7 podcasts to soothe your anxiety back to normal
Starter Episode: “Llama Cat Dog Roommates”
Most people’s worlds have grown much smaller over the past 15 months, and now that travel restrictions are loosening, it will take some time to readjust to the mode of travel. This inspirational story series features first-person accounts of adventures on the road (or at sea) of outdoor types of all stripes, from professional climbers to regular listeners. Hosted by Aaron Millar, a British travel writer, “Armchair Explorer” is a perfect escape slice if the trip is still far away, and handy for inspiration if you’re already planning your first post-pandemic getaway.
Starter episode: “Signs of Life: A 53,000 mile round-the-world cycle”
Host and podcast author Nora McInerny became a reluctant grief expert in 2014, when she lost her baby, father and husband within a matter of months. McInerny, who now sarcastically describes herself as a “notable widow,” channeled her grief into this compassionate and darkly hilarious podcast, where people share the unvarnished truth about their darkest moments. Among those interviewed recently were a girl who lost her father to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a mother whose mental illness of her son culminated in tragedy and a 93-year-old concentration camp survivor. As dark as the subject is, the show still has an underlying stream of hope – it’s a perfect companion as we all grapple with the many losses of the past year.
Starter episode: “C’est So Chad”
Hundreds of meditation apps promise to bring peace to the palm of your hand, and Headspace is arguably the best. The calming British voice of Andy Puddicombe, the company’s co-founder, has become familiar to millions of users as the app’s default Zen provider, and in every episode of this podcast, he explains how mindfulness can help fight anxiety and make everyday life easier. Headspace Studios released a spinoff miniseries last year, “The Yes Theory Podcast,” which explored the value of saying yes to discomfort and stepping out of your comfort zone. More recently, “Radio Headspace” published episodes specifically geared towards navigation in post-pandemic life.
The coronavirus pandemic: what you need to know
Starter Episode: “The New Normal”
UFYB (not his real name)
If you’ve ever rolled your eyes at the concept of ‘life coaching’ reflexively, allow Kara Loewentheil to change her mind. A former Harvard-trained lawyer who became a feminist life coach, Loewentheil doesn’t sell empowerment clichés or woo-woo truisms. Instead, “Unf * ck Your Brain” offers pragmatic information on ways your anxious brain might sabotage you, and practical advice on how to choose different thoughts. There is a lightness to touch in Loewentheil’s straightforward, mindful version that makes it easy to absorb, and the vast library of past episodes means you’re bound to find something to suit you.
Starter Episode: “Say No”
With so many traps of normal life suddenly stripped away, this past year has forced many people to redefine what happiness means to them, and it’s worth holding onto some of these new priorities in the post-Covid world. . In “The Happiness Lab,” Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos examines the pursuit of happiness through a scientific lens and often incorporates history as well. Many recent episodes have focused on the happiness lessons of the ancients, hitting Aristotle, the Buddha, and Confucius and extrapolating lessons on how to live a fulfilling life in the modern age. Always surprising and energizing listening that will teach you something about the world as well as your own brain.