When I started on my podcast listening adventures I asked far and wide (see: Facebook) for recommendations. I honestly wasn’t really sure what I wanted to listen to and with so many available to download it was too overwhelming to go at it alone.
Luckily the recommendations I got were terrific, and soon I found some favorites to download every week.
This week I’m going to share four podcasts (and an app) that I listen to for mental health – ones that stimulate positive activity in my anxious brain and teach me new things every week.
In no particular order, here they are!
4 Podcasts (and an app) for Mental Health
The Osher Gunsberg Podcast
I honestly adore this podcast more than I can express. Osher is an Aussie who made himself famous on pay/cable TV on Channel V, and was co-host of Australian Idol for many years. He’s travelled the world, worked in radio, been in a band, been married, divorced, and is someone who is very open and honest about his Anxiety condition. He is also a man who realized that he was on a path of self-destruction, and managed to turn his life around after a lot of soul searching.
Every week Osher talks to people with incredible stories to tell. Interviews have included comedian Wil Anderson, sports scientist Brandon Hasick, and the incredible business woman Cindy Gallop. Guests tell stories of overcoming great personal odds to achieve the careers and lives of their dreams, facing their fears and searching for what gives their life meaning and purpose. There’s also conversations about the state of the world, what it’s like to live with mental illness and so much more. If you’re not sure where to start, start with Wil Anderson – it’s a great chat you won’t be disappointed with.
TED Radio Hour
This podcast takes the best TED talks and groups these ideas into podcasts that discuss overall concepts and themes. It’s a great way to learn about advances in science, thinking, education and human interaction from expert speakers without having to listen to their whole talk (the beauty of which, if you enjoy hearing the parts that are played in the episodes, you can go back and look for the whole talk later!)
By hearing sections of different talks gathered together, discussing these specific ideas, you end up with these fascinating perspectives you would not necessarily have heard or considered before. It’s great exercise for your brain – passively or actively – and you will feel like a more informed human being for it. Challenging your thinking and getting outside your own thought patterns does wonders for your mental health.
The Mindful Kind
Living with anxiety can vary from being somewhat challenging to downright terrifying. This is where The Mindful Kind comes in, a lovely podcast by Rachel Kable. From the beginning she teaches you how to be mindful, and how this can be used to deal with things like stress, fear, anxiety and self-doubt.
Working through the different techniques she teaches you, as well as listening to her own story and real life examples, you get an understanding of how mindfulness can be used to create a positive difference in your life. It can be really hard making time for yourself when you struggle with a mental illness, so practicing mindfulness is a great way to create that space when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
This American Life
I know – this is a public radio show that doesn’t necessarily scream “mental health and personal development” when you first think of it- but listen to the episode “Tell Me I’m Fat” and reconsider. My podcast app is set to automatically delete episodes once I’ve listened to them (to help save storage space). I have kept this episode deliberately away from the chopping block because it was so profound and fascinating to listen to. For anyone that’s experienced body dysmorphia or wants to explore the way our judgmental behaviors can impact others, you have to listen to this one.
This American Life is a great storytelling podcast, and like so many of us, listening to other people’s stories makes us think about our own. It informs us about lives that aren’t our own or may be very close, views that aren’t our own and those that ring truthfully, atrocities that aren’t our own because we either ignore them or had no idea about them in the first place… such as being Australian and having no idea about the shady history of the horrible place your government is sending refugees.
The team do an amazing job of bringing these stories to life for radio and for podcast, so it’s no surprising why it’s also popular and highly rated. Like the TED Radio Hour it’s the perspectives, the stories and views of other people that can help you get out of your own head, or help you realize the limitations of your own thought patterns.
Headspace is a meditation app that produces guided packs in a variety of specialized areas such as health, performance, sport and relationships. There are specific packs designed around anxiety and depression that I’ve used and can recommend thoroughly.
Andy’s voice is really soothing to listen to throughout the meditations and informative videos, and his insight into how our monkey brains work help provide the foundation thinking to getting the most out of a meditation practice. You can scale the meditations to how much time you have available (10 minutes, 15 minutes and 20 minutes) plus there’s bonus meditations you can listen to if you need a little extra Headspace. The sleep pack is really useful if you’re someone who has a brain that doesn’t let them sleep properly, and the SOS meditations are little life savers when you’re having a really stressful episode or panic attack.
Plus, you get rewarded the more you meditate. As well as this, the App has an initiative called “Get some/Give some” where for every Headspace subscription that gets purchased, they donate a subscription to someone in need. You don’t need me to tell you the benefits of meditation (especially for those of us that need it for our mental health) so this is something I really like about this app. Lots of good karma being shared because of it can’t be a bad thing!
Got any podcasts or apps that you love to listen to for your own mental health? Leave a comment below so we can check it out!