I’ve grown weary of the news cycle. Honestly I’m just over it. This year is shaping up to be a building year for me and I am relishing the opportunity to rediscover the joys of life, explore the path not taken and open myself to new experiences. A key component of my personal development has been purposefully fueling my brain with as much good stuff as possible. Podcasts are a fantastic way to access all kinds of great content on the go.
Podcasts are much more sophisticated and varied than I ever imagined. I was familiar with Serial, the award-winning podcast that garnered lots of media attention for its deep dive into a murky, true crime murder mystery. It’s pretty heavy and it was just too much for me to stick with over the course of a season. I wrote off podcasts for a while—thinking they weren’t for me.
Turns out, I prefer podcasts I can pick up and put down while I am running errands or walking the dogs. My brain’s state of mind has never been better and as a result there is a lot of capacity available for learning. I also want to be motivated, inspired and reminded of the good in the world. Depending on my mood, I can dive into science or psychology or I can just find something that makes me laugh. I’ve even discovered podcasts that offer guided meditation when I want to turn off my over-active brain.
Podcastland is vast. Honestly, the hardest part is finding them, and not all of them are worth the time. I use the Stitcher app on my iPhone to search and aggregate a go-to list for myself depending on my mood. I also check out the New York Times Podcast Club on Facebook from time to time for additional ideas.
I’m sharing a number of my favorites to help you get started. Among these selections you’ll find career inspiration, self-help and smart humor. You might even find that your faith in the world is restored!
Kind World: Tired of the bad news? These short bites about kind acts will give you hope that there is plenty of good in the world. Hear about seemingly small gestures of kindness that ignited enduring or impactful change. Helpful hint—if you’re a softie, or in a particularly fragile state, have a tissue handy.
Happier with Gretchen Rubin: Gretchen is a lawyer-turned-happiness-expert with several best-selling books under her belt. She and her sister, a TV writer in Hollywood, share practical advice on finding happiness through the pursuit of order, calm and inner peace by developing positive habits and realistic coping strategies.
The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes: Lewis shares his personal hardships and triumphs and discusses success strategies for overcoming obstacles with interesting guests. Part business advice, part life coaching, there are many nuggets of truth and inspiration from people who found their unique definition of success.
10% Happier: ABC news anchor/correspondent Dan Harris hosts a podcast on mindfulness and meditation for all of us skeptics who think “this will never work.” After enduring an on-air panic attack, Dan endeavored to tame the voices in his head, decrease stress and find self-acceptance, unexpectedly finding a solution in meditation practice.
Dear Sugars: It’s a thoroughly modern take on “Dear Abby,” hosted by Wild author Cheryl Strayed and co-host Steve Almond. If you’re struggling with issues of any sort you’ll find kinship, acceptance and practical advice here. Be aware that no topic is off limits. At the very least, you may realize you’re actually doing pretty well.
Two Dope Queens: Two best friends deliver smart, modern comedy infused with feminism, black culture and a distinct “New York” vibe. The conversation definitely leans into PG-13+ territory. Fun, candid, interviews with guests and their raw and real take on pop culture is total ear candy.
The Minimalists: Two guys from Dayton discuss redefining the life of their dreams by walking away from materialistic pursuits and removing the corporate noose. It’s like talking over beers with your two best guy friends about the meaning of life and what’s truly important.
By The Book: Two funny women take on self-help books—living the precepts and following the advice for two weeks. We get to follow along as they see what works and what doesn’t. If you are a skeptic when it comes to best-selling advice books like The Secret you’ll likely enjoy their comedic take.
The Dinner Party Download: Fantastic for short attention spans, there are several reliable gems in each episode—kind of like a bowl of Lucky Charms. This podcast offers a satisfying plate of cerebral celebrities, current events, pop culture and some fun “oh wow” moments of delight that arm you for your next blind date or networking event.
If you’ve got some favorites of your own please share!