspects of life. With her upbeat, approachable and funny personality, the weekly podcast provides for a serious kick in the pants. Each episode gives practical and applicable strategies on different areas in life. It’s especially great for those of you who want to focus on strengthening your body.
The Tim Ferriss Show
Sure to be entertaining, Tim Ferriss, author of the The 4-Hour Work Week, takes a humorous approach to business and wellbeing. Selected as iTunes’ Best of 2014 and 2015, the show consists of interviewing world-class performers in different fields (Arnold Schwarzenegger makes an appearance, as does best-selling author Neil Strauss) and extracting the secrets to their success, including how to live in the moment.
With similar intention as Surprisingly Awesome, 99% Invisible explores the meaning behind the details. Except this podcast examines art, architecture and the history of how our beautiful surroundings came to be through storytelling. It takes listeners all over the world and instills faith in the ability of human society—great for when you’re traveling.